charity shop’s stock

3 tips to better manage your charity shop’s stock

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For any retail business, stock control is essential. To be as profitable as possible, you need to know what stock you currently have and what your customers are buying most. And this is no different for charity retailers.


Except you also have to rely on the donations of others. So there’s no way to predict what stock you’re going to get or when. One week could see an overwhelming number of high-value donations, the next, nothing at all. 


But while you can’t control the amount or types of items you receive, you can put systems in place to make managing your stock easier. And today, we want to share our top three tips for taking back some of the control.


Educate your donors

Faced with a cost-of-living crisis, 62% of people plan to cut back on discretionary spending. While 13% are considering cutting back on their donations to charities specifically. But between January and April of this year, 3 in 10 people opted to donate their unwanted items instead. 


It’s brilliant to see people still committed to supporting valuable causes by donating their unwanted items. However, a common challenge in the charity sector is getting the right donations. 


Donors have the best of intentions. It’s great that someone thinks of you when getting rid of a broken kettle, ripped duvet, or stained clothing. They think they’re doing the right thing by donating them to you rather than throwing them away. But when it comes to unsellable items like these, it’s your volunteers’ time that ends up wasted. 


The trick is to work together with your donors to educate them on what you can and can’t accept. Why not take some time to build awareness through an email campaign, signs in-store, or across your social media channels?


Visualise your stock

You can’t improve your shop’s stock control without seeing what you actually have. At any given moment, you want staff to be able to see how many books you currently have to sell. Or how many electronics or pieces of clothing. As well as how much of each category is expected in a delivery next week. 


With this real-time stock data at their fingertips, they can make quicker, more informed decisions. Whether that’s about accepting donations, moving or requesting stock from other stores, or reorganising the shop floor. 


Notice sales trends

Real-time reporting also allows you to use sales data to ease your stock woes. To avoid a buildup of donations you’re struggling to sell, look for trends in your sales reports and use them to optimise your stock. In anticipation of summer holidays, are you seeing books selling better than usual? Or are students heading to university soon, making homeware a popular choice? Are children’s toys not really selling at all right now?


All this is valuable information you can use to refine the stock you have and reduce backlogs. As we mentioned above, you can request more or less of certain product categories from donors. You can also swap stock with nearby branches who are having more success in selling certain categories. 


Managing stock in charity retail can feel impossible. After all, there’s no way to predict donor behaviour. But with the right systems and tools in place, you can simplify and optimise stock management to secure even more revenue for your cause. 


CHARiotWeb is a feature-rich EPoS system designed specifically for the charity retail sector. We’ve included real-time reporting, customisable dashboards, and seamless stock management, all with the end goal of optimising sales and streamlining your day to day. Book a demo to find out what we can do for you. Or call us on 01204 706000.