Charity retail can be a complex business. The range of interdependent variables involved can make the average charity shop far more difficult to manage than its equivalent in traditional retail.
Traditional retailers can benefit from a centralised decision-making process, with merchandising guidelines and pricing structures being decided at head office, and merely implemented at store level.
In a charity shop, this model is impracticable. Instead, shop managers must assess a broad range of products in varying condition and make decisions that are right for their individual circumstances.
The managers who make the right commercial decisions are invariably those who can draw upon certain key skills. These skills must be instilled pro-actively by the surrounding organisation, via commercial training. This can yield tremendous benefits in any kind of retail setting. But in a charity retail organisation, where decision-making is more decentralised and shop managers exert greater influence, it can be a game-changer.
Given the benefits of commercial training, one might expect it to receive heavy investment across the sector. But the opposite is true: In 2016, a survey commissioned by the Civil Society survey found that charity retailers invest just £67 in training for every staff member annually. While the figure might have changed since then, there can be no doubt that this is an area which most charities grossly neglect.
While on-the-job experience can count for a great deal, it’s no substitute for education. Among the benefits of regular, formalised training is its ability to identify outmoded practices and update them.
We don’t just offer training for Charity Shop Managers…
Charity retail faces many looming challenges. Donations are falling, costs are rising, and Competition is fiercer than ever thanks to the rise of e-commerce. As such, it’s more important than ever that charity retail management be able to:
Organise commercial data in a way that’s clear and flexible
Understand trends within that data
Act upon that data via the right commercial decisions
Of course, training is an ongoing process. What was fit for purpose yesterday might not be so tomorrow. As markets evolve, and business practices change with them, charities looking to stay ahead of the curve should review their practices and update them wherever necessary.
Store managers might be forgiven for thinking in terms of weeks and months. But those in more senior roles need to think ahead.
Skyline delivers commercial training to senior management. We can:
Demonstrate effective use of data
Share industry best practise and benchmarking techniques
Make commercial shop visits and implement the findings
Provide customised shop operations manuals
We can demonstrate how effective use of data can lead to better decisions, and how effective use of retail space can lead to a more efficient, profitable store.
As well as learning from the data, we can also learn how to react to changes in the environment. Customer behaviour is driven by a range of factors, including seasonality and the broader economic climate. By understanding these, decision-makers can anticipate change and act accordingly. Commercial instinct can be a powerful tool, but instinct that’s backed up by data can be truly transformative.
These sessions produce concrete outcomes and one of the most popular is to establish a flagship framework for your stores – setting the standard.
They will also incorporate Gift Aid best practise to help cement high standards of customer service.
Each training session can be tailored to meet the needs of your Charity. You needn’t be encumbered by information that isn’t applicable to your circumstances. This approach provides your team with the skills they need, and an appreciation of market trends. But it also ensures that your business is kept lightweight and agile.
We are a UK registered training provider, which grants our clients the security of knowing that they’re in safe hands.