Feeling Charitable? - By: Julie Evans

Charities, they have been an influential part of society for centuries. From the first second hand charity shops established by the Salvation Army in the early 19th century, to the modern age variants we now call thrift shops in our high streets. It has never been in the best interest for a charity to become nothing more than a glorified boot sale. They represent the moral fabric values of society. In the light that they have survived the ages for so long, maybe they owe their existence to those of us that have always been avid charity supporters. Even though we are establishing these facts, the first charity only sprung to life in 1947 under the leadership of Oxfam.

Charity shops have a great strategic advantage having being located amidst the mainstream retail outlets in the high streets of local communities. As a result of the evolution of social aesthetic demands, high streets themselves have undergone extreme make overs. As a late bloomer in the perspective of change, the charity shops had a lot of over hauling to do in order to compete in the 21st century.

One large influential factor in the transitional stages of the charity shop has been the emergence and wide spread use of the Electronic Point of sale technologies available. Gift Aid on Donated Goods has been one of the largest influences uniting charities to Epos systems. Such conveniences allow charities to reclaim taxes on sold donated goods. As long as an audit trail is available to verify, then it is condoned by the donor. The best and most reliable Epos systems have been modified and designed to support charities. Successful charities that achieve ROI annually accredit this to the Epos systems they utilize.

It hasn't been as easy as it sounds for charity shops to integrate Epos systems into their businesses though. For example, charity shop owners are usually not computer literate for lack of a better word, so many Epos systems have to be accessible, customer friendly and easy to learn. In light of this, charity sops also run on very low budgets. At least Epos systems have detailed management protocols charity shops can utilize to achieve optimum efficiency, but often they are designed for inventory based retail shops, and charity shops are not inventory based, so an Epos system with hot keys and capable of supporting miscellaneous items may prove highly beneficial.

However, in today's continuity many of these issues have been overcome, and more than ever charity stores use Epos technology alongside 21st century customer demands. It often brings to question, what might the space age charity shop may be like? How far will charity shops in essences evolve to stay relevant in society? Or would change in social demand and standards in attitude diminish the moral amplitude of the humble charity and lead to their decimation? One could say the Economic downturn has aided charities because all people are after is a bargain. Alas, retailers have also been discounting using Epos systems fearsomely.

An article about the evolution of the charity shop

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