Introduction Are hospice charity shops more than just an outlet for ‘charity goods sold at a profit but which aid beneficiaries’ (Bruce, 2016) and utilised as a ‘function as a way of raising awareness of the parent charity’ (Charity Retail Association, 2017)?
Aim The aim of the study was to evaluate implementation of a new charity shop model. The concept was one that moved the charity shop from being a ‘market follower’ to being a ‘market nicher’ (Bruce, 2017) – one that has a competitive edge in the business and moral sense, by offering something distinctive and unique from the many charity shops found in the local area.
Approach used A new charity shop was opened by the hospice in January 2018. As well as being able to shop for second-hand items in order to raise vital funds for the charity, the new shop also offers a bespoke information area with free internet access, as well as a small café where the local community can meet together socially. The vision behind the shop is one based on the relationship marketing approach.
A pilot printed questionnaire was devised using the principles of effective market research questionnaire design (Sargeant & Jay, 2014). The questionnaire was piloted in the charity shop during the first month of opening. Market research ‘is perhaps the most important way of strengthening relationships’ (Bruce, 2016).
Results A total of 50 questionnaires were distributed in the shop with a 76% response rate achieved. The results provide an understanding of the profile, needs and perspectives, giving an interesting insight into charity shop customers.
Conclusion It is but the start of a journey into development of a unique model of charity shop rooted in the core values of the charity, which demands further evaluation.
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