To successfully manage an online retail arm such as eBay For Charity, you’ll need to ensure that operationally it’s as good as it can be. Here BHF's director of retail, Mike Taylor, gives his top tips.
When deciding which items to sell online, be rigorous about the criteria you apply: is the item high value or unusual? Will you command a premium compared to selling it in your shop? Is it worth the hassle of photographing and valuing the item, setting up an online auction, dealing with postage, etc?
Take great photos
Make sure your photos are as professional as possible. Photograph your item against a clean, white background, and use a high-resolution camera. If someone is potentially going to drive 100 miles to one of your stores to collect a piano they've purchased online, for example, they will want to see what condition it’s in first, so they have to be able to zoom in to the details. High-quality photos help avoid disappointment and time wasting.
Give plenty of information
Ensure you describe the item accurately. Do your research into the item (some charities employ eBay volunteers, for example, to do this for them) so you know as much as possible about its quality and market value. Make sure your description is enticing; highlight the item’s key features and include any information you have as to its provenance.
Look after your customers
When the sale is done, make sure the follow-through is smooth. Ensure you have a system in place whereby the item can be appropriately packaged and swiftly dispatched. Ensure you provide a contact number/email in case of any problems, and have a fair returns policy in place.
Read our case study about how the British Heart Foundation expanded its eBay retail operation to increase turnover tenfold
Mike Taylor is retail director at British Heart Foundation