The British Heart Foundation (BHF) saw an increase in the sales it made on eBay of 12% towards the end of 2020 after reforming its online services.
The charity said that it hoped its adoption of new click and collect systems on the platform would allow BHF both to recover from substantial retail losses during the pandemic and “expand our online ambitions into the future”.
BHF has the largest network of charity shops in the UK, but was forced to close its stores for months during national and regional lockdowns in 2020. These closures cost BHF more than £40m, according to its most recent accounts.
The pandemic meant that BHF had to change its click and collect services, as the stores holding goods purchased online were now closed, as were warehouses and shops housing large corporate donations.
The charity said in a statement that it worked with the online retail firm Shopiago to create a network of stores that catered exclusively for online retail, and was able to list large items held at its third-party warehouses. The process of advertising and collecting donations was also changed so that it could be used by staff working from home.
BHF and Shopiago said that the number of items sold on BHF’s eBay store rose 12% in the final quarter of 2020, with sales totalling £100,000 over six months.
BHF: Digital is ‘an avenue to help us recover from the pandemic’
Richard Pallier, the head of online retail at BHF, said: “To be able to continue trading during lockdown via eBay, with this new click and collect service was a huge advantage for us - especially as people were frequently turning to home improvements during that time.
“It was an opportunity to continue raising funds for the charity’s work while our high-street shops were closed.
Pallier added that the new system “had a positive impact on our operations from day one. Its functionality means we can expand our online ambitions into the future with the ability to list from multiple locations across the UK.
“This provides an avenue to help us recover from the pandemic and continue to help improve and save the lives of those 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.”