Customer Success Stories

Hospice in the Weald


Hospice in the Weald Logo

About Hospice in the Weald

Hospice in the Weald was established in 1980, providing specialist palliative care and clinical support for people with life limiting illness throughout West Kent and Northern East Sussex. The hospice raises funds, to maintain its facilities and services, through a variety of sources, including retail. Altogether it has twenty one shops throughout the region, which provide a vital revenue stream for the hospice and its aim is for retail to generate £1m in net profit annually by 2014.


“Essentially Cybertill's Advanced Gift Aid has given us high street retail best practice in our shops. Now we can talk about average basket price, average footfall, track that against our footfall counter and get our conversion rates, and all sorts of statistics that we would not have been able to calculate before”

Nick Farthing, Head of Retail, Hospice in the Weald

Before Cybertill
Retail is Hospice in the Weald’s largest self-funding source, and like many other charities it has grown its retail estate over the last few years. As the retail operations developed the Hospice struggled to get commercial data out to make timely and informed decisions. “The management accounts were published six weeks retrospectively,” commented Head of Retail for the Hospice, Nick Farthing. “So trying to use that data to make commercial decisions within our shops was a real struggle for us. And we had an arduous gift aid system, which was heavily resource intensive.”

The need to be more proactive instigated Hospice in the Weald to investigate EPoS and gift aid systems. “We wanted a cloud-based system, so we did not have to manage a central server,” explains Chris Sharp, Retail Co-ordinator at the Hospice. “And the single bar code solution for gift aid (Cybertill’s Advanced Gift Aid solution) is unique and makes such a difference.” 

Since deploying Cybertill there has been a real sea change in culture “There is a complete turnaround now, we get sales data in real time, so we can see what’s happening in our shops as it happens. That allows us to respond and plan in a much more flexible way and also to be much more dynamic which is what is important in retail,” explains Nick. “We can see during a morning how a shop is performing, due to the weather or the stock it has in, we can say that ‘this afternoon or for the rest of the week we are going to run a promotion to drive sales up’. Whereas before we would get that sales information too late to be able to make a difference.”

The culture change has happened at shop level too. With access to real time information shops and their staff can see how they are performing, this has lead to increased competition between shops. “Our shops and managers are now more competitive.  I get a call every other day from mangers saying ‘look at the figures because I’ve just beaten my target’. What’s more they call one another to let each other know how they are getting on.”

As with many charity retailers Hospice in the Weald focus heavily on gift aid revenues in their shops. They are always looking at ways they can increase awareness amongst supporters and shoppers alike. In turn this means encouraging donors to sign up to gift aid in the shops. Hospice in the Weald’s shops’ target is for 30% of all sales to be gift aided. “Some shops are achieving 45%, which helps make a huge difference to the funds we generate,” commented Nick. “In the future our overall target will be circa 40%. Cybertill has made this process so simple and makes it easy for volunteers to sign up donors to gift aid. In the last year we had a 20% uplift in gift aid revenues thanks to Cybertill.” 

Advanced Gift Aid
“Essentially Cybertill’s Advanced Gift Aid (link to single scan gift aid solution) has given us high street retail best practice in our shops,” explains Nick. Advanced Gift Aid is a unique single barcode scan solution, which enters the price, the product and the donor (when there is one) in a single scan at the point of sale. This guarantees that the sale is 100% accurate on price and category; it is also incredibly simple, it is up to four times faster than a traditional sale and it ensures that a gift aid sale will never be missed. “Now we can talk about average basket price, average footfall, track that against our footfall counter and get our conversion rates, and all sorts of statistics that we would not have been able to calculate before.” 

Another advantage of Advanced Gift Aid is that it produces a bar code for every single product. This means as every product is sold its price is recorded along with its category and sub-category. This has helped Hospice in the Weald optimise its product pricing. Nick believes it is important for shops to be able to price goods individually and vital to have had sales figures and statistics to enable informed decision making on optimum pricing for different products and categories to produce pricing guidelines. “Pricing before was kind of invisible, we could not see the prices people were putting on items. So it was very hard to ensure consistency across all of the sites. When we implemented Cybertill initially, we went for lots of categories and prices within each category. From this we ran a three month trial so we could then analyse all pricing. We saw that there were lots of 50p items going out, so we then took away 50p prices. Which meant the minimum anything can go out for is £1,” explains Nick. Not only has this positively impacted the bottom line for Hospice in the Weald but they have been able to further optimise pricing, as Chris goes on to explain. “Also we can look at a range of our products. For example men’s trousers in the past we may have sold them for £1 or £2 per pair whereas now the lowest price they can be priced at is £3. So we are optimising our pricing by being able to review and analyse sales across all categories.”

Average Basket Value
Cybertill has allowed Hospice in the Weald to drive up their average basket value.  “With better pricing discipline this has positively impacted our average basket value. For some shops it tended to be between £2.50 and £4.50, now most shops are averaging £5.50.” This has helped Hospice in the Weald raise more funds through retail as well deliver a quicker return on investment than expected. “We anticipated that Cybertill would generate a return on investment in 12 months, and have found that Gift Aid sales have exceeded cost of investment within just 8 months.” noted Nick.