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E-commerce reseller Depop has launched a programme aimed at helping charities to create shops to sell second-hand items through its marketplace.
The initiative, called the Charity Seller Programme, will help a select number of charities use its platform to more easily sell products online while offering tailored support and resources.
Rachel Swidenbank, vice-president of sellers at Depop, said: “The pandemic prompted many charities to pivot towards online selling, and there’s an amazing opportunity to build on this as the popularity of second-hand fashion continues to grow. Using platforms like Depop, charities can reach a much wider audience with a more extensive offering than they can on their shop floors.
“We’re passionate about helping our sellers succeed, and this programme is aimed at encouraging charities to thrive online by keeping them ahead of the latest trends and sharing insights on digital merchandising.”
In the early part of the pandemic in the UK, there was a surge in online sales for various market segments as non-essential shopping closed and people settled into lives spent predominantly at home – the success of retail during the period was dependent on already established digital channels or the speed at which retailers adopted technology or adapted their strategies.
Digital adoption and the ability to embrace channels such as e-commerce varies from charity to charity, but the sector is innovating in some areas, with ways to donate now ranging from donation at point of sale, to giving via QR code, and donations via website or app increased in popularity during the UK’s various lockdowns.
According to Depop, the number of listings for charity on its platform increased by almost 600% since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, and the Charity Retail Association claimed the average charity shop in the UK lost around £33,000 as a result of the third pandemic lockdown closing non-essential shops.
To help charities sell goods online, the Depop Charity Seller Programme will give charities support by helping them to understand market trends so they know what shoppers are looking for, giving them access to other charity sellers and people on the app to answer questions and give advice, and promoting their shops within the app.
Depop will also provide charities with resources to help them get started on the platform, as well as best practice and ways to sell successfully, and the chance to take part in challenges or earn incentives such as free fee periods.
Many charities already use the second-hand marketplace, including the British Heart Foundation, which sells accessories, sportswear and wedding dresses to raise money for research into heart disease; Oxfam, which has a festival fashion shop on the platform to raise money to fight global poverty; the Demelza Hospice selling second-hand fashion to provide care for children with terminal illnesses; and Traid, which sells second-hand clothing to reduce clothing waste.
Since joining the platform, the British Heart Foundation has raised £28,000 and has 14,000 followers, while Oxfam raised money by selling festival gear through the app at a time where it couldn’t raise funds through popups at festivals as is usually would.
Charities wanting to register on the platform can email [email protected] for advice.