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Four Big Ideas for Non-Profit Thrift Success

The right retail management system (RMS) can help your non-profit retail thrift store succeed by empowering teams, minimizing costs, and providing visibility into sales trends. 

April 01, 2024

Why Do Retail Better? And Why Now?

The retail operation of non-profit donated goods businesses is primarily about fulfilling the needs of the community and supporting the organization's mission. The more you sell, the more life-changing training, employment opportunities, and other services you can offer.

Like for-profit retail, your organization aims to sell more, inspire repeat visits, and keep customers happy while also motivating them to recommend your business to friends. But the difference lies in your "why." Your earned revenue goes towards supporting your community, which is a powerful motivation.

Challenges in Thrift Retailing

Running a thrift store has many challenges that can derail non-profits from their mission. Among these are:                 

  • Ongoing staff training and efforts to improve employee productivity
  • Limited resources to choose and maintain technologies
  • Lack of consolidated and timely data for a clear view of operations across multiple store locations
  • Creating a great customer/donor in-store experience
  • Effective inventory management

Any one of these challenges can be a significant mountain to climb but when combined, they may seem daunting to overcome. The good news is that the right retail management system (RMS) can help transform your thrift store operations.

The Foundation for Successful Thrift Retailing

At Epicor, we've spent over 50 years helping retailers address these challenges, including non-profit thrift stores. The following four ideas are key to non-profit thrift success.

1. Simple is Better

The interface of your RMS makes all the difference. An intuitive, easy-to-use interface accelerates the learning process of employees, reduces their errors, and improves their productivity. A simple interface doesn’t mean that the system should lack power. Power and simplicity are both achievable in a single solution.

2. Technology Shouldn’t Mean Headaches

Because non-profit thrift retailers have limited IT resources, choosing the right technologies to invest in can be difficult. However, the larger challenge is often that once the technology is purchased, operating and maintaining it becomes a drain on key resources and time, degrading the return-on-investment (ROI). Modern, cloud-based technology that is easily accessible from standard web browsers simplifies usability and is a lifeline for many thrift retailers. A cloud RMS reduces the maintenance and operational burden so you can focus on leveraging the capabilities of the system.

3. Insights Inform Decisions

Whether you manage one store or oversee multiple stores, staying on top of your real-time sales, inventory, and other key operational data is critical. The power of a good RMS is that it consolidates this data and converts it to something meaningful, delivering insights through reporting and analytics capabilities. This allows retail leaders like you to make better informed decisions that can improve thrift store performance.

4. Seamless In-Store Experiences Build Loyalty

Creating frictionless customer and donor experiences is a critical component of building loyalty. A point of sale (POS) system must be flexible enough to handle the varied scenarios that non-profit thrift stores encounter. Capabilities like donor capture, POS roundup, and walk-up donation support are not only nice-to-haves, but must-haves, for a comprehensive RMS in non-profit thrift retail. These capabilities speed transactions and meet customers and donors where they are.

Retail Efficiency Matters

A comprehensive thrift RMS enables efficient retail operations, which in turn directly impacts a non-profit thrift organization’s ability to achieve its goals. Whether you run a single thrift store or manage a multi-store network, here are some key considerations:

  • Cost Control: Maximizing revenue while minimizing costs helps ensure that more resources can be directed toward community programs.
  • Team Efficiency: Empowering your team to work efficiently reduces errors and streamlines processes.
  • A Clear View: Managing thrift stores requires visibility into sales trends, inventory, and other key indicators that can identify potential issues.

Thrift Retail Excellence is Possible

As a non-profit thrift organization, you can embrace the cloud advantage, empower your teams, simplify operations, and propel your mission forward—all without IT complexities.

If you're ready to advance your mission and transform your thrift business, consider using Propello to help your business thrive.  To learn more or to get started, contact an Epicor representative or send us an email at We look forward to working with you!

Learn more about Thrift Retail solutions