Every year 11,000 charity shops raise more than £295m for a range of causes in the UK. And the UK is now in its 2nd national lockdown so these shops are closed again, missing out on vital revenue.
What it does
Charity Shop Exchange offers a subscription service of books & DVDs. For customers it’s an easy and affordable way to receive new things to read and watch on a regular basis. For charities this service not only helps them stay close to their usual supporters, it connects them with a new income stream of entirely new customers.
How it works for customers
Our website - charityshopexchange.com - makes subscribing easy, requiring just a few steps. Firstly it's simple for customers to pick their favourite charity, they then select their preferred book and/or DVD genres and how frequently they would like a delivery of items.
How it works for charity shops
Every customer subscription becomes regular orders for charity shops. Charity Shop Exchange collects the customer subscription payment weekly, biweekly or monthly and pays out charity shops for every order delivered. Unlike eBay or Facebook Marketplace there’s no product listings to worry about, shops simply respond to the orders we make available to them.
What we built during the hackathon
To enable the Charity Shop Exchange proposition we needed the ability to take customer orders on our website and then route those orders to the individual charities who have opted-in to our service. With this functionality we could assist charity shops to operate in a dropshipper-like manner… receiving orders from Charity Shop Exchange, picking and packing the order items and then sending them out to customers.
How we built it
We built a subscription service... every customer subscription generates regular orders and to facilitate this we integrated Billsby’s subscription software with our website and then connected Billsby with Quick Base. Essentially subscriptions are handled centrally - and with the help of Quick Base - orders farmed out to a network of charity shops.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It has been a pleasure to develop a service purposely for the charity sector. We connect shops with online shoppers, and we've accomplished this with a robust system that takes recurring orders on behalf of a network of suppliers.
What we learned
While developing with Quick Base we learned to create Pipelines. We learned to integrate Webhooks from other online platform (billsby.com) and fetch data into Quick Base. We overcame a limitation in Quick Base by enabling emails to trigger at a set time everyday. We also learned the value of "low code" development and rapid iteration. Having a toolkit of interfaces and business logic which has helped us to be agile and get feedback at every stage of development.
What's next for Nexus - Charity Shop Exchange
We're talking with a number of charity shops with regards to their immediate issues - watch this space!