NCBI to beat Covid-19 retail closures with fashionable e-store

Stylish digital outlet in support of the visually impaired goes live
Image: Stockfresh

3 April 2020

Ireland’s second largest charity retailer, NCBI, has launched an online fashion outlet in a bid to offset the impact of Covid-19.

The charity, which provides much needed practical and emotional support to people who are blind or visually impaired, has near 120 charity shops across Ireland. Due to the current pandemic, it has had to shutter its doors leading to a decrease in funding for its frontline services.

In response, NCBI partnered with the start-up social enterprise Thriftify to provide an online outlet for those seeking to find that charity shop bargain. NCBI has uploaded hundreds of pieces to the platform.




The current operation, based in the NCBI’s warehouse in Naas, is following all government guidelines regarding social distancing. Each item has been steam-cleaned.

“As retailers we are always seeking to innovate and improve how we do things,” said Rosie Henson, head of retail, NCBI. “With the temporary closure of our shops, we’ve had to act fast to find a way of maintaining a connection with our customers and develop alternative ways to raise funds for our services.

“We were one of the first charities to begin working with Thriftify, initially selling books and other small items so it’s great to now be able to sell our fashion as well. While it’s still only a small percentage of what’s available in our stores, we want to let people know that they can still support our work and get a bargain at the same time.”

The solution used by NCBI is a web-based platform designed specifically for the charity retail sector. All profits are reinvested to improve the platform.

Rónán Ó Dálaigh, CEO Thriftify said: “Fashion is a new area for us. Up until now, we’ve focused the technology on items that are barcoded. We’ve had to turn things around incredibly quickly to get the solution for fashion working but we’re delighted to be able to help in whatever way we can.

“I suppose the great thing about digital technology like ours is that it enables retailers who would have typically just relied on the punter walking in the door for sales, to broaden their reach to the global market,” added Ó Dálaigh. “I think there’s a great opportunity for bricks & mortar retailers to embrace digital commerce as a way of making more money, but also as a way of building resilience.”

Those looking to score a bargain in support of the NCBI can visit: NCBI_Fashion

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