City Mission to enter the online market

City Mission social enterprise operations manager Greg Howell says the organisation is competing against online sales. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

City Mission social enterprise operations manager Greg Howell says the organisation is competing against online sales. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

THE City Mission is looking to establish an online arm to its nine Tasmanian retail stores. 

With many sites such as Gumtree and Facebook buy, swap and sell forums and big retail chains to compete with, social enterprise operations manager Greg Howell said it was essential for the charitable organisation to cut into the online market.

He said electrical appliance donations to the mission had fallen, but, without data, it was hard to quantify the impact of internet shopping.

‘‘With the amount of people that do buy online, what’s available online and the amount of sites – it has to affect us,’’ he said.

‘‘As the economy and things get tighter for people they’re less likely to donate if they can put it in the newspaper or online and get some money for  something.

‘‘I have spoken to the CEO about it and we are on the verge where we have got to work out a business plan to implement a full City Mission online site.’’

Salvos communications and fund-raising secretary Craig Wood said Big W and Kmart dropping their prices had had the biggest negative effect on sales.

St Vincent de Paul Northern regional manager Peter Freak said the quality of goods donated had declined.

He said Vinnies would consider relations and fund-raising manager Brian Roach said one-third of its income needed to keep its services running was generated from its mission shops.

‘‘One of our challenges in the past few years is changing the public perception of our op shops, because people in the past have seen them as a place people going through tough times would come and buy a cheap dinner set,’’ Mr Roach said.

‘‘We are retail outlets and our chief purpose in this is to generate revenue to keep the other side of the City Mission going.’’

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