// St Vincent de Paul launches click-and-collect across its 7 Northern Ireland shops
// It will feature clothes and other items on their Facebook page for contactless payment and collection
// It comes after some SVP shops in the Irish Republic were able to use click-and-collect successfully last year
The St Vincent de Paul charity has launched a click-and-collect service at its seven shops in Northern Ireland.
The charity, also known as SVP, will feature clothes and other items from their shops on their Facebook page for contactless payment and collection.
It will be the first time the charity shops have been able to trade since the start of Northern Ireland’s latest lockdown in December.
Some click-and-collect services are permitted in Northern Ireland from today as part of the first relaxations of the Covid-19 restrictions this year.
Click-and-collect shopping, with payments made contactlessly, are permitted for some retailers considered non-essential who sell baby equipment, clothing and footwear, and electrical goods.
SVP regional retail manager Anne Crossan said they felt it was perfect for them to try using click-and-collect and comes after some SVP shops in the Irish Republic were able to use it successfully last year.
“We have got seven shops (in Northern Ireland) who are going to try it to see how they get on,” she told the PA news agency.
“We are using the shop’s Facebook pages. Normally they use them to share news from the shops, such as promotions or a volunteer getting recognised.
“So now the guys will be photographing and uploading images of items on to Facebook and the public can post a comment to confirm they want to buy it.
“The next step is, they ring the shop to make the payment remotely and arrange a time for the customer to collect it.
“It’s very simple but we’re hoping that it’s going to be effective.
“The guys are all geared up because it’s something new for us, they’ve been away from the shop since before Christmas so the paid staff and volunteers are so excited to get back. It’s great to see the buzz among them.”
SVP shops have also started accepting donations again.
“There is plenty of goodies in the shop already but we’re hoping we’ll start getting more in too and we’ll have more to sell on Facebook,” she said.
Crossan said SVP was well supported, but said lockdown was challenging for both the charity as well as customers who rely on their shops.
“We’re meant to be providing a service to the community and also raising funds to go back into SVP,” she said.
“There are people out there who cannot afford most shops, and when they need winter coats and shoes for their children, their first port of call is a charity shop, and we haven’t been able to trade.
“We also consider ourselves a real wee community hub, a lot of the time people come in just for a bit of craic, and it is sad not having been able to do that.
“Charity retail in general has struggled, we have invested a fortune in personal protective equipment and a lot of time training staff and volunteers.
“The click-and-collect allows us to take a step forward.”
with PA Wires