Oxfam launches online charity shop – for everyone else there’s eBay for Charity


Last week Oxfam UK announced the launch of Britain’s first online charity shop at oxfam.org.uk/shop.

The shop apparently features an initial 50,000 donated items selected from Oxfam’s chain of highstreet charity shops, all having their details documented and uploaded by volunteers.

With various searchable categories (Clothes & Accessories, Music & Movies, etc.), ‘volunteer’s faves’ and a ‘donated this week’ list for regular shoppers, the site has a great feel and is very easy to navigate and browse. The charity plans to increase the number of donated items on sale to 120,000 by next spring, which it says should raise around £2 million per year.

If you’re a fundraiser without Oxfam-level resources but still keen to capitalise on the opportunity offered by such online charity shopping then you should take a look at eBay for Charity – which provides a range of ways to use the eBay ecommerce platform to raise money for organisations of all shapes and sizes.

One thought on “Oxfam launches online charity shop – for everyone else there’s eBay for Charity

  1. Brilliant idea! It seems like the kind of thing that no one would even suggest because it would be so likely to get shot down as impossible.

    However, I felt let down by the information design. I came to see the shop, and couldn’t figure out where it began and ended. If I want to use the charity shop, I just want the shop. As it is, the charity shop blends into virtual gifts (donations) and the general Oxfam site, and I have to mentally separate them, often repeatedly as I try to complete my task.

    I would expect to be able to land on the charity shop site and mainly see featured products and product navigation. I want to know I’m there (without thinking) and immediately begin looking for stuff. I don’t want to have to evaluate every product to figure out if it’s an actual gift or a virtual gift. Virtual gifts are already a difficult concept to sell without mixing them with physical products. I’m really disappointed. The site feels like marketers over-rode the information designer to try to “drive traffic” to donations and the result is a bit of a catastrophe. We aren’t cattle or cars, we’re users! Sites don’t drive us. We drive sites.

    Of course, once I wrestled my way into the charity shop, it’s great and everything works just like you’d expect. And after about 10 minutes of exploring the whole site, I understand how to avoid the non-shop stuff I don’t care about at the moment. User tip: mentally blank out the entire home page as if it were a series of banner ads, except for the right “take a look” menu, BUT avoiding the first item, “Oxfam Unwrapped.” (Yes, it *looks* like a product category, but it’s not.)

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