Princess Alice Hospice Trust Chooses Maxa Solutions

Princess Alice Hospice is a charity providing specialist care and support free of charge across a large part of Surrey, south west London and Middlesex. The Hospice was looking for a new retail management system that would support its development plans. It was also looking for a user friendly graphical interface that was easy to use within a charity environment both at shop and head office level.

After a thorough selection process, Princess Alice Hospice decided Maxa Solutions provided the best solution. Phil Seal, Retail Development Manager for Princess Alice Hospice said: "Maxa demonstrated a willingness to work in partnership developing bespoke reporting to meet the specific needs of the retail business. The solution met our key requirements of being best fit and had the added advantage of a fully integrated Gift Aid solution that would enable the Charity to build its revenue streams."

CHARiot, Maxa Solutions' charity software provides a fully integrated module to enable the claiming of Gift Aid on donated goods with a mainly paperless system under the Hospice's control and a full retail recording, reporting and communications functionality.

There were many additional benefits in choosing the charity software. The system has greatly improved the availability of business information both within the shops and at head office. It also helped the integration of its merchandise planning, purchase ordering and distribution network.

Other important advantages are; good return on investment with measurable benefits, increased efficiency and improved revenue streams. In addition, real time information and communications via intramail.

Andrea Percival, director of Maxa Solutions said; "Maxa Solutions developed CHARiot specifically for the charity market to fulfil the growing need in charity shops to provide management and business information in a very easy to use format. The fully integrated gift aid module also suits perfectly the needs of the hospice shops. We are really pleased that Princess Alice Hospice Trust has future plans for CHARiot and it will provide the platform to develop and integrate its retail management activities enabling it to build our business for the future".

The CHARiot solution, developed in conjunction with specialist provider Nisyst, is a fully proven retail EPOS system with comprehensive, integrated, head-office facilities. The tiling screen is touch screen based and because of the graphical design of this screen, it is extremely simple to use, and hard to make mistakes. If the keys are pressed in the wrong order, it will either not allow the function or it will advise what "it" thinks the user should be doing.

A sale is made either by touching the appropriate pictorial product / category "hot-keys", scanning the product barcode, or using the product lookup (Magnifying glass). In this way, donated goods sales without barcodes or PLU, are recorded in detail and are reported on in the same manner as purchased / scanned items. Donations are catered for within the tilling function and the completion of Gift Aid details can either be prompted on screen, or a form can be printed on the receipt printer.

User Log-on ensures that management information can be related to the till operator at the time of the sale and secure functions can be enabled / disabled based on configurable user permissions. All payment types are catered for including vouchers and account. Cheque and Credit card payments have help screens to remind the cashier what to check for.

A single sale can be cashed off using multiple payment methods. If using integrated chip + pin, the till will have a pin pad and the process will be fully automated. The system is accredited by most major High Street banks - making the implementation of integrated chip + pin simple.

Charity shops are now the 5th largest presence in the high street by type of shop. According to Charity Finance annual survey, almost 100 charitable organisations comprise more than 5,800 shops with annual turnover in excess of 468 million. This growth is set to continue as the sector develops in terms of expertise.

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