Pay what you choose experiment is a success
For a two week period, all fixed prices were removed from donated items and customers were able to pay whatever they thought goods were worth.
In light of the economic downturn, it seemed to me that this was a great way to position the shop as a community resource and hopefully generate more donations and increase sales.
Having spoken with Anna and Sara from Sue Ryder Care, I can report that the experiment has been a "resounding success".
Both wanted to emphasise that Melksham, the town where the experiment was undertaken, has a very strong community spirit and that pay what you choose would not be rolled out across the Sue Ryder Care shops network.
But what actually happened in the test?
Absolutely nobody abused the system. In fact, people tended to pay more for items. One teddy bear, for example, who spent some time sitting in the shop window went for £30 rather than an expected £15.
Though full figures aren't yet collated, the number of items donated was up on a normal week – as were transactions. The shop was closed on one day (because of the snow) but there were still over 200 more sales than would normally have gone through the till.
Helen Reynolds, Business Manager at Sue Ryder Care said she was "absolutely delighted with the outcomes of this trial. Customers love the idea of being able to name their price and so far, we have seen an increase in footfall, numbers of revisits from customers and sales".
"It's fantastic. I think this new scheme is working well as people appreciate that we recognise the importance of our community and are keen to do something that can help both the charity and our customers. It's a win-win situation. if people go out shopping more, other retailers will enjoy the benefits of increased footfall. Most people will walk home after buying something that they really wanted and feel good about it."
Sara is going to keep me updated on the final figures and I'll share them as soon as they are available.