NCBI aims to beat Covid with E-Commerce

Press Release

NCBI aims to beat Covid with E-Commerce

Wednesday 1st April 2020, Ireland’s second largest charity retailer, NCBI, has announced the launch of online fashion sales. The charity, which provides much needed practical and emotional support to people who are blind or visually impaired, has almost 120 charity shops across Ireland. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the charity has had to shut all of the stores leading to a big decrease in income which directly funds frontline services.

Now NCBI has partnered with the start-up social enterprise Thriftify to provide an online outlet for those seeking to find that charity shop bargain. Using the Thriftify platform, NCBI has uploaded hundreds of its top pieces as well as a wide selection of bargains. Customers can browse the quality stock, make their choice and help raise funds for NCBI.

Rosie Henson, NCBI Head of Retail said “As retailers we are always seeking to innovate and improve how we do things. With the temporary closure of our shops, we’ve had to act fast to find a way of maintaining a connection with our customers and develop alternative ways to raise funds for our services. We were one of the first charities to begin working with Thriftify, initially selling books and other small items so it’s great to now be able to sell our fashion as well. While it’s still only a small percentage of what’s available in our stores, we want to let people know that they can still support our work and get a bargain at the same time.”

The solution used by NCBI is a web-based platform designed specifically for the charity retail sector with all profits reinvested to improve the platform.

Rónán Ó Dálaigh, CEO Thriftify said: “Fashion is a new area for us. Up until now, we’ve focused the technology on items that are barcoded. We’ve had to turn things around incredibly quickly to get the solution for fashion working but we’re delighted to be able to help in whatever way we can. I suppose the great thing about digital technology like ours is that it enables retailers who would have typically just relied on the punter walking in the door for sales, to broaden their reach to the global market. I think there’s a great opportunity for bricks & mortar retailers to embrace digital commerce as a way of making more money, but also as a way of building resilience.”


The current operation, based in the NCBI’s warehouse in Naas, is following all government guidelines regarding social distancing. All of the items have been steam-cleaned and many are brand new. Customers seeking to buy items can do so by visiting




For press queries and further information please call June Tinsley, NCBI Head of Communications on 087 9955076 or

For queries regarding Thriftify, please contact Rónán Ó Dálaigh –CEO, Thriftify

0851632732 or

More information about:


NCBI is the national sight loss organisation, working for people with sight loss.

We provide practical and emotional support, rehabilitation services and other training designed to help people with sight loss to live independently and confidently.

Services Offered:

  • Emotional support and counselling for people struggling to come to terms with sight loss.
  • Rehabilitation training, including independent living skills and mobility training, which may include using a long cane. Loss of independence is the biggest issue facing people – NCBI gives back independence and builds confidence.
  • Advice and information.
  • Low vision solutions, such as magnifiers and other aids, to help people to read standard print.
  • Assistive technology advice and training to either magnify or read aloud what is on screen.
  • Library – large-print and audio books – giving back the joy of reading.
  • Employment advice.

As a charity NCBI must raise €3 million annually just to keep operating at current levels that equates to €4 out of every €10 we spend on vital services.


Thriftify is a start-up social enterprise based in Dublin. The company has developed technology that enables charity shops to value their donations and sell them online. Using algorithms developed by the company thriftify is able to ascertain the value of any barcoded donation and automatically advise the charity shop user whether or not to sell the item online or in-store, depending on its value. The platform then lists the item for sale on where it is sold in over 120 countries and on various different e-commerce websites such as eBay and Amazon.

Some of the enterprises impact to date:

  • Has enabled charity shops in Ireland to value over 750,000 donations, generating tens of thousands in additional revenues.
  • Is being used by NCBI, Oxfam, Sue Ryder, Dublin Simon Community and the Irish Cancer Society with ambitions to grow into the UK.

The start-up has won the backing of Enterprise Ireland and other start-up accelerator programmes based on the quality of its digital commerce solutions and problem-