With so many stores available online, people are beginning to assess retailers on criteria other than product and price. In a recent analysis of ecommerce websites, we saw an increase in the number of ecommerce sites that highlighted the organization’s values and substantial contributions to issues important to consumers. Participants in our study made the same observation. Many of them expressed positive sentiments toward businesses that exhibited ideals consistent with their own. (ecommerce platforms)
Businesses that make a concerted effort to give back to society and their communities are viewed as being more compassionate and responsible than businesses who do not. Participants valued organizations that demonstrated concern for people and the environment; support for these causes improved users’ opinions of the businesses and generated positive feelings about doing business with them.
Several common societal causes that impressed users included the following:
- Contributions to philanthropy and giving back to communities in need
- Environmental sensitivity and environmentally sustainable practices
- Registration of voters and promotion of social duties
While shopping on the Toms website, a participant stumbled across a page detailing the retailer’s support for various organizations. He skimmed the entire page, which detailed Toms’ support for various causes and the company’s efforts in these areas.
Following that, he expressed favorable sentiments for the company: (ecommerce platforms)
“As a result, they go into detail about the three points they consider are critical. They’re seeking funds for a COVID-19 Global Giving Fund and also work to ensure that individuals have equitable access to all forms of opportunities: physical safety, mental health, and income equality.
That is fantastic. I believe that more businesses may share their revenues in order to develop and enhance people’s lives. “How come not?”
Another user who was shopping for shoes on Toms’ website recalls hearing about Toms’ charitable endeavors elsewhere. She recognized the link after reading a note at the checkout about the company donating a part of its income to charity.
“I saw the Toms representative on Shark Tank [a television show] last week, and I recall that they donate money to help impoverished children purchase shoes. That is a wonderful feature. And it says right here that ‘for every $3 we earn, we donate $1.'”
Spread Awareness of Causes Throughout the Site (ecommerce platforms)
While it’s wonderful to have a dedicated website for these programs, like Toms did, not all users will seek this information. Businesses that support common social issues should incorporate information about these programs and beliefs into the user experience on their websites.
Tom’s integration of philanthropic causes into the purchasing workflow was an excellent technique to educate users and ease purchase remorse by informing them that a portion of their purchase will benefit charity. Thus, Toms developed a pleasurable experience for clients and an emotional connection that may develop into a long-term partnership.
Additionally, Levi’s underscored the company’s commitment to sustainability by adding little icons next to products made from sustainable materials. This minor feature demonstrated to users that the business was environmentally sensitive and enabled shoppers to choose sustainable products.
“That blue symbol over there. ‘Sustainable,’ it states. As a result, it is constructed entirely of recycled materials. I’m aware that Levi’s is substantially invested in this. Thus, it is simply informing me that if I wish to shop more organically or contribute to environmental stewardship, I may do so.
It’s quite impressive. It provides individuals a choice and helps them understand that when they purchase jeans, they are contributing to a worthy cause.”
Exercise Caution When Discussing Divisive Issues
Not every shopper adheres to the same set of values. Bear in mind that taking a strong stand on a particular topic may alienate some of your shoppers. Certain businesses are willing to risk losing some consumers in order to emphatically support the causes they believe in.
Additionally, Toms reminded US visitors of the critical nature of voting in the upcoming presidential election (which was approaching during the study). Although elections are inherently divisive, one user praised Toms’s presentation of the subject. He noticed voting banners on the home page and stated,
“It’s about voting.” They simply want people to be aware that the election is approaching and that we should vote. It makes no recommendation as to how to vote, only that it is necessary to do so…
Thus, they clearly stand for everyone’s participation in an election for this company. That is OK to include on the webpage. I have no objection to it as long as it remains neutral. They are not advising me on how to vote, nor are they engaging in any form of political advertising. That is acceptable.”
Another user noticed a similar statement encouraging users to Glossier.com, a beauty-products website, to register to vote. She added:
“This is fantastic. This is fantastic. Every business, in my opinion, should be doing this. I was reading today about how people who visit emergency rooms at hospitals are less likely to be registered to vote. Thus, this gentleman devised a method in which, while someone was in the emergency room (ER) filling out paperwork, they would be given the opportunity to register to vote concurrently with their ER paperwork!
Thus, it’s these things; you’re doing something as simple as purchasing an eyeshadow, and by registering, you can aid others. Someone might say, ‘you know, I was considering doing this and came across this link. Therefore, I’m going to click it and perform that action immediately!’ Thus, I believe that is an excellent thing to undertake. This, combined with the fact that this is a cruelty-free brand, demonstrates to me once again that you are a socially concerned business.”
Indicate Clearly That Your Products or Processes Are Sustainably Manufactured
As customers become more conscious of their impact on the environment, brands that follow sustainable business strategies should make these activities widely known to their audiences. Eco-conscious participants in our surveys took note of these brands.
One Australian shopper was pleasantly surprised to discover that the site shipped using compostable bags.
“The compostable packaging is actually rather fascinating here, as I haven’t seen it from a lot of businesses in the past. Thus, I’m guessing that sustainability is important to them, as they include it, which is wonderful to know. I’m constantly conscious of the quantity of trash I generate as a result of the packages I receive.”
A shopper who visited Vrai.com, a lab-grown diamond business, had positive sentiments regarding the site’s environmental benefits. When she stated, she was already attracted by the company’s jewelry and site experience.
“This draws me in even more since when I conduct brand research and decide whether to purchase something or follow a brand, sustainability is a major issue for me, as it is in other aspects. That is critical.”
Of course, not all consumers will value these social reasons, but a sizable proportion will. Consumers are increasingly seeking brand partners who share their beliefs. Many consumers want their purchases to have some indirect effect to the causes they support.
Because many brands now provide content about their social issues and practices, expressing support for such causes has become a point of differentiation for discerning consumers.
The existence of such content (at least when delivered in a somewhat neutral, unpolarizing manner) does not appear to repel consumers who are uninterested in such causes. However, avoid going overboard – ensure that such content is not excessively obtrusive or interferes with the user experience. For instance, utilizing a splash page or a popup to announce a firm donation will be distracting.
Thus, the bottom line is to demonstrate your concern and how you care, but avoid annoyance, interruption, or alienation of your audience with these messages.