Photo by Ben White
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their power for effecting change over brands, and one way they’re using their power for good is through supporting brands that give back. A company or brand that is socially responsible is one that holds itself accountable by way of a self-regulating model of being conscious of the impact it has on society - including socially, environmentally, and economically. For some companies, having a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) model is an add-on, but for others it’s a fundamental part of their brand and product DNA.
Whatever the motivation, brands cannot ignore that social responsibility likely needs to be integrated either into their brand or directly into their products, otherwise consumers will simply switch to another one that does. Don’t believe me? Here are the stats.
Ethical consumerism is driving social responsibility
“Consumer, consumption, consume. Feels like a dirty word in a day and age where we all feel like we would rather save. Save the planet. Save for the future.”
- JuE Wong, Global CEO of Moroccanoil.
In a CSR study conducted in 2017 by Cone Communications it came out that 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about. 89% would rather buy from a company supporting social and environmental issues over one that does not, and 66% would switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a purpose-driven company.
The driver of this trend or (lest we say it) Agent of Change, is the ‘conscious consumer’. The definition widely accepted is that a “conscious consumer is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their buycott and boycott actions”. Consumers have a conscience and they want to make responsible purchases; but how did this overwhelming wave come about?
How Millennials are shaping consumer consciousness
Photo by Perry Grone
Millennials are changing the shopping experience, and they have the lion’s share of e-commerce transactions, accounting for 54% of all online purchases. Millennials are born between the early 1980’s to the mid-1990’s, and while they are the generation with the most student loans – they are projected to become powerful (but ethical) consumers as they pay off these loans, get better jobs, and higher salaries. Currently Millennials spend approximately $600 billion, but by 2020 they are projected to spend $1.4 trillion.
“Millennials care. They care about the impact their money makes, they care about what brands stand for, they expect brands to be socially responsible. For a generation that gets a bad rap, they are encouraging the world to give back and rally together through purchasing power to create positive change.”
– Ronny Sage, CEO of ShoppingGives.
In a global study carried out over 60 countries, it was established that 73% of Millenials are willing to spend more for sustainability. This shows that ethical consumerism is a global character-trait of Millenials and is not limited to only developed countries, as emerging and developing nations home 86% of all millennials. So not only do Millenials prefer a purpose-driven product stack, but they are willing to pay more if it means they are supporting a cause close to their heart.
According to the Cone Communications study, 88% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company that gives back. How good is giving back for your brand? We investigated a bit into that for you:
Giving back is worth it, any angle you look at it.
Giving back has a two-fold effect of both increasing your sales figures, while also elevating a cause that your consumers find meaningful. Since Millennials are such powerful consumers, and they far more readily support brands that are mindful about their impact, if your brand provides a way to consume while being socially conscious then you will inevitably grow conversions and your average order value.
You have the opportunity now to ‘poach’ customers from their regular merchants if what you offer is associated with a cause, as Millennials are up to 91% more likely to switch brands for a cause close to their heart (as opposed to the 66% of the average US citizen).
Offering customers a way to be socially conscious will improve your customer loyalty and retention, as Millennials are proven to associate brand loyalty with how it represents the issues that are important to them.
This offers a fantastic opportunity, not only to become a more socially conscious brand, but connect and engage with your customers on a more authentic and personal level.
How to make your business more Socially Conscious
Businesses are now making social responsibility a key part of their strategy, often with the millennial market at the core of it. They’re needing to get creative in ways to make their business more socially conscious, this includes the working environment they foster and the immediate needs of the community in which the business operates. Here are a few ways to establish social consciousness a part of your brand’s identity:
Create a social mission:
Establish how your company will actively help the community.
Make a list of goals:
Set short and long term goals that are realistic.
Inform your employees:
Educate your entire team about creating a socially responsible brand.
Form an in-house team for the job:
Put together a dedicated team to drive positive social impact initiatives.
Find a way to direct contributions:
Create a way for customers and employees to donate funds or resources to local charities.
Encourage your team by dedicating hours to volunteering, it’s also good for morale and team building.
Ethical labor practices:
Make sure you are following ethical labor practices within your own business.
Easy ways to do this would be a paperless environment, recycling programs, eco-friendly lighting and plumbing, carpooling, etc.
Collaborate with organizations:
Team up with compatible organizations to supercharge your fundraising efforts.
Make it an ongoing effort:
To avoid consumers thinking your efforts are marketing stunts, create regular or continuous efforts in the community for longer-lasting contributions.
If you’re wondering whether there is an easy way to incorporate this into your online store that doesn’t complicate the purchasing experience but still gives you all the advantages previously mentioned, then we’re happy to say that yes there is.
ShoppingGives enables you to integrate charitable giving in your Shopify store with ease. Their retail program, Change Commerce, is a shopping cart technology that is designed for Shopify. It allows customers to choose a cause or charity to donate to (at no extra cost to them) during the checkout process.
Change Commerce allows you to keep the checkout process simple, while offering customers millions of organizations to choose from (local charities to national non-profits). The process is quite simple; customers shop as per usual by adding items to their cart, they then choose their favorite cause upon checkout, and the retailer donates the money (at no extra cost to the customer). It enables merchants to engage customers in their CSR strategy with every purchase, adding great value to the customers’ experience and allowing retailers to create a greater impact.
ShoppingGives offers a 30-days free trial of Change Commerce, all you would need to pay during this time is the donations. Thereafter their pricing includes the donations plus 0.5% processing fee per transaction (orders with donations).
For this amount they include the following:
- End-to-end donation management
- Support up to 6 causes or non-profits
- On-site widget
- Donation confirmations for tracking (all donations are tax-deductable)
- Customer cause data for personalization
- Platform to measure donations against bottom line using RODS (Return on Donation spend)
Another useful tool that ShoppingGives has developed that is worth a mention is their impact calculator.
It enables the merchant to determine how much of an impact their brand could be generating. All you need to do is plug in some of your e-commerce metrics, such as your average monthly users, average order value, and average conversion rate and it will tell you your potential. Retailers can then see how much they would generate in donations annually, what is their ROI for their impact, and their Return on Donation Spend.
Do we recommend it?
If this is a route that you would like to pursue for your brand and online store then ShoppingGives is ideal for you. We have looked into and have been recommending it to our merchants that would like to incorporate charitable giving into their checkout process.
If you would like to try out ShoppingGives, reach out to us and we can help you get started.