Author: Greg Cuccinello VP, New Business Development In-Store Experience
In a market with an abundance of online retail and big chain stores, small and local businesses are finding new ways of standing out and retaining customers. While the ease of online shopping and big-box stores is appealing, there is more and more evidence that consumers care just as much about the social impact of their purchases when deciding how and where to shop. Adopting socially responsible business practices, is not only good for the community, but also good for the bottom line. Here’s why more and more businesses are promoting social responsibility in their operations.
Social responsibility helps attract Customers Consumers have more retail options than ever before. While price, quality, and convenience are all important to consumers, they’ve become expected in a market driven by technology and national chains. A greater cause, then, can be that extra pull that leads consumers to make a purchase. A 2018 Cone Communications survey found that 87% of consumers are inclined to purchase a product from a company that supports a cause they care about; meanwhile, the Cone 2017 CSR Survey found that 89% of consumers are likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause given competitive price and quality. Importantly, Nielson’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report found that 66% of consumers, and 73% of millennials, are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Social responsibility leads to marketing campaigns with more impact The inundation of advertisements that face consumers every day mean that they are more and more critical of what can be seen as self-interested marketing tactics. Consumers are increasingly responding to cause-driven marketing as they become desensitized to traditional advertising methods. REI’s #optoutside campaign, as well as American Eagle’s #aeriereal campaign, connect their product to a positive message, which in turn appeals to consumers who want to feel good about the businesses they patronize. In fact, 81% of millennials expect companies to make public statements of their corporate citizenship.
Employee Loyalty and Engagement Now more than ever, employees care about what their companies stand for. That’s important for retailers looking to attract motivated staff. The 2017 Cone Millennial Employee Engagement Survey found that 76% of millennials consider a potential employer’s social and environmental commitments and practices when deciding where to work, and their successors in Gen Z are likely to follow suit.