Socially Responsible Holiday Shopping, Consumer Behavior and Consumer Activism
With social responsibility and spending awareness on the rise, consumer behavior and consumer activism have shifted to the front of the minds of shoppers–especially during the holiday season when people think of buying gifts for friends and family. During the Philly 100 awards ceremony, one of the attendees Leah Stauffer, from HalfAMillionKids.com, charged Skip Shuda, one of our co-founders and partners, to think more about how Philly Marketing Labs is integrating Social Activism into our company. As a result of this conversation, Philly Marketing Labs is now actively meeting with charities it is considering for partnership.
Holiday consumer behavior studies report that giving increases during holiday season. A study conducted by the American Red Cross based on how friends affect donations during the holiday season suggested that, “personal appeals from friends matter more than trending topics and gimmicks.” You have the best chance of influencing your social media connections to donate online or offline through consumer activism this holiday season.
Check Out Charities, the option many retailers give customers to donate a dollar or two while checking out, tend to increase during the holiday season as well as throughout the year. In 2012, 63 checkout charity campaigns were analyzed and found that $358.4 million dollars were raised simply by asking consumers to donate a little extra while paying for their purchases.
A 2010 Cone Causes Evolution Study found that, “83 percent of Americans want MORE of the products, services and retailers they use to support causes.” It highlighted the aspect of consumer preference–the notion that consumers prefer companies that make a positive impact on the world. In other words, if Company A donated a portion of the sale to a charity and Company B did not, consumer preference suggests that consumers would prefer to purchase from Company A.
Another engaging study by Edelman in 2010 concluded that, globally, 62% of people are “more likely to recommend a brand that supports a good cause than one that doesn’t.” As any business and consumer knows, reviews and recommendations can influence decisions even in light of the knowledge that many reviews can be fabricated–so take them with a proverbial grain of salt, but keep in mind that reviews and recommendations should not be ignored.
While researching for more ways to be socially active this upcoming holiday season, we stumbled across a number of products that are part of the One for One Movement–meaning that for each item purchased, either the same item or a specific type of product is donated to a person in need . This is a good example of how companies can adjust their marketing strategy to influence consumer behavior. The most commonly known example of this would be TOMS Shoes. For each pair of TOMS shoes purchased, a pair of shoes is donated to a child without shoes in a developing country. We found these companies intriguing in light of the holiday shopping season creeping up on us and wanted to share.
Whether you are looking at shoes, glasses, coffee, bags, backpacks or any of the number of products in the TOMS Marketplace, any purchase from toms.com will trigger a one-for-one donation of some kind. Purchase shoes, and shoes are donated. Purchase glasses, and the gift of sight is given either through surgery, treatment or glasses. Purchase coffee, and a donation of a weeks’ worth of clean water is given. Purchase a bag, and vital materials and training will be given to provide safe births. Purchase a backpack, and provide the training needed for school staff and counselors to help prevent and respond to bullying. Thanks to TOMS partnering with organizations and charities through the TOMS Marketplace, you can find something for nearly anyone on your gift list and feel good about your purchase as well.
A healthy smile and clean teeth might be something that many people take for granted, Smile Squared is giving a way for you to join the One for One movement by purchasing toothbrushes by ones, fours and sixes–with the equivalent amount being donated to children in need throughout the world. Or if you are happy with your specific toothbrush and just want to help, you can donate BOTH toothbrushes through their Donate Smiles option. Plus, you also have the option to purchase colorful plastic toothbrushes or bamboo toothbrushes for the same price.
Duck Dynasty and Sadie Robertson lovers will adore these socially responsible boots. Designed for wet weather climates, but constructed for everyday wear, many of these fashion-forward boots resemble rain boots, but there are options that resemble more traditional boots with laces as well. All boots have quick dry knitted cotton lining, a multi-layer cushioned insole, and are made from 100% natural rubber. “For every pair of Roma Boots sold, a brand new pair stuffed with educational supplies is donated to a child in need.” In addition, “ten percent of all sales proceeds go to the Roma For All Foundation to help these impoverished children break out of their cycle of poverty and despair.” Not only will you purchase trendy boots, but also provide shoes and school supplies to a child in need and help them live a better life.
For the fashionable conscious timekeepers, WeWood designs wooden timepieces with state-of-the-art Miyota movements as a hybrid of technology and nature. These watches are water-resistant and are generally fine with kitchen use, and while wood expands when wet, once the watch has fully dried, most watches return to their original structure. For each watch purchased, WeWood plants a tree.
Sight is a precious gift that many go without due to inadequate funding. Warby Parker strives to provide uncomplicated good vision, through their partnership with non-profits like VisionSpring, by providing a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold.
By searching “One for One Movement,” you can find more companies that provide services or products for each product you purchase and help double your holiday shopping this season.
How do you (or your company) participate in social activism? Would you be more inclined to purchase a product knowing you would be helping someone else in need? Would seeing someone else donated to a cause or charity influence your behavior as a consumer to demonstrate consumer activism as well? What are you going to do this holiday season to impact others and be socially responsible?
Check out more ways to demonstrate consumer activism at ShopWithMeaning.com.