Doing good can help merchants do well. By showcasing holiday charitable initiatives, brands can strengthen their identities and create positive connections with shoppers.
Demonstration of a purpose beyond making a profit is increasingly important to consumers. As of 2012, 53% of shoppers said that if price and product quality are equal, social purpose is the most important factor when evaluating a brand — a 26% increase since 2008, according to the Edelman Goodpurpose Study.
Furthermore, good works translate into more word of mouth promotion, with 72% of consumers saying they would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t,
a 39% increase since 2008. Similarly, 71% of consumers would help a brand promote their products or services if there is a good cause behind them, an increase of of 34% since 2008.
Shoppers are especially receptive to purpose-driven messaging during the holidays, when they themselves are feeling more charitable. More than a third of all charitable giving occurs during the last three months of the year, with the highest percentage (17.5%) occurring in December — so merchants who showcase their initiatives during the holidays are likely to reach audiences looking for causes to support.
The action item
Merchants should promote any charitable giving initiatives prominently across their sites — and give shoppers the means to contribute. Among the options:
- Promote a charity “flash sale”. While it may be too late to initiate an extensive charitable giving campaign, merchants can still get in the act by picking a day on which a percentage of all proceeds will benefit the brand’s chosen charity.
- Build social momentum. As the ALS “ice bucket challenge” proved over the summer, the power of social media when it comes to stoking charitable intentions is considerable. Whether by donating a dollar for every “like” or creating a hashtag meme that encourages brand followers to spread the word and act, merchants should highlight charitable activities via social networks.
- Go deep with purpose-driven content. Merchants should build and showcase extensive content about their chosen charitable giving campaign, from blog posts to photos and testimonials from beneficiaries of the brand’s largesse. Such content can compel shoppers to join in — or at least support the brand that’s doing the giving.
MarketLive merchant Jane Cosmetics maintains a micro-site dedicated to its charitable giving program, featuring videos and a customer community. The micro-site is accessible from the flagship eCommerce site via global navigation, and a home page promotion further spotlights the program.
This concludes our series on holiday best practices. Watch for up-to-the-minute holiday results starting next week with reports on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and meantime you can review the entire Holiday Tips Series and read up on winning strategies in MarketLive’s holiday whitepapers. As the high season kicks off, we wish you good selling!