Holiday Social Impact 101: Connecting with Conscious Consumers In-Store and Online

Inside of a mall during the holidays

This post was authored by our friends at ShoppingGives, who provide seamless integrations for customer-focused cause marketing.

The 2020 holiday season looked quite different for retailers— with most businesses shut down from the pandemic, consumers primarily did their holiday shopping online, resulting in a 32.2% growth in online sales compared to 2019. 

Looking ahead to the 2021 holiday season, a majority of businesses have opened their doors again to in-store patrons, which means that more consumers are expected to return to brick and mortar locations for their holiday shopping. However, ecommerce sales are still predicted to rise 11.3% from last year. According to a recent study, 1 in 3 consumers are also planning to spend more this holiday season.

While consumers are predicted to be spending more this holiday season, both in-store and online, they’re also going to be spending more consciously— this means supporting small business, minority-owned businesses, and purpose-driven brands. Here’s everything you need to know for connecting with conscious consumers, whether in-store or online.

Authenticity matters 

During this holiday season, one of the most important things customers will be looking for from brands is authenticity.

Today’s consumers are educating themselves on a brand’s impact efforts

It’s no surprise that the landscape of retail today is being forged by not only conscious consumers but also educated consumers. In the past, brands that claimed sustainability efforts or made blanket statements on societal issues were perceived as purpose-driven. Today, it’s no longer enough. Consumers are spending more time on a brand’s About Us page and are taking the time to educate themselves on the actions that a brand takes to positively impact society. 

With resources readily available to discover a brand’s social impact efforts, today’s consumers are easily able to identify whether a brand is being authentic in their efforts, or if they’re taking minimum efforts to create the perception of social good. 

Creating a 360-approach to social impact

The best way to create an authentic social impact strategy that will resonate with conscious consumers is to create a 360-approach to social impact that involves four core pillars: team, customer, community, and product. Integrating impact efforts throughout your brand strategy enables consumers to get a full picture of the good that you are doing, and better tells a story of who you are as a brand and what you stand for. 

Committed to helping fight climate change, Allbirds is integrating social impact throughout their brand. As a Certified B Corporation, Allbirds is holding themselves accountable to the impact that they make, and are encouraging others to do the same. By 2025, Allbirds plans to reduce their carbon footprint by 50%, with an ultimate goal of reducing their carbon footprint to 0.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Allbirds committed to donating $500k worth of shoes to healthcare workers on the frontlines. During this campaign, they also enabled a buy-one-give-one option to empower their customers to donate a pair of shoes. When shoppers purchased a pair of shoes for themselves, Allbirds split the cost of the donated pair with them, and distributed it to a healthcare worker who was on their waiting list from the outpouring of emails they received in response to this initiative.

Allbirds donations

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Omnichannel giving can create authentic and engaging brand experiences

With consumers shopping more consciously and being more mindful of where each dollar is spent, brands need a differentiator to help them stand out against the noise of the competition. Creating an omnichannel experience that will engage consumers no matter where they shop with your brand can help keep you top of mind this holiday season.

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A great way to do this, especially during the season of giving, is by integrating a charitable donation to your holiday strategy. Shopify merchants have the power to seamlessly create donations on purchases, both online and in-store. Utilizing Shopify POS to enable giving in-store can create an all-new customer experience for your brick-and-mortar customers by empowering them to create a charitable donation when they make a purchase.

Implementing giving for Shopify POS can also help your brand create meaningful cause campaigns by enabling you to support causes in your local community. Consumers are looking to make an impact where it means the most to them, and being able to support their community while they shop can create a brand experience that makes customers feel even more positively about their purchase.

PRO TIP: To easily implement giving for Shopify POS, you can integrate ShoppingGives for Shopify POS to authentically share your values with customers, support local causes, and make a massive impact where it matters most.

Integrating omnichannel giving throughout the customer journey

Social impact can be integrated at every stage of the customer journey to continue moving consumers further down the funnel, towards the path to conversion. Here are some actionable tactics that your brand can utilize to engage your online and in-store customers through social impact.

Awareness Stage 

Being proactive in marketing your brand values to appeal to conscious consumers is crucial. Donating a portion of proceeds to a charitable cause is sure to capture the attention of conscious consumers, but unless you’re actively promoting your holiday giving, consumers may not be aware of your efforts. You can use the power of social media to inform consumers of your holiday giving efforts and promote your brand’s cause alignment.

White + Warren Instagram post

Tactic: Look for cause-affinity when targeting ad campaigns to ensure you’re targeting the right audience. This will enable you to connect with consumers who share the same interests and values as your brand.

Consideration Stage

Ensuring that your brand is offering something desirable, seamless, and unique is key. Putting cause marketing front and center of your customer experience reminds shoppers of the opportunity to do good by making a purchase with you. You can utilize on-site marketing to share the impact that you’re creating and bring authenticity to your efforts to help customers gain a deeper understanding of who you are as a brand. In addition to on-site marketing, you can appeal to your in-store customer base as well by utilizing in-store print marketing to advertise your giving efforts when they walk in the door and as they approach the checkout. 

Blind Barber website

Tactic: Utilize a dedicated impact page to tell a story around why your brand supports a specific cause and share details about your impact efforts such as volunteer hours your company has participated in and the amount of impact you’ve helped to create.

Conversion Stage

Enabling donations at checkout can help increase AOV and creating urgency around your giving efforts can help move customers further down the funnel. Utilizing a flash giving event either online or in-store to offer a 5% or even 10% donation for a 24-hour event can encourage customers to make a purchase while they can make a bigger impact for a charitable cause, and GivingTuesday is a perfect day to do this. 

Kenneth Cole Giving Tuesday

Tactic: Utilize email marketing to announce your giving, create personalized 1:1 emails that reflect cause-affinity for retargeting efforts, or include impact messaging in your email footers so that the reminder of your giving efforts is always present.

Loyalty Stage

After a personalized experience with a brand, 44% of consumers are more likely to become repeat buyers— this is because personalization creates an emotional connection with customers. This means that using a personalized, cause-centric approach in advertising efforts can help your brand stand out from the competition. Highline Wellness, a CBD wellness brand, tested impact-focused messaging against product-focused messaging in their Facebook ads, and messaging around impact has consistently performed better, resulting in a 6% lift in AOV.

Highline Wellness banner ads

Tactic: Identify a cause from your local community to support and utilize paid ads to target consumers from the community or who have a cause-affinity for that specific nonprofit to encourage them to create a charitable donation with their in-store purchase.

Advocacy Stage

People are more likely to share content that has a charitable-focused message and making it easy for customers to share their experience with your brand turns loyal customers into brand advocates. You can utilize social media to increase engagement by adding interactive elements such as polls to help choose the next charity your brand will feature, or even interviews with those who’ve benefited from the donations your brand has been able to make to fill your social media feed with some feel-good content that conscious consumers can resonate with.

Tactic: Encourage your in-store customers to snap a selfie or show off their purchase after checking out and post it to their social media channels with a branded hashtag that represents your company’s giving efforts.

Looking ahead for social impact during the 2021 holiday season

With multiple channels to shop through, consumers this year are not only predicted to spend more, but they’re also likely to begin their holiday shopping early. With the events from the last year and a half, many shoppers have spent that time re-evaluating priorities and are expected to purchase more meaningful gifts this year, with a focus on supporting minority-owned businesses.

53% of conscious consumers surveyed are even willing to pay a premium for a shopping experience that enables them to do good while completing their holiday shopping. This means that consumers are going to be more meticulous in choosing which brands to support this upcoming holiday season and purpose-driven brands are going to be at an advantage in vying for the attention of conscious consumers.

Integrating social impact throughout all channels to create an omnichannel giving experience can tip the scales to favor purpose-driven brands this holiday season, and implementing giving at Shopify POS is a simple and powerful way to do it.

Seamlessly integrate Cause Marketing with the turnkey Social Impact Solution from ShoppingGives

ShoppingGives’ Shopify app Change Commerce makes Cause Marketing and donating easier than ever before. By integrating, merchants have the ability to create a seamless giving experience both online and in-store through Shopify POS, creating a positive impact on every purchase. 100% of donations are always donated to the nonprofits you support, with cause marketing compliance & regulation fully managed for you. ShoppingGives equips Shopify stores with the tools to strengthen customer loyalty and trust and in turn, boost bottom line.

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