A Retailer’s Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility: 7 Tips and Examples of CSR in Retail

Company social accountability (CSR) is changing into an more and more well-liked idea within the retail world. Increasingly more retailers are realizing that giving again doesn’t simply make the world a greater place, it’s additionally good for enterprise.

Analysis has proven that 87% of consumers contemplate CSR of their buy selections, and that “given similar price and quality, consumers [91%] are likely to switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause.”

Clearly, participating in company social accountability can earn you additional factors (and gross sales) from prospects. That’s why if don’t have any CSR initiatives in place, it’s possible you’ll wish to cook dinner up methods in which you’ll be able to align your corporation with moral practices and good causes.

Listed below are a number of concepts that will help you do that:

1. Create particular merchandise for charity

Should you create or design your individual merchandise, contemplate creating particular traces or merchandise particularly for charity. That’s what Francesca, a jewellery retailer does, and it’s figuring out superbly for them. In accordance with their web site, their enterprise has raised over $87,000 to charity thus far.

Right here’s the way it works. Francesca has plenty of jewellery items that had been designed with particular charitable organizations in thoughts. For instance, they’ve the Be Hers Medallion which was launched in assist of 2018 Be Her Freedom occasions. There’s additionally the Consciousness Bracelet, which was created for the Nationwide Breast Most cancers Basis.

Proceeds from gross sales of those items go instantly their charity companions.

2. Create or take part in occasions that promote giving

Yearly, there’s an occasion known as Giving Tuesday which is well known on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving (this yr it falls on November 27). Today is all about giving again. Companies and customers take part in charitable initiatives, and the motion is essentially fueled by social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Over the previous few years, retailers have more and more participated. There’s Petco, which donated pet toys to plenty of animal shelters.

In the meantime, Draper James’, the clothes line owned by Reese Witherspoon, donated 100% of the proceeds from their #DJSisterhood assortment to Women Inc for Giving Tuesday.


Now, you don’t have to attend for Giving Tuesday to return alongside so as to do one thing charitable. Most causes have devoted consciousness days and even months. October is Breast Most cancers Consciousness Month, whereas April is Nationwide Parkinson’s Consciousness Month. Discover the perfect time of yr to lift consciousness or funds in your trigger, then launch a retail occasion for it.

3. Take heed to how your merchandise are sourced or manufactured

Whereas making an attempt to decrease manufacturing prices is simply good enterprise, don’t do it on the bills of laborers or the surroundings. Increasingly more customers are beginning to care about how merchandise are sourced or manufactured. The truth is, a variety of them can be keen to pay extra for merchandise produced responsibly.

As we cited in our put up about competing with quick vogue, “an informal study of 390 consumers found that ‘over 75% of respondents agreed that they would be willing to pay more for clothing produced using responsible labor practices.’ Similarly, a YouGov poll found that 74% of shoppers ‘would be happy to pay an extra 5% for their clothes if there was a guarantee that workers were being paid fairly and working in safe conditions.’”

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Ask your self, are your merchandise sourced or manufactured responsibly? Should you answered no or should you’re uncertain, it’s possible you’ll wish to re-examine your suppliers. Get in contact and speak about their insurance policies and dealing situations to see in the event that they’re upholding moral enterprise practices and dealing situations.

Take a look at what Everlane is doing. The attire retailer spends months discovering the perfect factories and guaranteeing that they’re consistent with the corporate’s values. “We visit them often, and build strong personal relationships with the owners,” says Everlane on its web site. “This hands-on approach is the most effective way to ensure a factory’s integrity. As an added assurance we also require stringent workplace compliancy paperwork.”

4. Sponsor a group initiative

There are probably loads of CSR alternatives proper in your yard. Do a little analysis on what’s occurring in your group and see if there are any charitable initiatives or occasions that you might assist.

Is an area non-profit org internet hosting an occasion? Are members of your group elevating cash for a brand new recreation heart? Do what you may to assist these efforts. You would, for instance, sponsor that native occasion or donate a portion of your revenues in direction of the fundraising effort. Doing so won’t solely enrich your neighborhood, however it may additionally increase your picture locally.

5. Donate income or merchandise

Probably the most widespread methods to have interaction in CSR is to assist a charitable group. Search for a bunch that helps a trigger you imagine in, get in contact, and strategize on how one can assist them.

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You possibly can, for instance, donate a portion of your revenues to that charity. That’s what the GAP is doing in its Give Twice initiative. For each reward card offered, the retailer donates 2% of the acquisition to organizations corresponding to CARE or Communities in Colleges.

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Different retailers are opting to donate merchandise. Take medical attire retailer FIGS, for instance. The corporate has a program known as Threads for Threads the place it donates a set of scrubs to a healthcare supplier in want, for each set of scrubs offered on its web site.

There are additionally companies that determine to arrange their very own foundations. Firms corresponding to Starbucks and Chipotle have taken charitable giving into their very own palms by creating organizations beneath their very own manufacturers. After all, this route could also be a bit extra difficult, so for lots of SMBs, it would make extra sense to accomplice up with present organizations.

6. Spend money on your workforce

CSR isn’t nearly exterior initiatives. The idea of giving can be utilized to your workers. Keep in mind that it pays to deal with and compensate workers effectively. Research have proven that retailers who spend money on their workforce not solely have extra motivated workers who present higher customer support, additionally they are typically extra worthwhile.

In a New Yorker.com piece about retail staffing, James Surowiecki cites a Wharton College examine that discovered that “every dollar in additional payroll led to somewhere between four and twenty-eight dollars in new sales.”

One retailer that exemplifies that is Costco, which has reaped the advantages of paying and treating workers effectively.

As TriplePundit’s Leon Kaye put it:

Whereas most large field retailers insist on paying low wages with the declare that skinny margins require decreased labor prices, Costco for years has been breaking the mould. Wall Avenue squawks that the membership warehouse large ought to push for increased revenue margins and decreased labor prices, in the meantime the corporate, led by its iconoclastic founder and former CEO, Jim Sinegal, continuously flicks his chin at The Avenue and its yammering analysts. The outcomes: glad workers, enviable inventory efficiency and a superb buying mannequin that, let’s face it, bludgeons customers into buying fortunately for extra.

7. Promote range

Talking of your workforce, a rising variety of firms are participating in CSR by means of extra various hiring practices.

As an illustration, again in 2007, when Walgreen’s established a distribution heart in South Carolina, the corporate set a objective to fill 30% of the 800 jobs with people who had mental and developmental disabilities. It was an exquisite effort that proved to be extremely profitable.

In accordance with the Huffington Submit, “By adapting the on-site training program to suit disabled job-seekers and by working closely with local agencies for people with disabilities, Walgreens was able to hire beyond its 30 percent target. What’s more, the company found that the center operated 20 percent more efficiently compared to others in its fleet, citing increased productivity, lower turnover and a highly motivated workforce.”

There’s additionally Johnson & Johnson, which reveals a dedication in hiring extra girls by incentivizing their high managers to rent extra feminine workers. Forbes reviews that “Since 2015, Johnson & Johnson’s top managers have a portion of their bonuses tied to meeting certain diversity metrics, including how many women they hired in the previous year.”

Already participating in CSR? Listed below are tricks to increase consciousness (and gross sales)

If you have already got CSR efforts in place, listed below are a few suggestions to assist unfold the phrase:

Embody it in your packaging

Be sure you speak about your initiatives in your packaging. If revenues for a specific merchandise would go to charity, see to it that this reality is talked about in your packing. Doing so not solely spreads consciousness, however it additionally encourages consumers to purchase the product.

In a survey by Nielsen about CSR, they discovered that about 52% of world respondents “say their purchase decisions are partly dependent on the packaging – they check the labeling first before buying to ensure the brand is committed to positive social and environmental impact.”

Nielsen additionally noticed “an average annual sales increase of two percent for products with sustainability claims on the packaging and a lift of five percent for products that promoted sustainability actions through marketing programs.”

Actively market your efforts

Whenever you launch your CSR efforts, promote it such as you would for an occasion or a promotion. Point out your initiatives to prospects, put up in-store decals, posters, or signage, speak about them in your publication, and dedicate a number of social media updates to your trigger. If in case you have an internet site, create a devoted web page for it as effectively.

Have fun the success of your initiatives

As soon as your CSR program has gained traction, you should definitely have a good time its success. Clients love to listen to that their cash is being put to nice use, so replace them on all the nice that you simply’ve completed.

Doc the outcomes of your efforts (i.e. cash you raised, variety of individuals that you simply’ve helped, and so on.) then unfold the phrase by means of your web site, workers, publication, and social media accounts. It’s all the time nice to speak excellent news and this transfer may additionally encourage prospects to purchase from you and assist your trigger much more.

Your take

Do you have got any CSR initiatives in place? Tell us within the feedback.

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend’s Retail Skilled and Content material Strategist. She writes about developments, suggestions, and different cool issues that allow retailers to extend gross sales, serve prospects higher, and be extra superior general. She’s additionally the writer of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to assist retailers future-proof their shops. Join along with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.

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