The Benefits of Social Responsibility for Online Business & How to Easily Integrate CSR Using I=Change

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Social responsibility is fast gaining traction as a major purchasing influence for customers.

Consumers are turning their backs on the large multinationals, natural product sales have risen from $100bn to $200bn. Consumers have shown the power of their purchases are proving that their purchase power has na impact, which we’ll be exploring through case studies in a while.

For an online retailer, social responsibility is a challenging concept to pin down. However, amongst all the buzzwords and trends, it boils down to aligning social impact and employee engagement with business objectives.

You’re also going to want to communicate these efforts to your audience. It’s how you can combat consumers wariness of brands claiming to be socially conscious but in reality are anything but.

Expose your company’s ethos on the regular; incorporate it into your marketing strategies. It’s best not to take for granted that your audience knows about your awesome deeds just because it’s mentioned in your About Us.

Consumers are willing to pay more for conscious brands

66% of consumers in 2018 are happy to shell out more money for a product with sustainability features. The global respondents in this Nielsen study valued three corporate commitments above all others:

  • Organic, fresh or natural materials (69%)
  • Environmentally friendly company (58%)
  • Brands with a strong commitment to social issues (56%)

Both in store and online customers are checking labels and reviews to ensure that their purchases align with their values. Ethical shopping is no longer a minority activity, it’s now among the primary reasons that someone will choose one brand over another. 73% of millennials, who currently hold the highest spending power, are willing to pay more for the knowledge that their goods have a positive, or at least not harmful, impact on the planet.

So if you’re a Shopify merchant and have been thinking of introducing stronger social values into your branding, you’ll thank yourself later for taking the plunge into providing conscious products for your customers.

Here’s a top tip for those wishing to work on their store’s eco-rating.

Green packaging

Since you are an online store, packaging is an inevitable aspect of your operations. However, it doesn’t have to be single-use plastic. Take for example The Better Packaging Co., a business that provides compostable packaging for online stores. Not only that, but they are beautiful too, so you’re also giving your customers the luxe treatment.

The Better Packagin Co also have a SWOP system which allows your customers to return and re-use the packaging you sent to them incentivising the customer to save money the next time they shop with you. It’s a fantastic method of customer retention that aids you in becoming a greener online business.

Instagram Stories

Live streaming is the best way to market your commitments to social improvement. Although Instagram Stories is by far the most popular, Snapchat and Facebook also provide this feature to find your target market’s social hub before launching a campaign.

Now, let me explain why live streaming works for social responsibility marketing...

Open the back door into your businesses operations

There’s no better way right now to prove your ethical practices to an online community than through live stories. The unedited truth of your workplace, how you source your materials and your choice of suppliers is powerful marketing content, although you may not know of this yet.

Posting transparent stories into the creation process of customers potential purchases removes scepticism and doubt

This is especially true for fashion retailers given the horrific exposure to unethical labour over the last few years. Consumers have trepidation that the wool is constantly being pulled over their eyes and they are unknowingly funding sweatshops and environmentally toxic practices.

Show them that you are different. Audiences are more receptive to genuine feats of altruism. Your leads will be more likely to open your emails, become a subscriber and follow you across social media.

Corporate responsibility is definitely in right now!

What does social responsibility mean and how can you incorporate into your brand (outside of charitable donations)


A luxury mattress company that cuts out the middleman and sends quality mattresses straight to the customer’s door. Sounds great, but it’s not groundbreaking, and they have many competitors with the same USPs.

Enter Leesa’s Social Impact Program!

Since 2014, Leesa has donated over 30,000 mattresses to over 1,000 non-profits. Leads can see how their purchase will make an impact and it might just be the thing that entices them to confirm an order.

Perhaps your product line could be just what a charity needs to help make positive change.

We’ll reveal how to use this cause marketing platform to improve your standing as a responsible, caring business. Leesa shows that making a difference and increasing sales can be a reality for an online business.


TOMs is an outstanding example of how to create a brand that is built on trust. It all began when Blake Mycoskie was travelling in Argentina in 2006. Blake’s eyes became open to the poverty and struggles and decided he’d help by creating the ‘one for one’ business model so children could have footwear.

Not all businesses start by witnessing an area of social change that the owner wants to instigate. And that’s a-okay. However, if you’re looking to direct traffic to your site on the back of your involvement of social issues, publish content showing how your participation is improving a social issue.

Toms Passport Rewards

Why does this work?

We can all relate to the do-good, feel-good phenomenon, but TOMs loyalty campaign throws on a few extra perks to attain more order confirmations.

Although nothing too complex, TOMs have their own stamp on the loyalty programme by switching up the name to “TOMs Passport Rewards”. It’s engagement through philanthropy.

Customers feel excitement by being involved in a community that wants to make a difference.


To say the least, Bombas has an innovative marketing strategy:

What’s unique about Bombas is that they begin by telling you the problem and then provide the solution. It’s a powerful message that enables caring people to be proactive.

Their mission is the driving force behind their sales. And seeing that they’ve sold millions of pairs so far, their social commitment pluck at their customers’ heartstrings.

They also prove that their efforts towards social responsibility are genuine. You can see what I mean in this site description:

This isn’t a half-baked charity offshoot to appease customer’s apprehension about your company’s ethics. Bombas have designed a social movement to help people help people. Consumers can donate a pair of socks simply by purchasing a pair themselves.

Their brand really took off in 2017, and with $50 million earned in annual sales, Bombas was running to keep up with the orders. So if that’s the kind of success you want to see I’d suggest taking an altruistic leaf out of their book.

Unsure where to start? Use I=Change on your Shopify store

I=Change helps companies who want to give back. They understand that it can be challenging to find the right match. With i=change you can make a difference. It’s a partnership that our clients have never looked back and has strengthened their company’s brand and also their vision.

How to become an I=Change brand:

  1. Setup an account with I=Change here. There are minimal setup costs to this plug-&-play marketing solution to get your brand started with the movement.
  2. Feel free to choose a shortlist of charities for your customers to choose.
  3. Enjoy 100% transparency and know that 100% of the donations go directly to the selected charities (you’ll have a separate transaction fee).

Here’s how it works for your customers:

1. Shop as usual

The great thing about I=Change is that your customer’s shopping experience is exactly the same. There’s no awkward dipping in and out of tabs.

2. Send donation

At the end of the checkout process, an I=change box pops up and the customer chooses where the donation goes!

3. Track the impact

Your customer then gets to see in real-time how their purchase on your online store makes a difference to people’s lives.

If you know that your company will benefit from implementing a strong social impact, Elkfox is here to help implement a new strategy for your Shopify store. You can get in touch with us here.

And if you’re on the hunt for more techniques to making your online store the best it can be, we’ve got blogs for that.