Today’s consumers are socially conscious. They don’t want to just buy products; they want to support a cause. So, if you provide your customers with quality products and a cause that aligns with their beliefs, you have a recipe to win.
Cause marketing provides a way for you to nurture consumers and their need to make a difference, while increasing brand loyalty and trust. However, it’s essential that you find the right cause, charity, or issue to support – one that aligns with your brand, target customer, and your business goals. If you get it wrong, your campaign can seem insincere or manipulative. Below, we outline 3 successful charitable ecommerce brands that you can take inspiration from.
One of the most successful examples of charitable marketing comes from Dove, a personal care brand best known for selling body and hair care products for women, men, and babies.
The Self-Esteem Project is a fund in which Dove works with leading experts in various fields including health, psychology, and body image. Together they provide a program of resources for mentors, parents, teachers, and young people to overcome body image issues and form healthy relationships.
How it helps: This program has funded the formation of educational materials about self-esteem and the #GirlCollective. #GirlCollective is “a sisterhood that builds body confidence and challenges beauty stereotypes for all women and girls.” Girls can join the collective and have a place to go online and talk about the issues that they face, and receive feedback, support, and advice. The campaign has reached over 17 million young people, helping them with self-esteem issues, while helping the Dove brand build a huge customer base and increased sales opportunities for nearly two decades.
What you can learn: Dove’s Self-Esteem Project demonstrates how effective authenticity can be. They’ve taken a beauty brand, something that’s often marketed superficially, and stripped it back to a fundamental need for their customers, a healthy self-esteem. That’s why it’s so important to choose a cause that you can really get behind. Consumers are perceptive and will recognize a disingenuous campaign. So, choose something you and your staff truly believe in that also meets a need of your target audience.
Bombas is an apparel brand founded in 2013. It’s best known for its socks (though it launched a line of t-shirts in 2019) and its mission to help the homeless community. New clothing is in short supply in U.S. homeless shelters, especially socks, which are the most-requested clothing item by organizations helping the homeless. This is the driving force for Bombas. The company donates new socks and t-shirts to the homeless every time a Bombas item is sold.
How it helps: Bombas has donated over 33 million items to more than 2,500 homeless shelters and other nonprofit organizations across the nation. This means they have also sold more than 33 million items – pretty remarkable for a brand that started by selling one type of product online.
What you can learn: You can build a successful brand around a specific need. The founders of Bombas started the company after hearing about the need for socks in homeless shelters, not the other way around. They wanted to fill that need, so they created Bombas as a way to do it. Now, Bombas is a traditionally successful business, as well as a huge support to the homeless community. If you’re thinking about starting an ecommerce business, but don’t know what types of products you want to sell, consider the needs of your community (or others), and what you can sell to help meet those needs.
Subscription boxes are all the rage for online shoppers right now. They’re typically a collection of products specifically curated for a targeted audience. Causebox is just that, and it targets socially conscious buyers who want to purchase from socially conscious brands. Causebox partners with different charities to help them widen their impact and growth, and to provide customers with socially, economically, and environmentally-conscious products.
How it helps: Causebox’s product team sources all of its products from brands that are focused on social good. The brands they choose to work with must follow through on their goals and missions. Causebox has worked with charities including Speak Your Silence, an organization helping those affected by assault and sexual abuse, and Trees for the Future, which works to end poverty and hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa.
What you can learn: You don’t have to focus on just one charity to have effective charitable ecommerce campaigns. You can work with a variety of groups and change them as you see fit. The key is vetting organizations to ensure their goals line up with the goals of your customers and brand. If you don’t know what types of nonprofits or charities your current and potential customers would support, try running a survey on your social media pages.
These successful charitable ecommerce brands prove that supporting a cause can be worthwhile. Cause marketing is a great way to grow your ecommerce business while supporting a charity that your customers will get behind. The right strategy can help you earn lifetime brand value with your targeted online shoppers. Find what speaks to you and your community, start small with a simple survey or email, and work up to a successful ecommerce business in no time.