Colin Neil, Adyen UK managing director on socially conscious retailing and consumerism

Director’s comment: Lay the foundations for a socially conscious shopping experience

This is a message from Colin Neil, UK managing director of Adyen, which is a Green Retail World partner.

Two in five (43%) shoppers prefer to buy with retailers who stand up for causes (social or environmental), that they believe in.

This is according to research of 2,000 UK consumers, which Adyen commissioned to understand how people’s attitudes to ethical business might affect buying trends this year.

But what does that mean in practice? Well, increasingly, brands are unable to sit back and separate their operations from the world around them. We saw this unfold as the conflict in Ukraine triggered many businesses to show their support of refugees and humanitarian aid.

Consumers want to understand that the services or products they are buying are not expediating global crises and challenges. So, it’s good business practice to consider how to make the shopping experience better for the socially conscious consumer. Not just to attract business, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Donating when shopping

One way retailers can improve the shopping experience is to enable consumers to support charitable causes when they are purchasing.

Our research discovered that 26% of consumers like it when retailers give them an option to donate to good causes while they’re shopping.

Earlier this year, Tesco allowed customers buying from stores to support three health charities, rounding their shopping basket totals up to the nearest pound at the till. Britain’s largest retailer said it raised awareness of sustainable lifestyle changes, while also allowing people to demonstrate activism within the communities they live.

Adyen’s donation feature Giving lets customers donate directly to a chosen charity when making payments. For example, fast food chain Leon integrated Giving to support its charity partner Bags of Taste. And, since the Ukraine crisis, Leon has joined Uniqlo, Domino’s and Vue Entertainment in using Giving to support UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. To date, over €2 million has been raised.

For businesses thinking about adding a giving feature at the point of payment, it’s a good idea to partner with a provider that handles the donation for you. This way, the payments provider can pay the charities directly, giving a transparent overview of all contributions, without complicating or impacting payments reconciliations.

Look for a partner that offers flexibility so you can easily switch between charity partners and ensure you’re helping organisations when they need it most.

Offsetting emissions

Adyen’s consumer study also found that 28% of people will pay more for an item if the carbon emissions associated with production are offset. And a larger proportion (43%) said they prefer to shop with a business that tracks or mitigates its environmental impact.

Many retailers are considering how transparent they can be with carbon labelling on their products, similar to the display of calorie counts on food packaging.

Logitech, for example, has carbon labels on all of its gaming products, which it says empowers consumers to understand the carbon impact of their purchases. And last year Allbirds became one of the first fashion companies to introduce carbon labelling for all of its products – with all shoes made of wool, it was able to prove a carbon footprint worth 60% less than a traditional synthetic shoe.

Businesses are making large investments to understand how their supply chain affects the carbon count of their products. If a business is looking to offer carbon offsetting it’s worth finding a payments provider that supports this at checkout.

To help businesses achieve their sustainability goals, Adyen launched Restore, which enables customers to offset their carbon emissions from delivery or product’s lifecycle.

We’ve also partnered with South Pole. The team there have helped us to build a carbon emissions calculator, which presents a carbon fee of products to businesses that they can then use to raise awareness. South Pole’s database of information translates total emissions into a monetary value, which is added to the final bill at checkout.

Allow for activism

Clearly, consumers want retailers to give them more opportunities to shop and behave in a more considered, more sustainable way. It’s all about giving customers the option.

Whether it’s the opportunity to support a charitable cause, or offset the carbon cost of a purchase, those businesses who offer innovative ways for shoppers to demonstrate their activism will provide a better, more rewarding shopping experience.

This is part two of a three-part series: read the first article here.

Colin Neil is UK managing director of Adyen, which is a Green Retail World partner.

[Image credit: Adyen]

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