Business Growth, eCommerce

How corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be a part of any modern eCommerce business plan

BY Crystal Gilliam 16 Nov, "16

“Ideas are universal. Opportunities are not.” Since reading this striking quote on Kiva’s website, we can’t stop thinking about it. Imagine if everyone who had an idea also had the accompanying opportunity to make it happen - the possibilities are literally endless.

Keeping this thought in mind, TradeGecko wants to share our commitment in supporting not just non-profits, but also companies that are working hard within the modern commerce space to make money while promoting social responsibility and supporting the communities around them.

Read on for our thoughts on this corporate responsibility, how a rise in eCommerce is bringing business opportunities to new places, and why TradeGecko is fully on board.

Doing their own part

We’re seeing a new trend towards businesses wanting and needing to be socially responsible.

In a recent survey, 90% of respondents said they expected companies to do more than just make a profit. In that same survey, 84% said they seek out responsible products when they can, and 80% take that into consideration when making their purchasing decisions.

In another survey conducted by Nielsen, 55% of international shoppers online said they would be willing to pay more for products and services from businesses that make a social or environmental impact.

Many businesses are blurring the lines between making profits through eCommerce and helping those in need. In today’s eCommerce space, it seems that acting more purposefully actually leads to being more profitable.

eCommerce is the way forward

And speaking of eCommerce, whether a company is for profit or not, one thing is for certain: eCommerce is expanding the potential market in ways that it never has before. It’s allowing small entrepreneurs to set up shop and reach potential customers all around the world.

With the rise of eCommerce, anyone, from anywhere with an internet connection can open a store. They can sell on social media, like Indonesians on Instagram, or using websites using software that make selling easier.

As mobile eCommerce, increases, that market will expand even more. One report by BI Intelligence showed that by 2020, mobile commerce is predicted to make up to US$284 billion in sales, globally.

There’s a big market out there, and with each business opportunity, comes an opportunity to also make a difference.

Non-profit, for-profit or something in between

So, how can companies move into this intersection between eCommerce and doing more for the social good? It depends on what kind of company you are. There are non-profits, social enterprises, B Corporations, or simply a for-profit company doing a lot of good.

TradeGecko: How corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be a part of any modern eCommerce business plan

Non-profits are just that - organisations that are set up for a purpose other than only making money. Social enterprises take the principles of for-profit companies and run businesses as a for-profit, but with an added social mission. B Corporations and Benefit Corporations are certified by various organizations and are for-profit companies that have a positive impact on social causes or the environment, among other factors.

And then there are other for-profit companies that are just doing their thing. That’s what’s great about being a company with a social conscience - you don’t have to fit into one of the above categories to operate with a social mission in mind. Business can choose their level of responsibility and develop it with their goals and purposes in mind.

A business can still focus on making as many sales as possible, while also making a difference. Take for example, US based eCommerce companies Tom’s and Bombas.

Tom’s operates on a one-for-one policy. For each pair of Tom’s shoes bought, they give a new pair of shoes to selected beneficiaries all over the world. To date, they’ve given over 60 million new pairs of shoes in over 70 countries.

Tom’s was one of the first few companies in the eCommerce space that included this giving option on such a large scale. By providing a quality, in-demand product, and pairing it with a social mission, Tom’s allowed their customers to buy something they truly liked, but also give people the chance to feel that they’re contributing towards something.

Bombas sells socks and also operates on a one for one basis. They sell high quality socks and one new, specially designed pair is donated to a local homeless shelter for each purchase. Operating on Shopify, they look and operate like many other eCommerce stores, just that they’ve happened to give over 1,000,000 pairs of socks away at the same time.

These are just two of the many examples of regular eCommerce stores, doing their part to give back.

Inspiring TradeGecko - our part

We at TradeGecko have seen this interesting mix between eCommerce and social responsibility first-hand. And it has been an inspiration for why we want to do our part in supporting those who are doing business differently, in the best way that we can - with free use of our platform.

For non-profits, operating on slim budgets, we’d rather the cost of our services go towards improving the program, or directly to beneficiaries. Here are two of the amazing non-profits we’re currently supporting. 

CareBOX Program

You can read their full case study in our customer story page. CareBOX Program is based in the USA, putting together care boxes for cancer patients in the area. These boxes are entirely funded by donors and include items that people may not have thought about needing, or may not have the resources to buy during cancer treatments.

The program aims to connect with those diagnosed with cancer shortly after diagnosis, and along with the CareBOX continues to help them find resources during treatment and recovery.

With all the tough decisions and preparation that come along with a cancer diagnosis, CareBOX Program and its many volunteers work hard to make the disease just that little bit easier to deal with.

They use TradeGecko to create care box lists for the their volunteers and use it to save time and organize their processes.

Magpies and Peacocks

Based in Houston, Magpies and Peacocks are all about taking what’s used and making it beautiful again. Starting from collection events, they take used clothing, accessories, scarves random bits of cloth and even more, and upcycle them. These used bits are then turned into fabulous, new pieces of clothing to be sold in their store.

Magpies and peacocks are all about bringing the concept of sustainability to life and proceeds go to various organizations with the Houston community that they support.

These two programs are an example of how TradeGecko is contributing to sustainability and responsibility: helping out organisations who are helping others.

Ideas and opportunities

And that’s why we’re making a commitment to give support where we can - to those who have the ideas, to those who are creating the opportunities, and all the happy, socially-conscious customers in between.

Watch our space for more information about getting involved with TradeGecko as an eCommerce store looking to do a little social good.

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See Also: 

Coco Moon: where eCommerce meets a mother's love

How to create a line sheet from your Shopify store

Free inventory management tools to grow your business effortlessly

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