Friday, May 31, 2013

Honor Social Responsibility

Will the deaths of more than one thousand garment workers in last month’s Bangladesh factory building collapse influence your store operations, even if you don’t sell clothing? Will your shoppers be thinking closely about the conditions under which all the products they buy are manufactured?
     Knowing the psychology behind such consumer reactions can guide you.
     According to Associated Press, about thirty international brands—including Swedish retailer H&M and French retailer Carrefour—along with U.S. retailers Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch have signed onto a legally binding contract to pay for building improvements in Bangladesh garment factories. However, the 9,000-member National Retail Federation strongly opposes the contract, saying the terms do not adequately insulate signees from unlimited liability. But a coalition of U.S. senators has written to major retailers urging them to endorse a global pact.
     All this indicates that the issue of working conditions will stay in the news for a while. And all this happens as the recently-released “2013 Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR Study” concluded consumers across the world want businesses to show social responsibility. Almost 90% of the survey respondents claimed they consider a business’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop and what to buy.
     Do almost 90% actually do that consideration in practice?
     Probably not. Your shoppers find it emotionally challenging to consider the whole truth. One realm in which this happens is the shopper’s sense of social consciousness.
     Your customer loves the design of a shirt on your store shelf, but despises the labor practices of manufacturers of some of the products your store carries. So they don’t look at the label before putting the shirt into their shopping cart.
     Your customer instantly realizes the mahogany table now on your showroom floor would look perfect in their dining room, but they could never look themselves in the eye if they thought the mahogany came from an endangered rain forest. So they don’t give it a thought.
     Researchers at Washington State University and University of Texas-Austin called this phenomenon “willful ignorance.” They found that willful ignorance operates subconsciously and it occurs because handling the full truth would be overly painful for the person. Shoppers who care the most about an issue are the ones most likely to hide from the reality.
     When it comes to social responsibility, I recommend you do what’s right based on honor, not from fear of consumer boycotts.

Click below for more: 
Profit by Showing Social Responsibility 
Acknowledge Customers’ Willful Ignorance

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