Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and social consciousness, and brands are responding in kind. The question is: how can brands best communicate these initiatives online?
Integrating CSR into the e-commerce experience can be done in various ways. Product pages are the most common location for CSR content on retailers’ sites, according to Gartner L2’s Corporate Social Responsibility report. However, many brands haven’t yet fully integrated commerce into this content. While nearly three-quarters of brands in the study maintain at least one dedicated landing page for these initiatives, only 25% of those brands make them shoppable.
Patagonia leads the way among activewear brands by integrating social and environmental activism content throughout the site experience.
Visitors to Patagonia’s site first encounter the content directly on the homepage, with links in the primary navigation that supply further information including descriptions of the brand’s supply chain and a dedicated page for Patagonia’s Action Works, a 40-year-old program connecting consumers to grassroots activists and organizations.
Action Works connects interested consumers to events in their area, volunteer opportunities, and relevant petitions. Patagonia even encourages visitors to sign up for a newsletter pertaining to environmental action opportunities. Using geolocation data, the brand surfaces specific and local Action Works events directly onto category pages, which effectively creates a personalized browsing experience. Rather than siloing this information solely on a dedicated page, Patagonia leverages category pages to prompt users to keep sustainability top of mind, even incorporating the ability to filter products by attributes like “fair trade” or “recycled.”
Adidas has taken a similar approach. To celebrate the launch of its Ultra Boost 19 running shoe this past weekend, the brand prioritized local community engagement around social causes.
A homepage takeover on the brand site generated hype for the Adidas NYC Recode Running Festival, which consisted of three days of community events including educational nutrition seminars and group mindfulness opportunities. At the popup-style festival, customers could test out new shoes by running on treadmills, committing to contributing a certain amount to a local charity for every mile they ran.
Brands can learn from how Patagonia and Adidas make CSR come to life, both offline and online. When on-site initiatives are accompanied by genuine local community engagement, the report concludes, consumers end up forming real relationships with brands…and won’t write CSR off as a marketing gimmick.