5 July 2013

Converting Facebook users into ethical shoppers

UK retailing giants should be doing more to harness the power of online social networking sites to spread the message of sustainable consumerism, according to a paper due to be published this month in the peer-reviewed research journal World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development.

Peter Jones of The Business School at the University of Gloucestershire, and colleagues there and at the University of Glamorgan, have explored the extent to which the top ten retailers in the UK – Tesco, J. Sainsbury, Asda, Wm. Morrison, Co-operative Group, Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, DSG International, John Lewis and Home Retail Group, utilise sites, such as Facebook for marketing and customer engagement. They have found that all leading retailers have a presence on this site but their activities are primarily aimed at marketing and sales promotion, as one might expect. Jones and colleagues point out that any ethical commentary or materials regarding issues such as climate change and sustainability or attempts to develop engagement with consumers on such issues is “very limited”.

The researchers point out that these leading retailers are missing an important opportunity. Given that public concerns about climate change, the availability and security of resources and waste disposal are on the increase, there is an opportunity for such organisations to utilise social networking sites to encourage more sustainable, ethical shopping behaviour. This, of course, runs counter to the business mantra of “sell, sell, sell”. However, those companies that adopt such practices early will likely reap the benefits in the long-term as they become increasingly perceived as having high ethical standards and as such will sustain customer loyalty as such issues become more pressing.

Large retailers have a pivotal role to play in promoting sustainability and in encouraging more sustainable patterns of consumption as we face what some observers have described as ‘an emerging ecological crisis,’ the team concludes.

“Sustainability: UK retailers and social media” in World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 2013, 9, 460-474

Converting Facebook users into ethical shoppers is a post from: David Bradley's Science Spot

via Science Spot http://sciencespot.co.uk/converting-facebook-users-into-ethical-shoppers.html

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