Tony retailer Nordstrom will open its first full-line, New York City store with a twist: All earnings from the new store will be donated to nonprofit organizations.
Yes, you heard right. The retailer known for high-end shoppers and luxury goods has committed to what it’s calling a philanthropic-based store concept, to debut in fall 2011.
Nordstrom is on to something. It has tapped into a shift in the consumer psyche.
Shoppers increasingly want their purchases to reflect more than their own consumption, but some sort of charitable, social or environmental value.
The rise of green, or eco-friendly consciousness evidenced by Americans’ widespread adoption of recycling and purchase of sustainable products is a compelling sign that this is not a passing fad.
Last year, cause-related promotions spiked at retail, from charity-driven special events to shopper donations at checkout and shopping incentives tied to worthy causes.
Perhaps the worst crisis since the Great Depression helped heighten the public’s sensitivity to matters ranging from saving the planet to helping out those in need.
Whatever the reason, shoppers are in a more charitable state of mind.
And the proof is in the numbers.
According to retail consultancy, Kantar Retail, 83 percent of consumers surveyed said they want products and retailers that benefit causes, Lois Huff, senior vice president, said during the company’s conference in New York this week.
In turn, cause marketing is on an uptick.
Huff pointed to Shopkick, which designs retailers’ smart phone applications and created the CauseWorld iPhone app. It rewards shoppers when they check into a particular store on their cell phone with Karma Points that can be redeemed for advertiser-funded donations to charitable causes, such as the American Red Cross.
These days, it’s not enough to sell good products, carve a distinct niche, and boast a savvy merchandising and marketing strategy. Retailers need to marry commerce with social responsibility.