How Ethical Shopping Is Shaping Progressive E-Commerce
The modern shopping experience is very different from a few decades ago. Older generations followed the pattern of going to physical stores, checking out options, trying them on, and then making a buying decision. This ultimately led to the mega-malls and shopping arcades that were common until the rise of modern e-commerce. One of the reasons behind the early success of the e-commerce lifestyle was its convenience. People could order a pair of mens khakis from the comfort of their home, and have it delivered right to their doorstep. Return and refund policies that protect digital consumers only added to the boom.
However, we are now seeing a shift in online consumer behavior, particularly among younger shoppers. This blog explores ethical digital shopping and its impact on e-commerce.
Increased Awareness About Ecology and Sustainable Fashion
Gen Z is extremely particular about looking good. But at the same time, their awareness goes beyond the flashy styles to the environmental impact they have. Fashion products, like any other product, are the result of resources and manufacturing processes. At virtually every point along the supply chain, there is some measure of environmental collateral. The constantly evolving nature of fashion makes this worse. Not only are resources used to create clothes, but these clothes only stay in fashion for a few seasons at most. The result is an excessive waste of resources and the resulting impact on the environment. For this reason, part of modern ethical shopping (particularly with Gen Z) revolves around long-term fashion purchases that limit the harm to the environment.
The Rise of Digital Thrift Store Culture
Thrift store culture has been around for decades. There is something magical about walking into a thrift store with the idea of finding something good in a random assortment of things. For many older shoppers, however, it was anathema to be caught by someone they know at a local thrift store. The clothes may look good, but most people didn’t want it to be known that they came from a thrift store and were probably worn by someone else. Of course, modern Gen Z shoppers don’t have those hangups. For younger shoppers, pricey designer labels matter less than the form and function clothes offer. Instead of being concerned with brand-new clothes, they focus more on how they make them look and feel. This has resulted in the rise of a new form of e-retail: digital thrift stores.
Upcycling and Retro Brands
The way fashion trends are going, retro clothing is back with a bang. Retro clothing brands are popping up all over the internet. Many of these are offering fashion essentials that wouldn’t have been out of place in the 80s or 90s. Others specialize in upcycling. An example is the aesthetic touches you see on authentic denim outfits. This represents a taste of modern fashion, building on the rock-solid foundation of older retro styles. That is why it is so common to see retro-clothing like these khaki shirts everywhere, with a touch of modernity.
Support for Small, Locally Owned Businesses
The drive to support small, locally-owned businesses have been on the rise for many years. Gen Z is no stranger to this movement. In fact, many Gen Z shoppers specifically prefer to shop from small businesses to support the local economy. If you traveled before COVID-19, you may have made a point to buy a small handmade ornament from a cart-vendor instead of a big souvenir store in a mall. Why did you do it? Yes, there are certain bragging rights to “authentic” items, but there is a bigger reason. To support a small local seller who needs your business more than a chain store. The same concept has carried over into digital e-commerce. Thanks to this approach, many smaller retailers can find a healthy and sustainable customer base online, despite the presence of large brands and e-commerce platforms.
Greater Attention to How and Where Materials are Sourced
Part of modern ethical shopping is an increased focus on the materials and processes behind the finished product, such as a pair of mens boxers. Modern buyers will click on the ad and look at the product. But they often will also have many questions relating to how the product was made. For example, many buyers may want to know if the cotton or other fabric used in the boxers was sourced ethically. They may have questions regarding the fabrics being organic, and some may even ask retailers for information on how and where they sourced the fabric from.
Finally, modern buyers have an extremely low tolerance for brands that exploit workers. Social justice movements are gaining traction across the world. More people are aware of unfair practices, and they are not willing anymore to shrug it off. E-commerce needs to position itself to adapt to these changing trends.
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