Sustainability Issues Play Large Role in Retail Reputation

A retailer’s reputation can be lifted or tarnished in many ways, from customer service performance to employee workplace conditions. In today’s market, though, environmental factors are moving up in importance, according to a new survey that shows these concerns playing a larger role than ever in 2008.

The Covalence EthicalQuote ranking provides a look at the positive and negative reputation growth of 27 multinational corporations. The ethical reputations of companies are tracked by sourcing information from companies, media and society, as well as by quantifying and coding positive and negative news.

EthicalQuote rankings were tallied using a positive (+1) & negative (-1) scoring system.

EthicalQuote rankings were tallied using a positive (+1) & negative (-1) scoring system.

“Environmental Impact” and “Waste Management” were listed as the top criteria for positive reputation growth among the companies. Under the sub-category of “Climate Change,” “Packaging, Waste Management and Recycling” were the leading issues in contributing to retailer reputation, with issues like “Energy Efficiency,” “Plastic Bags,” and “Carbon Emissions” also ranking as important criteria.

The ranking finds larger companies, which had been criticized in the past for their environmental policies, making the greatest improvements with regards to positive environmental reputation. Wal-Mart was ranked last in Covalence’s EthicalQuote just one year ago, only to rise to the third position in 2008. This news comes on the heels of Wal-Mart reporting increased earnings as well as an increase in sustainable packaging initiatives.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) models are growing trends among companies. CSRwire, a leading online source for corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, defines CSR as “the integration of business operations and values, whereby the interests of all stakeholders including investors, customers, employees, the community and the environment are reflected in the company’s policies and actions.”

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  1. With statistics like these, it’s imperative that you know what your Customers and Clients want:

    Consumer Demand for Ratings and Reviews

    * 74% agree – including 14% who strongly agree – that they choose companies and brands based on what others say online about their customer service experiences, the survey shows. (Society for New Communications Research, May 2008)
    * 77% of online shoppers use reviews and ratings when purchasing. (Jupiter Research, August 2006)
    * 58.7% of shoppers said they used product reviews to make decisions. Reviews rated higher than clearance sale pages (56.4%) and featured sale pages (51.3%). (, November 2007)
    * Compared to a base group that didn’t read or contribute product reviews at all, people who read a review were 30% more likely to purchase a product and visitors who wrote a review were 80% more likely to convert, based on analysis across several Coremetrics clients. (Coremetrics, reported in BtoB, March 2007)
    * In an online survey of 4,000 consumers, 70% said they had done internet research on “everyday grocery products,” and 63% said they had done so for health and beauty products. (Prospectiv, 2007)
    * Among the 46% of respondents who had posted or planned to post reviews about their online shopping experience, 88% said those reviews either were, or would be positive. (Nielson, 2007)
    * Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet. (Deloitte & Touche)
    * Seven in 10 (69%) consumers who read reviews share them with friends, family or colleagues, thus amplifying their impact. (Deloitte & Touche)
    * More than eight in 10 (82%) of those who read reviews said that their purchasing decisions have been directly influenced by those reviews. (Deloitte & Touche)
    * 55% of surveyed Internet users consulted other people’s opinions online, making reviews the #1 resource for product research. (Avenue A/Razorfish “Digital Consumer Behavior Study,” October 2007)
    * In a study of 2,000 shoppers, 92% deemed customer reviews as “extremely” or “very” helpful. (eTailing Group)
    * 59% of their users considered customer reviews to be more valuable than expert reviews. (Bizrate)
    * 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. (Major consumer electronics retailer/iPerceptions study)
    * 81% consider the availability of customer reviews to be “very important” (33%)”somewhat important” (48%). (Major consumer electronics retailer/iPerceptions study)
    * 86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friend’s recommendation over a review by a critic, while 83.8% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. (MarketingSherpa)
    * When asked to note their most trusted information source, 60% of Canadian online buyers said consumer reviews compared to 31% who said newspapers or magazines. (J.C. Williams Group)
    * 84% of consumers earning more than $150,000 annually visit sites where customers review and rate products and services including restaurants. (The Luxury Institute)
    * 71% of UK online shoppers seek out ratings and reviews. (NetExtract, 2007)
    * 39% of those who bought from sites with reviews cite the reviews as the primary factor influencing the purchase decision. (Foresee Results Study, 2006)
    * 70% of online consumers said they use the Internet to research everyday grocery products. (Prospectiv, 2008)
    * 67% of UK consumers research products via the Internet before shopping in a store. (Accenture, 2008) &

    The AmericanReputation Team – 2008-2009

  2. Pingback: Green Purchasing Up, Despite Economy « My News Clips

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