Consumers care about supporting causes and charities that closely align with their values, and they are continuing to look for new ways to do so. This includes doing business with companies and using payment methods that allow them to support these issues. One recent study revealed that almost 47 percent of consumers around the globe would place more trust in a company that embraced environmental or social causes they backed, while 53 percent said they would be more willing to recommend such businesses to others.
Cultivating these deeper ties requires companies to identify and support causes that make a difference in the regions in which they operate as well as those that closely align with customers’ priorities. The same survey found that 91 percent of consumers would like firms to choose causes that are important to the communities in which they do business, another 91 percent would like them to choose focuses consistent with ethical business practices and 89 percent said it was important for companies to target issues that mattered most to their consumers.
Many retailers are looking to payment solution providers that can help their consumers contribute to worthwhile causes and charities, especially as customers around the world face the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout it has created. The following Deep Dive examines how retailers are getting involved with socially responsible projects as well as how flexible payment options, such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, can help consumers support merchants that tackle the issues that matter to them.
COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Numerous merchants and flexible payment providers are working to offer relief to consumers hit hard by the pandemic. BNPL solution provider Afterpay is teaming with two charities to provide aid to those the pandemic has affected. Customers who use the payment method can donate to A Common Thread — a collaboration between the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Vogue Fashion Fund — or Baby2Baby, which collects items and supplies for babies and distributes them around the globe. Consumers using the BNPL solution when making purchases online can contribute $1 toward either initiative, and Afterpay noted it plans to give $200,000 directly to the charities as well.
A Common Thread was formed in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it recently announced that it is shifting its focus to those in the fashion community who have been affected by the pandemic. Baby2Baby has meanwhile donated more than 15 million baby essentials — including diapers, formula, soap, shampoo and baby food — to affected families.
Such collaborations come as BNPL solutions experience a surge in usage. Consumers continue to flock to online commerce for everyday purchases, and many are closely monitoring their budgets and turning to payment methods that can help them avoid high-interest rates, fees or revolving debt. Afterpay Co-founder and U.S. CEO Nick Molnar recently said consumers can use BNPL offerings at more than 15,000 brands and merchants, many of which contribute to a host of charitable causes themselves.
BNPL Offerings In The UK, Australia
Australian consumers are also looking to use BNPL payment plans to support charitable causes. BNPL solution provider Zip allowed users to contribute directly to one of two nonprofits that aided residents affected by the wildfires that devastated the country earlier this year. Customers could choose to support either the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund or the nonprofit WIRES’ Emergency for Wildlife Fund, which provides essential items needed to rehabilitate animals. Zip stated in a January Facebook post that customers could contribute via the websites and that all donations over $2 were tax deductible for Australian citizens. It also urged any affected customers to email the firm to receive approval for aid with their accounts.
Such key support from retailers and flexible payment providers is becoming crucial as the pandemic continues. One U.K. survey examining the health crisis’s impacts on charities found that 45 percent of philanthropic organizations working abroad would be forced to close by the end of the year, while 15 percent would have to cease operations within six months if they could not procure additional funding.
This environment is putting merchants — and the flexible payment partners with which they work — in a unique position to help. Ninety percent of consumers are willing to choose brands that support the causes they value, and this means retailers have the opportunity to align themselves with issues that resonate deeply with their customers. Those that can help customers contribute to the causes that matter most stand to earn their business and ultimately keep them loyal for the long haul.