How social responsibility can drive customer loyalty

By Jenna Paton - dotdigital | 16 Feb 2021

Modern consumers are driven by more than just products when it comes to determining their loyalty. It’s the brand itself that inspires customers to return. What a brand stands for and the value it adds to the customer experience is beginning to outweigh the products on offer.

Entrepreneurship is on the rise. It’s easier than ever for you to set up your own eCommerce business. But that also means that competition is rife. To stand out – to truly stand out – brands need to demonstrate the ways in which they’re different from the competition.

Social responsibility and your brand’s commitment to helping the world around it is growing in importance to the average consumer. They want to know that you stand for more than just selling.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a very formal way of saying your brand operates in an ethical, sustainable way and makes conscious efforts to deal with the environment and social impact of its business.

Social responsibility is incredibly important. It’s more than just good practice to demonstrate your company’s commitment to social and environmental issues. CSR is a vital element in consumers’ decision-making processes. 91% of consumers expect brands to demonstrate responsibility on important issues and 84% seek out responsible products when shopping.

As consumers’ awareness continues to grow, so should the effort brands put into acting in a socially responsible manner.

What are the benefits of being a socially responsible brand?

When customers know what a brand stands for, they’re going to be more interested in what that brand has to offer – whether that’s products or content. But improving customer loyalty and retention isn’t the only benefit for brands demonstrating their CSR.

1. Customer engagement

You should be bragging about your sustainable, ethical business practices. Post them on social media channels, tell your story across your blog and email marketing. When you’re visibly expressing opinions and helping with issues that are important to your customer base, you’ll find engagement rates soaring.

The more you talk about your activities across your marketing channels, the more likely customers are to share your story. As a result, they’ll be acting as brand advocates, helping to get wider recognition for your brand.

2. Staff engagement

Your staff are just as important as your customers. After all, they’re the living, breathing embodiment of your brand. They represent you every time they talk to friends, family, and peers about work. When they’re proud of the brand they work for, they’ll become brand advocates just like your customers.

What’s more, the more they buy into the brand they work for, the longer they will continue to work for your brand. Growing your brand is more than just increasing the number of customers you reach. By improving staff retention, you are also helping to grow your business from the inside.

3. Brand awareness

As businesses start to embrace the importance of CSR, the news will spread about your good work. Brands who have already embraced ethical practices are well-known and growing in popularity. By teaming up with non-profit organisations in support of a cause, you can work with partners and affiliates to increase your brand awareness.

Potential customers can discover your brand through your connection with the causes they care about. This will help put you at the top of their thoughts next time they’re shopping.

4. Public perception

By spreading awareness of your social responsibility, your charity donations, staff volunteering activities, and more, you're showing your brand’s commitment to helping others. This kind of positive public perception is invaluable.

5. Competitive advantage

Brands are still discovering the many benefits of social responsibility. The sooner you embrace it, and make it a core pillar of your brand story, the more business you’re going to win over your competitors. When shoppers are choosing between brands with similar products for similar prices, it’s the brand itself that’s going to be the deciding factor.

Brands using social responsibility to drive customer loyalty

Companies are increasingly finding their voice to speak out about social injustice and environmental issues. The ones that have invested time, money, and marketing in their CSR are reaping the benefits. Here are just a few examples of brands using their social activism to drive customer loyalty.


TOMS is an internationally known shoe brand that sells itself on its charity work. The brand makes its mission clear in its welcome email series.


Patagonia is never one to shy away from its activism. The brand frequently campaigns for causes and uses its popularity to mobilize its audiences to support its causes.


Coca-Cola has been around a long time. For a huge multi-national corporation, committing to sustainable and ethical causes can be a struggle, but Coca-Cola can clearly see the benefits behind its efforts.

eCommerce as a force for good

It’s the responsibility of modern brands to help on social and ethical issues affecting the world. Brands have the influence to be able to make a real difference if they concentrate their efforts.

To discover how your brand can be a force for good, check out our ebook on ethical marketing in eCommerce.

For more insights and advice, check out the dotdigital blog.