Combining eCommerce with Social Entrepreneurship

two women social entrepreneurs doing work

Call the word “entrepreneurship” to mind, and the associations are probably tied to notions of profit and marketplace trends. Yet, in recent years, large companies have become increasingly aware of the need to contribute to social change. However, these campaigns frequently have unclear motives observed in the tendency to ‘greenwash’ their products and services. As a result, legitimate social entrepreneurship missions cannot attain the spotlight they rightfully deserve. Hence, we will discuss the ramifications of combining eCommerce with social entrepreneurship to improve your chances of reaching people who recognize the importance of supporting a genuine social cause.

What is social entrepreneurship exactly?

Unlike a typical entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur's primary goal is to bring about social change through innovation. So, the primary purpose lies in the motivation to instigate social and economic progress in underprivileged communities. A social entrepreneurship organization can be a for-profit business, but its operations are most frequently nonprofit. Yet, the company's legal standing does not taint its reason for existence, which is to provide a platform for people in need.

A man and child social entrepreneurs packing supplies for charity.

Philanthropy can benefit greatly from greater online exposure. 

In this sense, social enterprises benefit greatly from digital marketing and eCommerce. In the past, social entrepreneurs could rarely reach wider audiences without endorsements from for-profit corporations and foundations. Yet, nowadays, the internet provides them with the chance to further their noble causes to a greater number of people. As an astonishing 80% of Americans purchase goods online, social entrepreneurship has flourished immensely in the last couple of years.

Types of social enterprises

So, as we mentioned, social enterprises can be nonprofit and for-profit. However, there are also other types of organizations that have a strictly for-benefit basis. The most well-known term is probably nonprofit organization, and these social enterprises have a clear philanthropic purpose. That is why they are exempt from paying taxes.

Then you have a co-operative, which is an enterprise organized by its members to work for their own benefit. Examples of co-operatives are community grocery stores and credit unions. On the other hand, a social firm is a company that employs people in the community who need a job.

A social purpose business exists for the purpose of addressing a specific social mission. In comparison, socially responsible businesses support social impact campaigns as part of their daily business operations.

How can you combine eCommerce with social entrepreneurship?

Admittedly, marketing and sales are still unavoidable components of social entrepreneurship. But the many social enterprises out there are finding a way to use these strategies for the greater good. So, how can you effectively combine eCommerce with social entrepreneurship? Let's take a look.

Be an expert on the issue

A philanthropic cause cannot, or better yet, should not be faked. So, in order to do your marketing transparently, you need to be in touch with the finesse of the issue you wish to solve. People you are reaching will judge any insincerity or insecurity on your part as a worse transgression than just direct marketing of your products or services. The cause and end goal need to be clear, honest, and noble.

So, make sure you get to the bottom of the social problem by investigating its economic, social, and psychological causes. When thorough research gets combined with first-hand experience in the field, case studies, and conversations with the locals, you will have a more precise and complete picture you will be able to present to the world.

Two persons packing clothes and cans into boxes.

Do your research before you combine eCommerce with the goals of your social enterprise.

Choose the best pathways for your cause

Your choice of eCommerce distributors is also an important factor because it will determine how you will be able to present and sell your product. If you go for a suboptimal distributor, all of your efforts may not be successful. Remember, the key is to work towards reaching the target audience and provoking interest in your social campaign.

So, if your aim is to advertise handmade goods online, you should go for a distributor that is verified but also well-known. Luckily, online stores such as Etsy, Wiz, Shopify, Storenvy, and others gladly collaborate with social enterprises. They will provide you with the necessary spotlight, but the customers they attract and the exact way they do so varies. Be sure to choose the platform that is compatible with your ethics as well as target demographics. In this sense, going for a large-scale shopping giant such as Amazon might harm your public image.

Women sewing handmade goods for their social campaign.

Choose the middlemen carefully to improve your social entrepreneurship campaign.

If you already have a distributor you can trust, there are other effective digital marketing strategies you can employ. For example, many social enterprises incorporate a callback form that allows them to capitalize on their website's visits. This approach is supported by marketing experts behind, as they argue that designing a clear call to action on your website should help bring about higher revenue.

Work out how you split the profits

To make the best out of uniting with an eCommerce middleman, you can split the sales profits to support several different causes at the same time. Likewise, this is also convenient when you have to split the earnings to cover the financing of the charities, the production costs, employee salaries, and the like.

If you decide to delegate splitting the profits to the distributor, make sure it is legal. Keep track of the receipts that the middleman website reports back to you so that you can show the records to the authorities. Even the smallest inconsistency in reporting financial matters could ruin your attempt at combining eCommerce with social entrepreneurship.




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