10 Ethical Online Shops and What to Learn from Each One

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The value of all ethical spending in the UK (alone) grew as much as £38 billion in 2015!

That's a lot of cash.

In light of this, it's hardly surprising more and more ethical online shops have improved their digital marketing campaigns.

So, here are our top ten favorite ethical online shops. Alongside each these brands, we've taken away a few things we can learn from them. Let's dive in!

1. Oxfam

When it comes to marketing themselves, there's a heck of a lot Oxfam are doing right. There are plenty of ethical online shops that could learn a thing or two from Oxfam. For example-

  • Partnerships: Back in 2008, Oxfam launched their ‘Shwopping scheme' in conjunction with Marks and Spencers. For those of you who haven't heard of this initiative, this program enabled shoppers to recycle their unwanted clothes quickly and efficiently. These items are either sold in Oxfam's independent charity shops, or overseas, or recycled- either way; these clothes are put to good use. Since the start of this program, Oxfam's received over 28 million garments, raising an additional £19 million for their cause.
  • Collaboration with Nectar: After the success of their ‘Shwopping scheme,' Oxfam also partnered with Nectar, the UK’s biggest loyalty card scheme. This enabled donors to give away gift-aided items and enjoy nectar points once their garments have sold. Unsurprisingly, this encouraged an increase in donations of higher quality clothing for their charity stores.
  • You can register gift lists with Oxfam: It doesn't matter what you're celebrating- whether it's a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, you can register for gifts with Oxfam's online shop. This is fantastic for boosting sales. So, if you don't offer this feature already on your e-commerce store, you definitely should!

What Can We Learn From Oxfam?

If you haven't already, in addition to creating a digital space for registering gifts, consider launching a partnership with another brand.

Think about where your customers are shopping, or what brands your audience could benefit from. Then plan a scheme where everyone benefits- you, your customers, and most importantly, your audience. This is particularly effective for e-commerce store owners wanting to accrue more local customers- if that sounds like you, reach out to independent brands nearby and get the ball rolling!

Ethical online shops

2. Ethical Shop

There are tons of things we can learn from the Ethical Shop:

  • They list the best things about their brand: on their home page they clearly communicate the services and features that set their digital shopping experience apart from the rest. For example, their ‘No quibbles return policy,' ‘Free UK delivery over £75', and their ‘Fast, friendly service'- making these benefits known to your customers is terrific for building trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • It's super easy to search through their merchandise: especially, for shoppers looking for a bit of inspiration. Buyers can shop not only via traditional product headers like ‘clothing' and ‘food' but also by ‘value' or 'cause.' For example, vegan-friendly, fair trade, eco-friendly, etc. This is a fantastic method for encouraging customers to peruse through products they wouldn't usually search for.
  • They feature a supplier of the week– this is great for building a rapport with your vendors, in addition to communicating with your audience you have a good relationship with your suppliers. Customers love to see this! When business owners have a professional connection with their vendors, there's typically a higher level of accountability and a more significant concern for quality control. Therefore, for consumers buying something from your store is less of a risk.

Ethical online shops

3. Ethical Giftbox

Similarly, to ‘Ethical Shop,' Ethical Giftbox provides users with super easy navigation. Their buyers are likely to be searching for potential presents for someone. Therefore, Ethical Giftbox cleverly divided their products into categories like- ‘for her,' ‘for him,' ‘for kids'- this works wonders for enabling shoppers to find what they want, and fast.

They also give buyers the flexibility to build their own boxes or to choose from a pre-made selection- customers love choice!

They also do all the following:

  • Display a free shipping banner: They've published a very thin banner plastered on the top of their homepage. This informs shoppers from the get-go they're entitled to free shipping if they live in the UK and purchase more than £35 worth of goods.
  • They have a ‘new arrivals' section: This tool's fabulous for repeat customers looking for something a little different. By informing buyers, you're continually replenishing stock encourages them to revisit your store to see what else you'll sell in the future.
  • They advertise fabulous promotional offers: Ethical Giftbox pledges to give a 10% discount for first-time customers who sign up to their newsletter. This is a super simple way of building your e-mail list and for getting your foot in the door with first-time customers. See this as an opportunity to impress prospects with the quality of your products and packaging and then continue to build a relationship with them via your email marketing campaigns.
  • They've published an active blog: Ethical Giftbox takes content marketing seriously, and that's something all e-commerce store owners need to take on board. Their blog is informative and well-written- this makes it a useful tool for building trust with their customers, driving traffic, and for establishing themselves as an authority in their industry- what's not to love about that?!

Ethical online shops

4. Eko Bag

Eko Bag does exactly what it says on the tin; they sell eco-friendly rubbish bags! Their branding is clear and to the point, to further communicate their eco-friendly vibe they've gone for a green color scheme. However, the splash of orange in the logo is a bit unusual, making them memorable. It's a great example of branding done well.

Here are a few other things we love about Eko Bag:

  • The first thing you see on their home page is their USP- This confirms to your customers you offer what they need, from the get-go. In the case of Eko Bag, they say their products are ‘100% biodegradable and compostable.'
  • They only sell six products- Now this is both a blessing and a curse. Some customers may be disappointed by the lack of variety. However, a smaller product range also suggests Eko Bag knows what they specialize in (biodegradable trash bags), and they do it well. This inspires confidence in buyers and communicates a sense of authenticity people warm to.

Ethical online shops

5. Reve Ev Verte

Out of all the digital storefronts reviewed here, this is by far the chicest. Their web design gives the impression they only deal in high-quality produce.

The color scheme's sharp, and the product images are professional-looking, both of these go a long way in establishing a pleasing aesthetic.

Here are a few other things we love about Reve Ev Verte:

  • They use a compelling tagline– For Reve Ev Verte, a high-quality motto is essential. The company name doesn't give much away. However, the slogan says it all with the phrase; ‘A new era of style' this immediately tells consumers they're in the right place for high-quality fashion.
  • They have fabulous promotional offers: Just like Ethical Giftbox, Reve Ev Verte offers 10% off to new customers signing up to their newsletter. This promotion is plastered on a small banner at the top of the homepage so all buyers can make the most of this deal from the get-go.
  • They showcase different product lines: Their homepage highlights several products lines, making it easy for buyers to navigate their way around their site. For example, ‘organic makeup', ‘eco activewear', ‘recycled suits', etc. It's also great for encouraging window shoppers to peruse your products.
  • Their ‘ethos' page is amazing: If you're looking for inspiration for your ‘about us‘ page, then check out Reve Ev Vert's ‘ethos page,' the copy is nothing short of compelling and tells visitors everything they need to know about the brand.

Ethical online shops

6. Forest Hog

Here are a few things Forest Hog are doing well on their e-commerce site:

  • Free shipping banner: Right at the top of their store they have a free shipping banner. This informs customers that when they spend over £40, they're entitled to free shipping.
  • Clear contact information: Just under their banner, they've published their contact info. More specifically, their telephone number, and email address- making it easy for prospects to reach out with any of their questions or concerns.
  • Their beautiful header: The design not only catches the eye of the visitor, but it also explains the benefits of using their cleaning products- win-win!
  • They use plenty of social proof: they've published testimonials, logos of organizations they're associated with, and a bestsellers section. All these features are fantastic for building credibility and trust with prospects.
  • They've published a few informative blog posts: these articles are amazing for providing more information on the benefits of using eco-friendly cleaning products. People love to learn! So, take a leaf out of Forest Hog and start posting insightful content.

Ethical online shops

7. Little Leaf Organic

Here's what we love about Little Leaf Organic's website:

  • They use a fabulous header picture and tagline: they couldn't make it clearer the kinds of products they sell- which is terrific for building a strong brand.
  • Social proof: Just like Forest Hog, Little Leaf Organic also published plenty of social evidence. This includes the logos of organizations they're affiliated with, in addition to glowing customer testimonials.
  • They list what makes their shopping experience great: As you scroll through their homepage, you'll see their offer of ‘£1 delivery' and ‘easy returns.' Highlighting this info goes a long way in securing the trust of customers.
  • They have a strong blog: although their blog hasn't been updated in recent months (tut tut!), the content they've published is pretty good. It's interesting and informative, so it serves its purpose.
  • They make it easy for customers to subscribe to their newsletter: In the bottom left-hand corner of their site, there's a small pop up that encourages customers to subscribe to their newsletter. This is way less intrusive than a massive pop up box appearing in the center of the screen. Yet it still gives visitors the opportunity to sign up to your e-mail list- win-win!

Ethical online shops

8. Christy Dawn

Here's what stood out for us about Christy Dwan's e-commerce store:

  • They have an active call to action button in the header: You can't miss the ‘shop sustainability' button. It provides users with clear instruction on how to kick off their shopping experience- it epitomizes the phrase ‘simple yet effective.'
  • Compelling tagline: We love their slogan, it really highlights the values Christy Dawn holds dear; ‘For a cleaner, fairer, more beautiful world.' This is something customers can resonate and relate to- and as we all know, engaging with customers on an emotional level is crucial for building rapport.
  • Good use of video: There's a professional looking video on the homepage explaining the brand's mission. The key take away here is- if you can publish a video, do. This medium is fantastic for capturing the imagination of your audience and for engaging with them.
  • They have a ‘Shop the latest section': We love this section, it makes it clear new styles are released each week. This encourages customers to come back and explore all the new products you've added to your line. Your loyal followers will love keeping up to date with your latest releases!

9. Ethletic

Here our are thoughts on Ethletic:

  • They use a simple yet effective call to action; The button just says; ‘get them here' Out of all the ethical online shops reviewed here, this is my favorite call to action. The button complements the product photo beautifully, it's clear, it catches the eye, and it'll undoubtedly encourage the click.
  • They have a visual displaying the different styles of shoes they offer: As you scroll down the homepage, you'll see a fabulous image showing the various shoes they sell. This is amazing for highlighting what you're selling without bombarding the visitor with too much info! In addition to this, they also use photos to enhance their blog posts, making the articles far more visually pleasing.
  • They have a clear mission statement: Ethletic makes their brand mission very clear on their homepage. Straight away customers see they value Fairtrade producers and Peta-approved vegan products. People respect it when brands take a stance and honor their word, so follow Ethletic's lead and make your business values and goals well known.

Ethical online shops

10. Della

Last but by no means least, we'll quickly review Della:

  • Again, they make their mission statement super clear: Other than their menu and header image, their main piece of content on their homepage is their mission statement- that's powerful stuff. This forces customers to sit up and take notice of what you believe in. For Della, it's selling fashionable clothes crafted by a community located in Ghana, West Africa.
  • It's easy to navigate Della's site: Their header menu has a ‘shop' section. When you hover over that, a list of sub-categories appears to help customers find what they want- and fast.
  • Clean design: Their web design is simple yet professional looking, which further aids their site navigation and enhances the overall user experience.
  • They have a lookbook: Customers love seeing products in action, so a lookbook, if you're selling clothes, is amazing. Plus, it's another way to subtly include interactive content onto your e-commerce store- which is proven to increase engagement rates.

Have You Learned Something From These Ethical Online Shops?

We hope you've learned a thing or two from these fabulous ethical online shops! Whether it's adding a gift registry service to your e-commerce store, or publishing social proof to your home page- hopefully, you'll take something away from these successful brands.

Have you ever purchased from these digital shops? Or, was there anything else about these businesses that stood out for you? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. We always love hearing from our readers. Speak soon!

Featured image credits: Shutterstock.

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. She has over three years of experience crafting high-quality content. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.

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