What does it mean to purchase with a purpose? There is no fixed definition, but it is often taken to mean the purchase of products or services that are environmental or sustainable, or when the purchase has an empowering impact on less fortunate communities.
There is no fixed definition, but it is often taken to mean the purchase of products or services that are environmental or sustainable, or when the purchase has an empowering impact on less fortunate communities.
At Entresell, we define purchasing with a purpose as taking into consideration factors beyond the product or service itself, when making a purchasing decision. Take the purchase of a kombucha drink as an example. If you bought a kombucha drink based only on the fact that it has no sugar and is made of unpasteurized ingredients, it is not a purchase with a purpose. However, if the kombucha drink is made up of organic ingredients, and you therefore bought it because you also want to support sustainable food production, it is a purchase with a purpose.
Online marketplaces meant for purchasing with a purpose
The most convenient way would be to shop at purpose-driven marketplaces. The homework of searching for purposeful brands and products has already been done for, and all you have to do is just browse through such products aggregated for your convenience.
Online buyers are placing more importance on purchasing with a purpose, especially the Gen Z and Millennials. In 2020, Gen Z and Millennials spent $3 trillion shopping from businesses that reflected their values. 82 percent said they will spend more to support local businesses post-pandemic. This has no doubt fueled the rise of online marketplaces catering to such needs.
Examples of such online marketplaces include Etsy, which promotes the works of independent artists and crafters, and DoneGood, which promotes brands which empower communities and use eco-friendly practices.
Look out for details on the product pages of online marketplaces
Another way, although more tedious, would be to look on the product page for details which show that buying the product would be a purposeful purchase.
The most obvious place to look for such details would be the product description. For example, details like ‘organic’ or “comes with eco-friendly packaging” imply that you will be protecting the environment by purchasing the product.
There may also be additional features on a product page which will be useful to take note of. An example would be the Climate Friendly and Small Business badges on Amazon. In order to make it easier for buyers to discover sustainable products and products made by small businesses, Amazon is attaching these badges to products which fit these criteria.
When shopping online, we typically take a product-focused approach. We have in mind a product we need; we search for that product on an online marketplace, and then we compare the different products based on factors such as price and stated quality.
A more brand-focused online shopping approach on the other hand, adds an additional step. We still start with a product in mind we want to shop for. But before we compare products based on price and quality, we first narrow down those products to be compared to those made by sellers and brands whose values we want to support.
For example, if I want to buy a pair of running shoes, I first search for shoe or sportswear brands whose values I like, before comparing the running shoe offerings across these brands. For a product-focused online shopping approach, I will be searching for running shoes on an online marketplace like Amazon straightaway.
A less instantaneous approach seller-focused online shopping is, but one that is much more rewarding.