What Retailers Can Learn from Standing Rock’s Amazon Wish List

December 05, 2016

Technology has afforded us to serve socially active shoppers as an industry.

The good news came in yesterday for the Native American tribes and thousands of other protesters and veterans standing their ground for the protection of the land and water in North Dakota from the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The army did not approve the easement necessary to continue with plans for building the pipeline under Lake Oahe resulting in a historic victory for those camped out in desperate and cold conditions for months. 

We are not a political site, and while safe water and conscious and sustainable business practices from the food and agriculture industries are concerns of ours, that is not the topline of this article. What we would like to talk about is the opportunity technology has afforded us to serve socially active shoppers as an industry. The leader in online ordering, Amazon, sets a shining example here for other retailers. 

Recently we discovered that donations for food, among other items ranging from cold weather gear to ATVs, could be sent to Standing Rock protestors via an Amazon wish list. It’s a no-brainer. Go to their wish list, sign in, order something within your price range to send to the built-in address, done. The process is not only easy, but also, contributors can feel confident about the fact that their money went to a tangible need they chose themselves. 

It also doesn’t hurt that this year Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reported that nearly half of U.S. households have an Amazon Prime membership, which makes shipping free. 

We have seen a rise in interest when it comes to socially responsible connections with businesses, and these moves are not lost on modern consumers. In 2014, Nielsen released data that showed 55% say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—up from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011. And it should also be noted that the top concern of consumers was access to clean water. 

But in the case of the Amazon wish list for Standing Rock, the online retailer was not even the force driving the donations or even an investor. The technology itself, the convenience and ease of use allowed an outside organization to set up the list and do all of the work. 

The takeaway for other retailers here is to take advantage of modern technology and how it appeals to consumers. And your growing number of socially concerned shoppers will appreciate this even more when it offers them a way to contribute more directly than dropping change in a bucket by the register. 

Find out what your local community needs are and offer opportunities to your shoppers to easily send support via your website or app.