Holiday Shopping: Give Back as You Gift

E-commerce is in a state of flux – and focus – this winter with the holidays just around the corner.

In an effort to streamline the online purchase process – while giving back – retailers like Amazon are experimenting with new functionality.

Sparo, a program that allows shoppers to donate to their charity of choice in the checkout process, is hoping its added-value service will connect with consumers and drive revenues for e-tailers.

FN caught up with Maryam Paez, CMO of Sparo, to find out how the brand adds a purpose to your purchases.

For shoppers, how does Sparo work when they’re ready to check out online?

Shoppers locate the Sparo button on our partnering merchant checkout pages. At checkout, customers can activate the donation by clicking on [the button] and selecting a charity among 80 non-profits across different categories that are enrolled in our program. The app calculates the dollar value that can be donated from every purchase based on an agreed percentage rate.

The shoppers never pay.  The donation is made on their behalf from the participating merchant.

Millennials, who have dominated much of the shopping conversation this year, are said to particularly value giving back to society – are you aiming to appeal to this section? And how?  Yes.  Our research has found that Millennials are the most interested in giving back.  More importantly, they want to know what happens with their donations and how it impacts the causes they care about.  We work with our non profits to quantify the donations and use social media channels to communicate back to this target group.

How have vendors reacted to the product?  [They’ve been] very positive. This is primarily because the integration is very simple and non-intrusive.  We don’t collect any personal information or interfere with the checkout process.

What have been the biggest challenges getting this product off the ground?  Getting the best customer experience for our application.  When people are checking out, they have one goal in mind:  to complete the transaction.  We have to convey the Sparo message in a very straightforward, simple and clear manner but also encourage people to complete the transactions and increase conversions on the merchant site.

Where can people see Sparo in action at checkout?  Currently we are embedded on 4 vendor site:  Citron Clothing (a California based retailer), The Washington Times Digital Subscriptions, Kay’s Naturals gluten free snacks and cereals and MommaLu (a company that provides care packages).  We will be launching soon with three more retailers:  VK Nagrani ( a men’s high end apparel), TransElated (a tee shirt company) and a large outdoor apparel retailer.

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