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Sustainability communication in fashion online stores and its impact on customer behavior

  • The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of sustainability communication in the fashion industry on the customers’ behavior with a focus on consumers’ perception regarding websites with sustainability-specific content. Based on a profound literature review, a projective method in form of two dummy websites is developed. Both websites illustrate sustainability communication with comprehensive and transparent information demonstrating a credible, trustful and serious commitment. Additionally, both sites have the same structure and an appealing, visualized website design as well as a customer oriented communication. While each website consists of almost the same aspects such as Vision & Mission, Value chain, Corporate Commitment, Working Conditions, Environment, Social Commitment and documents such as a Sustainability Report and Code of Conduct, they differ enormously in the sustainability-specific content. For instance, website 1 represents a sustainable and responsible company communicating sustainable issues about eco-friendly materials, fair working conditions, ecological production and their social commitment. It further includes eco-friendly wash and care advices as seen by reformation to remember consumers to take care of the environment, e.g. to wash cold or by using ecological detergents. In contrast, website 2 does not represent a sustainable and responsible fashion brand. It also does not communicate sustainable efforts or a sustainable engagement. Rather it is about offering trendy, low-priced fast- fashion products, produced under unfair working conditions with wages and working hours as usual terms in production countries with a focus on style and design. Regarding website 2, all raw materials have been produced conventionally in developing countries and are therefore not eco-friendly, resulting in a pollution of the environment due to long transport routes. Additionally, the website voices the wish to improve the chances for developing animal protection only minimally, showing that the company is not socially committed. Although website 2 focuses on transparency and a customer-oriented communication, it is not sustainable. Both websites are tested via an online survey. A total of 90 fashion students participated in the sample.

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Author of HS ReutlingenSträhle, Jochen; Girwert, Franziska
Erschienen in:IFFTI 2017 Amsterdam: Breaking the fashion rules
Publisher:Amsterdam Fashion Institute
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Conference proceeding
Publication year:2017
Tag:customer behavior; fashion online shopping; sustainability communication; transparency
Page Number:12
First Page:237
Last Page:248
PPN:Im Katalog der Hochschule Reutlingen ansehen
DDC classes:330 Wirtschaft
Open access?:Nein