More and more people are starting to understand that they really can drive change using the simple power of their wallet (or purse). Today, online players like The Ethical Superstore in the UK are making it easier for people to buy a range of Fair trade, Organic, and Eco-friendly products through a provider that they trust.

The Ethical Superstore is still very young…launched in Nov. 2006, they’ve recently merged with Natural Collection (a competing online ethical shop) and offer a big portfolio of products across a range of categories (ala Amazon.com).  You can find energy efficient gadgets & electronics, beauty, sports & outdoor, etc. etc.  They also have a great gift giving guide.

The site is well designed, and you really feel like you are on a major eRetailing site vs a small niche player.  You can shop by brand, ethical concern, price, etc.  The company’s brand selling line is compelling as well:  “Buy What You Believe”.

I’m predicting that there will be substantial growth in the ethical space over the next 5 – 10 years.  Of course, there will always be a fringe element of “deep greens” who object to the online sales model that involves energy intensive shipping around the world.

Realistically, however, the deep green team needs to realize that eCommerce is not going away.  In fact, quite the opposite is occurring…eCommerce is booming, while traditional retail channels stagnate.  At least responsible online retailers like The Ethical Superstore try to minimize the impact of what they deliver in every way, shape & form, while they provide new opportunities for people to discover products that line up with their values.

Keeping that Ethical, Purposeful Edge

Clearly, The Ethical Superstore will need to innovate and dig deeper to differentiate themselves against the big online players who are (no doubt) watching this space.  They’ll need to focus on innovation as a core component of their strategy in order to stay 1 step ahead.  I suspect they realize this & they will continue to find new ways in which they can delight their community with exciting new 21st century services that the big online retail players cannot (or will not) provide.  They will also need to keep their edge when it comes to discovering ethical brands.  Currently, they sell from the likes of Cafedirect, Ecover, Traidcraft, People Tree, Green & Blacks, Divine, EcoZone, Solio and others.

I wish them loads of luck as they build this ethical shopping category online.  If you want to find out the latest news from The Ethical Superstore, then follow their blog. They also have a facebook group where you can learn about new products, discounts and promotions

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