Enable through the label

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för marknadsföring och strategi

Abstract: Sustainability within fashion retailing is a subject attracting increasing attention and the clothing industry has a large environmental and social impact. Several online fashion retailers have adopted sustainability labels in their assortments in order to meet the new demands and impact the customer behavior. However, there is a lack of existing research on the topic. This thesis aims to reduce the gap between literature and practice among online fashion retailers when it comes to sustainability labeling, and it also investigates how retailers can prime the customer into a more sustainable consumption behavior. Through a quantitative study with an experimental design the effects of priming through a sustainability message on the front page and nudging through two types of sustainability labels were tested. The first label used the approach common among online retailers today with the mere text "Sustainability" and the second label included a scale in addition to the text "Sustainability" for more detailed information. The thesis builds on behavioral theories such as nudging and priming theory. The findings indicated that a sustainability message on the front page was too weak a prime to impact customer behavior and attitudes. The sustainability labels were on the other hand found to make customers choose sustainable products to a greater extent. No significant difference was found in the effects between the two different labels on customer behavior and attitudes. The study found evidence that customers choosing a more sustainable option had a significantly higher product attitude as well as higher repurchase and word-of-mouth intentions. Therefore, it is important for retailers to enable customers to choose a more sustainable product to increase sustainable consumption and incentivize an accelerated change within the industry.

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