in deciding the success and failure of the retail stores. Along with the price and quality, shoppers these days are sensitive to the pursuit of ethics by the retail stores. Ethics are now one of the major influencers that trigger the fluctuation in the sale of retail items. Would you continue shopping from the retail stores that treat you with disrespect? Definitely not! That’s the most trivial form of ethical issues that affect the sale of retail items. that’s the point from where the breach of ethics begins. There are innumerable ethical issues that affect the reputation and financial standing of retail stores. From the basic to the advance level, some of the issues have been explained below.
Employees’ Attitude towards the Customers
It is rightly said that a weapon cannot do what words can do. The retail stores have often devised a code of conduct for their employees because a disrespectful behavior can cost good-deal customers to the store. Many retail stores neglect this aspect and as a result, they lose customers for a reason that they are unaware of. Employees’ core duty is to facilitate customers and provide them with convenience, but many of them are reluctant to go an extra mile in serving the customers. In addition to that, some employees even adopt harsh behavior towards customers. The customers do not normally act vocal on it, but they simply avoid those retail stores which inordinately impacts the sales of those stores. Therefore, it is important for the stores to maintain a positive and pleasant atmosphere. The frontline employees interact with thousands of customers daily; they need to be taught ethics so that the stores could witness progressive sales of the retail items.
Misrepresentation and Inferior Quality Offerings
Another basic ethical issue is misrepresenting promotions and offering products of inferior quality. We are well aware of the word Sale, putting retail items on sale is one of the trends that is blindly followed by the retail stores worldwide. The word Sale shines as a diamond in the eyes of the customers and they irresistibly approach the stores. Taking advantage of this rush, many stores decorate the shelves with faulty, defected or products of inferior quality. The victimized customers realize it after they reach home. Adding more to the advantages that the retail stores gain by promotional offers, many retail stores misrepresent the prices, which is totally against the retail ethics.
Product ABC was on the display for $4,000, the store put that product on 30% off after a month. Apparently, it seems to be benefitting the customers, but what actually happens is a completely different story.
The price tag is changed to $5,000 before putting it on sale.Therefore the customer only gets $500 off in the name of 30% discount on the product that is actually for $4,000.
These types of misrepresentation of the retail items are widely witnessed and reported by the customers. This is a clear breach of the code of ethics and therefore, greatly contributes to declining sales of the retail stores.
It’s the era of e-commerce, long gone are the days when you had to visit physical stores for shopping, all is on the screens now. The convenience of retail items being delivered to home cannot be understated but it has given birth to many problems that exasperate the consumers.
• False commitments
• Misrepresentation of product
• Unfair pricing
• Inconvenient purchase policies
• Poor after sales services
The e-commerce market is so vast that it provides a platform to all retail stores but to maintain exceptional services and sustain customers’ loyalty is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Customers have been frequently seen complaining about the breach of ethics by the e-retailers. However, many online retail stores have been delivering sincere services to its customers.
Following are a few of the issues that they face;
• Product not delivered within the committed delivery time
• Wrong product delivered
• Different product delivered from what was shown on the website
• Different size delivered from what was ordered
• Different color delivered from what was ordered
• Poor execution of exchange policies
These are few of the basic retail ethics that consumers face.
These issues are making it complicated for new entrants to make their place because consumers have now started to rely on only the giants of e-commerce market such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and etc.
The pricing of the retail items must be in accordance with the prevalent pricing in the market, but some of the retail stores refuse to follow this. It has been generally seen that the customers are exposed to extremely high prices by the stores that enjoy a monopoly in any vicinity. Being the only store in town or being the only store offering a particular product are few situations that give birth to monopoly. Taking advantage of customers’ vulnerability, the stores charge high prices as the customers have no other option than buying on the stated prices.
Moving on towards the advanced levels of ethical issues, employing underage workers also disturb many customers leading to compromised sales of retail items. It is a common practice of the retail stores to employ underage workers for various reasons. Consumers of the 21st century are sensible enough to infer the consequences of child labor, therefore, they feel reluctant in promoting the sales of the retail stores that employ underage workers. Though the percentage of the customers noticing child labor is low, it is significant enough to cutback the sales turnover of the stores.
The Nature Preserving Consumers
Consumers are increasingly becoming thoughtful about preserving the natural environment. They are well-informed of the consequences that would occur on the depletion of natural resources. Therefore, the consumers these days are keen about the manufacturing of the retail items they are buying. Many consumers have started using reusable bags instead of plastic bags, have dropped the use of products made from animal skins, and have stopped using the retail items that are made from non-renewable resources. The percentage of the environment-concerned consumers is not significant but it is increasing with the years passing by. Therefore, the sales turnovers of those retail stores have contracted who sell the products that cause damage to the natural environment
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR has become a new buzzword in the corporate world.CSR is the depiction of social and environmental concerns by the businesses through activities and advertisements. Consumers are knowledgeable of the CSR activities and notifications published by the retail stores and manufacturing businesses. They tend to purchase from the stores who actively show their concerns towards their social responsibilities and make efforts to fulfill those responsibilities. Due to consumers favoring the brands and retail stores performing CSR, the sales turnovers and consumers’ acceptance is significantly increased.
According to Forbes, following were the top companies to hold best CSR reputation in 2017
• Walt Disney Company
• Robert Bosch
• Cisco Systems
• Rolls-Royce Aerospace
CSR activities are one of the best ways to strengthen connections with the consumers and win their loyalty. It eventually feeds the businesses to succeed. It’s an undeniable fact that the acceptance and consumers’ loyalty towards retail items are heavily dependent on the retail ethics that the stores follow. Consumer rights, workers’ safety, transparent operations, true and authentic promotions, and environment conservation are few areas of concern to the consumers.