Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ethical Shopping Mobile Apps

I was inspired by a CNN report on Ethical Shopping apps to take a look at what could be an increasingly popular segment of mobile apps. Ethical apps have an element of community involvement, shopping, sharing with friends and continuous updates that make them a compelling proposition not just for the conscious shopper.

There are several country-based apps currently available on iTunes:

1. The Good Shopping Guide priced £2.99 aimed at the UK market
2.  The Good Guide (free) aimed at the US market
3. Shop Ethical $2.49 aimed at the Australian market
4. Barcoo (free) developed in Germany but available in English

Barcoo and the Good Guide are also available on the Android market.

One of the key features of these apps is a barcode scanner, with both the Barcoo and The Good Guide apps providing this, though some app developers exclude this as smaller brands would 'slip through the net'.

Data on the 'ethical footprint' of specific brands is normally gathered from Ethical Trade Associations like Fair Trade or Friends of the Earth. According to William Sankey of the Ethical Company Organisation in an interview for The Guardian although there is growing awareness of the benefits of fair trade and organic goods, there is less information that gives consumers an overall ethical footprint of the product and the company behind the brand. 

"Shoppers may be surprised to find that often there is not a price premium [on ethical goods]," he said. Beko, for example, makers of the cheapest larder fridge is also the top-scoring ethical brand in this category. 

As mobile commerce takes on a bigger role in terms of overall e-commerce and electronic payments, there is a gap available for Fair Trade Bodies to supply their Ethical Product Databases to online stores and so allow shoppers to make more informed purchasing decisions.


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