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Date Added: June 06, 2007 06:52:07 PM

Shoppers with a Cause
    Many people are aware of environmental issues and want to do something about keeping the earth green. You can combine shopping with your passion for saving and protecting the world.


Green shopping can take many forms. You can refuse to buy products made from endangered species of plants and animals or products made using environmentally unfriendly methods and ingredients. These include detergents, bathroom cleaning agents, fertilizers and pesticides that contain dangerous chemicals; wood taken from rainforests and watersheds; and medicinal, food and decorative items made from rhino horns, coral, bear claws and other such sources. 


You can buy products made of recycled materials. You can minimize waste by buying products in amounts that you will be able to consume or use or by buying products made to last. Initially you may pay more for environmentally friendly products such as energy saving appliances but you may actually be saving money in the long run.  You can also opt for durable and “classic” clothes instead of trendy items that you will only use for one season.   You can also refrain from buying disposable items such as use and discard plastic plates and glasses.


Avoid buying imported fruit, meat, and other items whenever possible. Transporting these products use up vast quantities of fuel and cause more pollution. As much as possible, patronize environmentally friendly local producers and manufacturers. You can find more specific information about green and clean products at websites of reputable private and government agencies and organizations.


Aside from the environment, there are other equally important causes such as poverty and human rights.  For instance, a growing number of shoppers boycott companies that use child labor or women workers who are outrageously underpaid and overworked.   Some organizations dedicate themselves to discovering which companies are guilty of such exploitation, and provide consumers with adequate documentation to prove their case.
Shoppers with a cause can get a lot of information and suggestions from websites and from more traditional sources such as magazines and newspapers and educational TV programs.


You can combine shopping with financial support for issues close to your heart. Some companies give a percentage of their sales to specific organizations that support various causes, from homeless people to breast-feeding to elephant havens. It is important to check, through private and government watchdog bodies, if these companies and programs are legitimate and that the money is correctly computed and goes to the intended recipients.


Don’t forget that companies also benefit from cause-oriented marketing projects. By projecting a positive and socially responsible image, they can build up brand loyalty and increase their sales.

Shopping


Strategic Smart Shoppers
    Using smart shopping, the consumer can save money and still get the best quality products possible. Shoppers must be aware that products and stores are designed to part you from your money. Resist falling for that marketing strategy by having your own consumer-oriented counter-strategy.


    Don’t judge a product by its package but by its content. That means you should read the ingredients and other information carefully, and resist making your decisions based on colourful packaging, give-away toys, and other marketing gimmicks.


    Don’t assume a “sale” is actually a sale. Shoppers may be shocked to find that prices of items advertised as on sale have not actually been reduced by the store. The smart shopper always does comparison-shopping to avoid being fooled by this four-letter word -- SALE.


    Products that the store wants to push are usually arranged at strategic points – at eye level shelves, at check out counters, and in special displays. You must be patient and examine other products that may be less easy to reach but are just as good as and cheaper than what the store wants you to buy.


    Go shopping with a prepared list. It saves you money because it cuts down the time you spend inside the store and because you have less reason to resort to impulse buying. When making a list, put the priority purchases ahead of the other items.  Don’t go shopping with your children if possible because you may end up buying things that they want but don’t really need. Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry because you tend to buy more food. Don’t be a brand slave.  You may end up paying for the name, instead of the product.

Cyber Shoppers

    The Internet makes it possible for little known companies and products to attract a lot of consumers.  The use of search engines has grown radically in the past years and business websites, well aware of this trend, compete with each other to score high in searches. 


    Internet users who do their shopping online are attracted by its convenience, and particularly the ease with which they can do comparison-shopping.  In fact people in search of particular products visit comparison-shopping websites heavily.   This is probably the reason why Internet users who have spent their money online tend to spend more and more.

Male Shoppers
    Male shoppers have come into existence on their own. Although there are more women shoppers, male shoppers spend more their female counterparts. More fathers are shopping for their children.  This can probably be attributed to the fact that men are taking on more responsibilities in raising children, whether with or without partners. Men are also spending more for their clothes. Scientists have also discovered that about the same number of men and women become compulsive shoppers, indulge in binge buying  and become financially unstable due to their behaviour.


Star Shoppers
    Many consumers are relying more on more on celebrities for points on what to buy and where to shop.  Hip-hop stars have sold hip-hop music and fashion to generations of young fans of all colors.  Fan magazines, capitalizing on this trend, publish pictures of stars in trendy clothes and add detailed related information such as brands, prices, and outlets. The red carpet has become a setting for the promotion of fashion designers.  Shows such as Project Runway promote not only individual designers, but also the whole concept of fashion and the fashion industry.


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