Study: E-Commerce And Self-Indulgent. Perfect Together?

A new multi-university study (Univ. of Minnesota, Univ. of New Mexico and the Rotterdam School of Management) of green buying habits has some interesting implications for E-Commerce. The study (full text here) found that when consumers shopped publicly (in-store), they became self-conscious and tended to make purchases that they wanted to be seen making, such as buying items that would be seen as good for the community and the planet ("green"). When shopping privately (E-Commerce, M-Commerce), consumers tended to be more self-centered and bought that which they truly wanted, but perhaps were less proud of.

Clearly, there's nothing very surprising about this conclusion. But how should it be internalized in E-Commerce-land? Does this mean that the green elements—fuel efficient, organic, only made by factories that have always banned child laborers, etc.—of products should be played down online, in favor of comfort, price, speed and sex appeal? For in-store, are there ways to design traffic flow to encourage public viewing of purchases that people want to be seen buying?