Since the early 1990s, there has been hope that the uptake of certified forest products would ensure more sustainable forest management and also deliver business benefits along the value chain. Our study applies a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) to model an e-commerce purchase in the case of multiple products with various attribute and certification combinations in the Finnish retail outdoor decking material market. We received 2772 responses from 231 participants in an online survey. Applying conditional logit and latent class models, we were able to assess the relative importance of attributes, identify various consumer segments, and simulate various scenarios for communicating the certification and origin of forest products and competing materials. Our results show that the most important attribute for consumer decision-making was the outdoor decking material followed by price, origin, and certification. Some consumer segments showed a habit of only choosing certain materials or domestic products, while paying less attention to other product attributes. Simulations for an e-commerce purchase situation also implied that communications concerning intangible product attributes, such as domestic origin and environmental certifications, could be used in the brand building of the forest sector to gain competitive advantage and increased market shares over other sectors. The results suggest that the conventional and constantly developing e-commerce marketing tools should be harnessed also in forest product and more general environmental marketing.
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