Half of the customers worldwide prefer to buy from brands that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability. Sustainability is the future of e-commerce. As the industry becomes more saturated, there will be fewer options for distinguishing your brand from your competitor. Sustainability is here to help you stand out from the crowd and attract new customers.
A commitment to sustainability allows you to better connect with your customers, while a zero net energy store may not be feasible right now, there are smaller steps you can take. That is why we will discuss sustainable retail trends, their significance, and how to make your retail business more sustainable.
What exactly is sustainability?
Sustainability means acting in a way that does not deplete natural resources and promotes long-term global ecological balance. In another sense, sustainability is often viewed as balancing current needs while not risking future generations’ ability to meet their own.
Choosing the path of the least convenience is frequently associated with sustainability. Yet, transforming global practices into sustainable ones may be one of the most difficult challenges of the twenty-first century. Its ultimate goal is to balance the environment, society, and the economy.
The three pillars of sustainability are formed by balancing these three competing concepts.
Environmental: The environmental pillar frequently receives the most attention as businesses seek to reduce their carbon footprints, packaging waste, and overall environmental impact.
Tracking and focusing on reducing environmental impact can positively impact the planet and have a positive financial impact as more and more consumers come to value the efforts made.
Economic: For a company to remain solvent, it must focus on its viability and profitability. Profit, however, cannot be at the expense of the other two pillars to be sustainable.
Concerns under this pillar include whether or not the interests of the business stakeholders align with those of the company’s community, customers, and values.
Social: For this article, we will concentrate on the environmental and economic components; however, the social pillar remains an important aspect of overall sustainability.
According to the social license, this includes operating to benefit employees and the surrounding community. It also entails paying close attention to your entire supply chain and ensuring that the people who work on your products are treated and compensated fairly.
The significance of sustainable retail
Not sure if it’s worthwhile to invest in making your retail store more environmentally friendly?
It is not necessary to incorporate sustainability into your retail business. Today, however, taking steps to make your business more sustainable is critical if you want to reduce your negative impact on the environment and attract and retain a growing number of socially conscious consumers and employees.
As a result, many brands are making efforts to improve sustainability in the coming year. A study commissioned by Shopify and conducted by Forrester Consulting in September 2021 revealed:
Over a third of brands are setting long-term goals and targets and avoiding partners who are unwilling to meet their sustainability standards.
How to incorporate sustainability into your brand successfully?
Make sure your customers know any sustainable initiatives you incorporate into your brand.
Third-party verification, benchmarking, and communicating with your customers about your impact and work for the environment are the most effective ways to build consumer trust.
Be open and honest! Show your customers all of your hard work, and they’ll want to join in.
1. Understand your target market
For better or worse, some demographics and consumer bases will lower sustainability value than others.
While adopting more sustainable ecommerce processes is a good thing, you may not see the same ROI if your target audience isn’t concerned with the environment. Furthermore, ecommerce businesses should conduct sufficient research to make genuine changes that have a measurable impact.
Some business owners are looking for another solution to becoming more eco-friendly, but this will not be enough.
It is a matter of conducting research to determine what your customer base is concerned about and determining the best alignment between those concerns and your best path to maintaining profitability while reducing your carbon footprint.
2. Communication is important
Customers expect complete transparency throughout all of these processes. In this day and age of social media and cancellations, it’s critical to be as open and honest about your sustainability initiatives as possible.
Documenting your goals, plans, and impact clearly and understandably will help your brand gain a loyal and trusting customer base.
Keeping your customers informed about your initiatives will also make them feel as if they are a part of your company’s efforts to impact the environment positively.
How to Determine Whether Your Communication Is Effective
Reviews are one of the best ways to determine the effectiveness of your communication efforts.
Customers will express their delight in a product they enjoy, which can positively impact them. Positive reviews go a long way, and social media can help your brand gain popularity for what you’re doing for the environment.
Customers can read and share reviews for e-commerce brands worldwide on Reviewbit, which can increase trust in your sustainability initiatives. Reviews will also teach you what you can change and what your customers want in sustainability.
3. Implement recycling programs
Recycling programs are another tried and true method of achieving sustainability. Many large brands and retailers have recycling programs to dispose of used products and containers properly. However, depending on the nature of your product, consumers may find it difficult to recycle it properly on their own. By providing a recycling program, you ease the consumer’s stress and even entice them to return to your store by offering a discount when they recycle a product!
4.Reduce your carbon footprint
Carbon offsetting allows you to incorporate sustainability into your brand without disrupting your entire supply chain.
Every aspect of your business produces carbon emissions; consider purchasing carbon offsets for manufacturing or shipping your products or giving customers the option to do so at the checkout. Incorporating carbon offsets into your brand is a simple and cost-effective way to incorporate sustainable initiatives.
5. Look into on-demand manufacturing
While on-demand manufacturing can improve sustainability efforts, it is also a great way not to lose money on large amounts of inventory and maintain warehouse storage. Especially in such uncertain times as now, with increasing energy costs and different unpredictable restrictions during Covid-19 outbreaks.
This can be applied to any type of manufacturing, but especially fashion. One in every five garments reaches a landfill without being worn even once. By choosing print-on-demand, you choose apparel that’s created only as the order is placed, creating less fabric waste than conventional manufacturing. Manufacturing on demand also saves brands money because there is no need to keep a large inventory of items to be sold. Instead, products are created as they’re ordered.
The same goes for custom merchandise. As social media trends are coming and going quickly, sell what is relevant right now, and once the trend is over, you’ll not have to deal with any surplus of merchandise. Focus on what sells and be sustainable at the same time.
Making your retail operation more sustainable
Let’s try to implement some of these sustainable retail practices right away. We hope you’re thinking about small steps you can take to make your business more sustainable.
As you have learned, it will earn you customer respect and loyalty, but it will also help you save money and resources. Furthermore, you will help reduce the environmental impact of retail and ecommerce.