Go green! retail sustainability initiatives

It’s not just GenZ and millennials that are looking for “greener” brands. GenX and Boomers also support retailers that try to make a positive impact on the environment. And, regardless of age, these shoppers are more sophisticated and less sensitive to paying premium prices. They are willing to pay more for brands with a sense of social responsibility—over 84% want “Green” products and services. Capturing their attention is something you can feel good about while improving your bottom line.

Marketing Your “Green-ness”

Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean that you have to change your business model. It simply requires a change in perspective.

People, in general, have a hard time changing their perspective, especially when things are going well. So why fix it? That’s the point with “retail sustainability initiatives.” You’re not fixing anything. You’re implementing small changes that make a difference. Let’s look at some those small changes and how you’ll benefit from them.

1. Ask Your Vendor

As the old saying goes, “You never know until you ask.” So, it’s time to ask your vendors if they carry a more “green” version of the same brands. If not, then ask if they have “green-er” alternatives for packaging and shipping. Sometimes they do have them, but it’s often not in their best interests to advertise them because they are maybe a little more expensive. But these two things matter to environmentally conscious shoppers, and they’re willing to pay more for it.

2. Reduce: Waste, Energy, and Water

Reducing the amount of any single one of the following will save you money:

  • Waste not only comes from packaging, but it’s also created when you ship products to your customers. Plus, single-use bags contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution. Store branded, durable bags are great for multiple uses and marketing your brand.
  • Energy conservation may require an investment in new lighting or energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. Windows and insulation can also reduce the amount of energy used throughout the year.
  • Water bills continue to rise due to the growing concerns over availability and aging infrastructure. Installing low flow toilets and checking for drips can reduce water usage while saving you money today and even more tomorrow.

3. Air Quality

The smell of a store says a lot about how it’s cleaned and maintained. People are turned off by an overly perfumed store as much as they’re turned off by a dirty one. Some cleaning supplies have strong, long-lasting chemicals that can be irritating to your customers. Most organic cleaning products make sure that the chemicals inside are hypo-allergenic and free of perfumes. Another great idea is incorporating more plants in your displays and throughout the store. They naturally clean the air and make the space more inviting.

4. Marketing

Going “green” gives you something to talk about, especially on social media. More people will engage with your brand online when they see that you’re doing more to protect the environment, which is something they care about. You can even go as far as placing signs within the store to explain what you’re doing. Call it a “Green Initiative!”

Make a Plan

A plan for making your store “green” will provide the guidance you need to follow through on your “green” initiative. Many of the things you need to do may not be feasible today, but you might be able to implement them in the future. Remember to aim high and do your best to be as “green” as possible. This will definitely set you apart from the competition.

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