The importance of sustainability in the retail industry is globally rising to be a very vital consideration when creating a business plan. The integration of sustainability efforts is spreading tremendously and through it, companies are not only gaining customer respect and loyalty but also starting a movement in helping the environment. Hundreds of e-commerce companies are taking a leap in combining a great product with responsible consumption. The fast-growing trend of sustainability is rising for all types of businesses around the world using strategies such as; altering the types of materials used, reusing materials or simply just cutting waste out.
Within the retail industry sustainability efforts are shown everywhere from sustainable retail store design to using sustainable practices in retail. Sustainable retail stores are rising exponentially and the rise brings forward a whole new market to shopping both in-store and online. Going green offers a wealth of benefits for both retailers and their customers. Customers are now searching for these eco-friendly options regularly and instantly develop a loyalty to brands which cater to that expectation. A report by the retail industry leaders’ association (RILA) states that an estimated 68 million people base purchasing decisions on their values- personal, social and environmental- and say they will spend up to 20 percent more on environmentally sound products.
Incorporating sustainability into your business plan, it is not only important to consider improving the environment but also increase value for your business. With the current trends of living a healthy, fit and eco-friendly lifestyle, it’s time to embrace sustainability to market your products. Sustainable retailing gives a business a better opportunity to better connect with your customers and while having a zero energy store. It might not be within grasp just yet, but there are smaller steps businesses can take.
Businesses consume a lot of paper and one of the easiest ways to cut back is by emailing receipts. This saves resources and reduces the businesses carbon footprint. Going paperless can create efficiencies, help you automate your business processes and offer your customers better security. Transitioning to digital receipts is a great first step to going paper-free and they allow you to leverage that valuable ‘real estate’ on those digital receipts to make more sales, include links to your website and social media platforms, as well as news about upcoming events and promotions.
Customers care about how their products are made and they want to know that you care too. If you make any of your goods, audit your waste and look for ways to substitute reusable or recyclable products. Your business should offer to collect unwanted items that can be repurposed or donated to someone who can reuse them. If you purchase and resell premade goods, ask for transparency from your vendors concerning issues such as labour practices, safety conditions, pollution and waste. Manufacturing can produce a lot of waste and you can make a move towards sustainability by monitoring the supply chain.
Retailers should also consider switching to energy options hat consumer and emit less carbon. Energy is the fourth largest operating cost for retailers after labour, rent and marketing. Going green will help save money.
Transparency and authenticity are key when it comes to putting sustainability at the forefront of your business. in this case, you are not just hooting your own horn: you are allowing customers to further their sustainability efforts by supporting a business that cares about the environment, community and future.