Shoppers are growing more concerned about the environmental impact of their retail decisions. Fewer are interested in accepting single-use bags with their transactions or even having to dispose of any receipts, especially when there are carbon-friendly and digital alternatives readily available.
Beyond this, customers are also increasingly likely to scrutinise the companies they support too. Whereas once shoppers gladly showcased the branding of retailers that complemented their aesthetic taste, now looks alone aren’t enough, with the environmental impact being as much of (if not more) of an influence in customer support. Brands that are greener can be more easily supported than those that might tarnish a shopper’s green credentials.
For retailers, this means making greater efforts to be carbon neutral, organic, and overall environmentally friendly.
One of the most cost-effective and straightforward ways for a retailer to improve their sustainability ethos is to step away, where possible, from the physical and to go digital.
This means embracing digital receipts and catalogues, since paper products are increasingly seen as a burden, one that is quickly disposed of. It can also mean adapting internal operations too, such as payroll systems, to shift away from paper and ink-based procedures.
Brand messages are communicated through a shop space. If a retailer chooses ethically responsible and environmentally friendly shop shelving and furniture, customers will immediately be able to discern the brand’s green intentions.
All details in a shop space should be considered, whether choosing locally manufactured screw covers or slatwall panels made from sustainable materials. Each item helps to create an aesthetic of carbon consideration that, in turn, demonstrates the green ethics of a retail brand and imbues products with the same message.
The energy consumption of the high street is often criticised, especially when shops choose to leave their lights on out of hours. This, however, can be remedied with the adoption of green energy. By choosing to supply a shop space with sustainable energy sources, retailers can proudly operate, welcoming customers to browse knowing that the shop’s operation has little to no impact on the environment.
Many retailers are working charitable contributions into their shop space, offering customers the opportunity to support environmentally friendly pursuits with their purchases. Some retailers even form long-term partnerships with charities, promoting the environmental work their initiative performs and supporting them financially with donations taken from the sales of certain products.
Any product that is offered in single-use packaging is leaving the customer with a responsibility to dispose of it. Over time, this has provenly led to customers preferring products that have sustainable or biodegradable alternatives, alleviating them of the guilt associated with their purchase.
For retailers, this is an opportunity to replace packaging with sustainable alternatives, those that can be recycled, upcycled, or composted. By doing so, shops are far more likely to see customers support their products in public, with brand names being celebrated, instead of ending up in the rubbish pile.