The business of retail is dynamic, with consumers leading the way when it comes to where they buy, what they buy and even why they buy. Keeping this in mind, merchants are increasingly incorporating environmentally and socially responsible inventory to cater to the demands of modern customers. In fact, a study from CGS reported that “nearly 70 percent of survey respondents said that sustainability is at least somewhat important to them when making a purchase and 47 percent would pay more for a sustainable product.” Additionally, this same study revealed that “today’s buyers are driven by more than price – they’re looking for brands that align with their own values and needs.”
When factoring in how sustainability and environmentally responsible inventory influences your unique business, it’s first important to understand what conservation commerce truly means. As IGES explains, conservation commerce is any retail item(s) that impacts humanity, education, preservation, ecosystems, the environment, animal welfare, cultural traditions or reclaims, reuses or re-purposes goods for the betterment of the world. Expanding on this, it is also important to identify what matters the most to your existing and potential customers alike in an effort to support conservation commerce goals. To help accomplish this, consider the following:
- Send out an email to your existing email subscriber list that includes a quick, ten question or less survey about the importance of environmentally and socially responsible inventory. Aim to identify what products they may want to see that supports this initiative, plus welcome open feedback or comments. Offer customers who complete the survey an incentive for your store, such as $10 to apply to a future store purchase or 20% off one regular priced item.
- Share news via social media about how your store is incorporating or plans to incorporate change into your efforts that supports conservation commerce. From inventory to recycling, share news of what your store is up to when it comes to supporting the environment. Another tip? Share facts that help reinforce the values in which you support so that your customers can further appreciate – and support – your efforts, as well.
- Introduce reusable bags for your store that encourage customers to avoid adding waste in landfills while also encouraging them to come back to your store. To help do this, promote a special incentive – even if just 5% off or a gift with purchase – to customers who bring back this bag to the store for a future store visit. Be sure to offer Conservation Commerce friendly inventory to your store assortment, as well, to further support your environmentally friendly actions.
Still not sure what your next steps may be when it comes to introducing Conservation Commerce into your retail business? You’re in luck! At the upcoming IGES show in Tennessee, there will be a tour of vendors supporting Conservation Commerce and you can be a part of this. These vendors all provide inventory that have a positive influence on the environment – something you and your customers can be happy with. To register, simply sign up here.
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle