What Really Matters To Eco-Conscious Shoppers?
Sustainability is a massive concern for the majority of the British public with 66% stating that they consider it when making purchasing decisions – and this number is only likely to grow substantially in the next couple of years. Hence, it is essential that retail businesses address the issue of climate change and make serious positive changes in order to meet the demands of the eco-conscious public.
Not only can sustainability increase revenue and give you a real competitive edge within your industry, it can drive brand loyalty and trust with 97% of consumers stating that they are more likely to trust a retailer that supports environmental issues.
For businesses to get it right and avoid accusation of greenwashing, they must understand what really matters to those who shop sustainably. It is all well and good to make small changes towards being greener, but how do you actually connect with sustainable shoppers so that they become a loyal customer?
What does an eco-conscious shopper look like?
As with any attempt at attracting a particular audience to your business, you need to establish the customer profile so that you can better understand what actions need to be taken to appeal to them. This means identifying the typical sustainable shopper by considering some of these questions; what are their interests, what is their average income, where can you find them?
When it comes to the age of the average sustainable shopper, though the range can be wide, Gen Z makes up the majority with 62% of them stating that they prioritize sustainability when shopping, closely followed by millennials. This means that most eco-conscious shoppers are under the age of 40.
We also know that these shoppers are willing to spend more on sustainability, they are knowledgeable and passionate about sustainable issues and they stand firm in their decision to shop sustainable.
All of these characteristics can aid you in building a detailed customer profile and once you know what these shoppers look like, you can put yourself in their shoes and tap into their mindset.
The biggest concern that an eco-conscious shopper has is the future of the planet which is why they care about shopping with sustainable businesses. They feel the weight of environmental issues on their shoulders and want to play their part in protecting the planet and all those that live on it.
How to appeal to sustainable consumers
With all of the above in mind, you can now begin to build out a plan for attracting these eco-conscious shoppers to your business.
Establish your key values
Just as sustainable shoppers often have certain values that may be more of a concern or focus for them, your business should also hold key values when it comes to sustainability. Of course, the end goal is to be as sustainable as possible across the board but it helps to start with some key values that are either most important to your consumers, or are easiest for you to uphold.
For example, you may decide that waste is a huge issue within your business from excessive packaging to discarded materials during production so your key value or aim will be to reduce waste.
Once you have established 3 - 5 clear sustainability principles that you want to focus on as a starting point, display them across your website and social platforms to make it known to customers so those who share your values will be drawn to your business.
The majority of sustainable shoppers are young and have grown up in the digital age with information at their fingertips so they know how to do their due diligence before buying from a business.
Therefore, when you make any sustainability claims on your website or in marketing material you need to be aware that thorough research will take place on the customer's end to ensure that everything being said is accurate.
You can make this easier for the customer by putting as much information as possible on your website whether this is the name of the factories that you work with, blogs about the materials you use or a list of your certifications. You can even go as far as to showcase behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your operations so that customers can clearly see what goes on within your business.
When you are clear and honest about every area of your business, you will avoid facing any accusations of greenwashing.
Even when you get it wrong or when there are areas in which you fall short, admitting your failures is just as important as shouting about your successes. Eco-conscious consumers appreciate honesty and, since they are highly likely to get to the truth anyway, it is best to be upfront and admit that you are not perfect but that you are working to get there.
Remember, sustainable shoppers are not looking for perfection, just transparency and progress.
Share your story
A great way to appeal to this market of shoppers is to connect with them on a deeper level. They don't just want to be constantly sold to so filling your social pages with product images or sending sales emails every week will not be enticing to them.
The best method of marketing for this audience is through story-telling and more personal insight into the brand or business, especially as it relates to sustainability.
This could be done through sharing team photos, writing up the story behind your company and placing it on your website and educating your audience on sustainability issues by posting about events, organisations and more.
Look beyond saving the planet
Though it plays a huge role, sustainability within businesses isn't all about what they are doing to protect the planet. It has become synonymous with quality which means that eco-conscious shoppers expect sustainable products to be built to last.
This also plays into why they are willing to spend more – they know that they are getting something with a long lifespan so the investment makes sense.
Even if you say and do all the right things relating to sustainability and begin to attract the eco-conscious shoppers, they won't stick around if they do not get a product or service of quality.
That is why you need to consider more than just your carbon footprint if you want a business with longevity.