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Eco-friendliness is the key to customer loyalty

“With great power comes great responsibility,” – this famous quote from the Spiderman series has had a great impact on us over the years. The movie franchise proved that it practices what it preaches by championing the green initiative throughout the entire course of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ production. From saving 1,93,000 disposable plastic water bottles to securing tons of material in donation for reuse and recycle, the superhero epic won awards for its sustainable practices, few years back. No wonder we love Spiderman.

It’s not just in the reel world that going sustainable wins hearts. As more and more customers are becoming eco-conscious, brands no longer have the luxury of ignoring sustainable practices. They have to adopt, adapt and sell sustainability to survive and thrive. As a result, many companies are going for biodegradable packaging, sustainably-sourced items, as well as low-emission transport.

While Nestlé is going big on recyclable packaging, Amazon has set up a dedicated hub to encourage innovation in sustainability. Even the small brands are making efforts to join the sustainability bandwagon. And why not! In the present times, the consumers not only prefer sustainable brands over others, but are also willing to pay more for them.

Is sustainability driving demand?

If we look around us, we see people are becoming more conscious and concerned about the environment. From turning vegan to shunning plastics, people are doing their bit to make a positive change. This also means buying from eco-friendly and ethical-minded brands.

In a global study conducted in 2014 by Nielsen, it was found that 55% of the customers would pay more for products and services from a company that made a positive social or environmental impact. Speaking about the trend, Amy Fenton, global leader of public development and sustainability, Nielsen, had said, “Consumers around the world are saying loud and clear that a brand’s social purpose is among the factors that influence purchase decisions.”

If this hasn’t surprised you enough, here is another fact that surely will. A survey conducted by CGS in 2019 revealed that despite being a relatively new buying group, Gen Z shoppers (born between 1996 and 2015) make up for some of the most eco-conscious buyers, with 68% of them having made an eco-friendly purchase in the past year.

Today, when sharing our every moment of life on social media has become a norm, consumers like to associate themselves with sustainable brands to show that they care. So, if your brand can show them that it shares their concerns for the planet, you connect with them instantly.

Now that we have established that sustainability is both good for the planet and the business, let us see some easy ways to build a brand that is sustainable and see how big brands are doing it right-:

How to build a sustainable brand

Create a coherent ideology: The first step is to understand why your business needs to be sustainable and what you can offer to your customers that can make you different and better from other “sustainable” brands. Once you have cracked why your brand is sustainable, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by wooing both customers and investors.

Let your customers decide: First, decide your target audience and listen to what they are looking for. Do they want sustainably-sourced items or recyclable packaging? Addressing their concerns will increase both your brand loyalty and engagement.

Identify key areas: It is important to identify the key areas of your business and come up with smart strategies to make them wholly sustainable.

Connect and collaborate with the right partners: This means not only partnering with green or sustainable suppliers to source your items, but also connecting with other businesspersons who share the same passion as yours to make a positive impact. They can help you in achieving your target.

Market it well: Come up with original and innovative ideas to communicate your sustainability goals and efforts to connect with your audience. Also, make sure not to just promote your brand. Instead, take on the awareness route and educate your audience about the need and benefits of sustainability. Be honest with your customers and avoid overhyping your achievements.

Measure and rework: Take the help of data to figure out if you are reaching towards your sustainability goals. See if your strategies and efforts are paying off. Make changes if you see that your objectives are not being met.

Let us now look at some ways at how some brands are doing it right:

Brands with a purpose

Many eco-conscious consumers are giving up meat and becoming vegetarian. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t love the taste of hamburgers. Capitalising on this, Ethan Brown, founder of Beyond Meat, made a product that looks and tastes almost exactly like meat, but is made from peas and beetroot.

Similarly, Unilever understood that water is precious and scarce. Taking cue from how Cape Town has been struggling with drought over the years, the multinational consumer goods company launched Domestos Flush Less, a toilet spray that eliminates malodors to remove bacteria build-up without using water. They also have a range of compressed deodorants that provide the same protection and fragrance, but with 50% less gas and 25% less packaging.

L'Oréal, the cosmetic giant, launched a campaign ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ in 2013 to advance sustainable practices across all aspects of the business, from sourcing to manufacturing to packaging.

Similarly, Niantic, the parent company for augmented reality gaming app Pokémon Go, adopted a fun and innovative way to educate the masses. On the occasion of Earth Day, it encouraged its games user-base to pick up trash and earn exclusive in-game rewards. This green initiative became very successful with thousands of gamers participating in it.

Intellect Commerce, known for providing end-to-end digital solutions for retailers across various verticals, is also a champion of adopting green practices.

The list doesn’t end here. There are numerous ways you can align your company’s goals with sustainability. For more information, ask for a free demo on how the iRetail suite can empower you to achieve your sustainability goals.

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