How a Little Ingenuity Can Make Sustainability Important to Your Retail Business


Cloe Matheson
Guest Contributor

Sustainability makes a difference to a great number of shoppers, and by deploying a bit of entrepreneurial ingenuity, you can turn sustainability into a differentiator and a competitive advantage for your retailing brand.

Sustainability should be a key part of any business strategy, and “going green” will have numerous benefits for your retailing enterprise. You’ll save money, improve your brand’s reputation and attract more shoppers and customers. By making sustainability a key principle of your business, you’ll stand out against competitors who don’t have eco-friendly values.

There are many easy ways to make your business more sustainable. You just have to be creative with how you operate your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Monitor the Manufacturing Process

Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. They care about how products are made and the ethics behind them. Many shoppers research a company’s approach to environmental causes before they buy a product. If your products aren’t eco-friendly, this could influence the amount of products you sell.

This is why it’s so important that you pay close attention to your supply chain. Look for ways to ensure manufacturing processes are sustainable and ethical. Key factors to examine include safety conditions, pollution, labor practices and waste. If you don’t make the products yourself, talk to vendors about what you would like to change. Be clear about your sustainability principles.

Go Digital

Many businesses waste a huge amount of paper day to day. Going digital is an easy solution to this problem. To begin with, consider using email receipts instead of paper receipts. This will both reduce waste and offer convenience to your customers – we all know how easy it is to lose receipts. By offering customers a digital version, they’ll have their records safe and secure. 

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Responsible businesses should reduce, reuse and recycle. If you haven’t already, ditch the plastic shopping bags in favor of reusable bags. Reusable shopping bags are becoming more and more common in retail stores as a simple way to reduce your environmental impact. Making this change shows your shoppers you care about the environment.

Look for innovative ways to expand your business with an eco-friendly mindset. For example, if you need extra space for storage, a used shipping container is a sustainable solution. These steel structures are extremely durable, cost-effective and eco-friendly. They’re also extremely adaptable and can be used for much more than just storage. Why not repurpose a shipping container as a mobile store? This has become a growing trend in the industry. Being innovative like this will be key to your brand’s growth and success.

Cut Back Your Energy Use

Using energy-efficient methods in your store will reduce your carbon footprint and save your business money. Ask your utility suppliers to conduct an energy audit on your store. An audit will tell you which parts of your business consume the most energy. From here, you can find the most effective ways to lower your energy usage.

For example, if lighting is eating up your energy bill, replace your fittings with green solutions. LED lights consume 90 percent less power than traditional incandescent lights, so this is an ideal option. They’re also very long-lasting, which will give you great value for your money.

Implement Green Marketing

Once you’ve implemented green methods into your business, it’s time to spread the word to customers. You can use content marketing and cross-promotion to communicate your sustainable values to customers. By highlighting the environmental benefits of your business, you may attract a larger customer base. Just be sure to follow through with your claims!

About the writer: Cloe Matheson is a freelance writer based in Dunedin, New Zealand who has written a wide range of articles for different sites and businesses including Keith Andrews. Read more of Cloe’s work on her blog.

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