In today’s day and age, sustainability has become a top priority for a lot of consumers. Many are now boycotting stores that don’t prioritise the same values that they do, in favour of those taking extra steps to protect our planet.
Because of this, going green has become a sure-fire way to stand out from your competitors. Not only will you win over some customers looking for places to shop that share their values, but with it being such a topical subject at the moment you may find that your new methods catch the attention of local – or even national – press.
Additionally, unique, locally made products can be a real attraction to customers in the community, enhancing that local feel that is often sought after. Other benefits of locally sourced products include a decrease in carbon footprints and ensuring tax money goes back into the local community.
Surprisingly, it’s been found that although big retail chains have green initiatives in place, only 9% of small businesses with fewer than 1000 employees have embraced sustainability as one of its core values. There are many possible explanations to this, from limitations to the building that they rent, to their overall budget. That being said, there are still a good number of measures that can be taken, which we’ll go through now.
It might seem like an obvious one, but switching to energy-saving lightbulbs is not only cost-effective but goes a long way in reducing your carbon footprint. Say goodbye to incandescent or the older-style fluorescent light bulbs and say hello to LED (Light-Emitting Diode) or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs.
Buy Sustainable Fixtures
Whether you’re shopping second-hand or just making sure that all of your fixtures are made sustainably, and with natural materials, there’s plenty of choices when it comes to the accessories and furnishing of your retail store. Switch your metal or plastic shelves out for wooden cabinets and shelving. Nowadays, even items such as greeting card units are being sold handmade of natural materials.
Bring Your Walls to Life
Turn your walls into a living, breathing pieces of art by installing a ‘living wall’. Placing a load of indoor plants across your wall, underneath an air-conditioning vent improves the air quality of your store and stops it from becoming stale. Plus, they look great!
Make Bags and Receipts Optional
A simple yet effective way of reducing the waste that your store puts out is to make bags and receipts optional. Stores are quickly moving away from plastic bags in favour of ‘Bags for Life’ and with good reason! Bags for life or recyclable paper bags are great alternatives, and when it comes to receipts, ask to send them electronically. Not only will you be able to capture their data for future marketing communication, but you’ll be helping save the environment too, win-win!
Consider Green Packaging
Many retailers sell their products in elaborate – and often unsustainable – packaging. If this applies to you, consider rethinking the material your packaging is made out of, or better yet, lose it completely. In some cases, the packaging is not vital at all, and once a product has been unpackaged it’s tossed aside and thrown away. When at the cost of your company's sustainability, it doesn’t seem entirely worth it, does it?