Environmental sustainability has become increasingly popular among consumers over the last few years- with “green” companies sprouting up all over the nation and already established companies offering green alternatives to their traditional products/services. Consumers have jumped on board, offering to pay higher prices for these green products; and businesses have followed suit by paying more to outfit their operations with more sustainable alternatives. With the current state of the economy, however, it is unclear whether or not consumers will continue to pay more for green products. What is clear though is that businesses are feeling pressure to expand their green efforts.
According to eMarketer only 40% of communications professionals polled believe that consumers will continue to pay more for green products in the current economy. There is little data yet on whether or not consumer spending on green products has actually decreased, leaving speculation over future consumer trends up in the air. It is likely that green alternatives that can prove a direct benefit to the consumer will continue to do very well (ex. products that save on electricity costs, water usage, etc.), while green products that are more of a luxury may decrease in sales. Obviously as an online store owner selling green products you do not want to fall on the latter side of that scenario.
Here are some tips to help you “sell green”:
- Emphasize the Real Benefits to the Consumer
The more concretely you can spell out the benefits the more likely you are to make the sale (ex. do not say “helps you to save water,” instead say “can save x gallons of water per month”).
- Utilize your About Us Section
If you are selling green products the chances are your company employs green efforts in their own business practice. Tell the consumer exactly what you do and why it makes you unique.
- Make your Offerings Special
Sometimes spicing up your offerings is just what you need to make the sale. Do not just sell the products themselves; think of other interesting things you can offer. Plant a tree on the customer’s behalf or donate a percentage to a green charity. Get creative!
Even in these tough economic times businesses are being urged to maintain or expand their sustainability efforts by both their employees and their customers. In fact, more than half of those surveyed felt that sustainability was vital to their company’s reputation/brand. Additionally, 58% planned on increasing their emphasis on corporate sustainability in future months. With so many American companies coming to the table late in terms of sustainable practices, there are a lot of improvements to be made. In the next year you can expect to see companies ramping up their green efforts as consumers put pressure on them and they struggle for a way to gain an edge over the competition.
What can you do to increase your “green-ness”?
- Get involved in your Community
Chances are that there are great green resources right in your backyard. Find out what other businesses in your area do and who they partner with and see if you can join in as well.
- Get Certified/Qualified/Awarded
Nationwide there are a vast number of different associations, certifications, and awards that your business can get for things that you are probably already doing. It is great to be green but what is even better is getting recognized for it so you can help others do the same (and maybe attract a few loyal customers along the way).
- Utilize Employee Feedback
If you are running a business you may not have the time to do a lot of research about how to be green. Ask your employees to keep an ear out for good ideas and listen to their suggestions. If you decide to use an idea that an employee has suggested give him/her some responsibilities over the project- it will help create a sense of ownership.
What has your company done to go green? Leave us a comment to share with our readers!
-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist