We’re now in a new decade, on the cusp of another retail revolution. This one may be the biggest change to how people buy since the inception of the internet itself and is set to have even greater impact than mobile.
You will have seen photographs of fires, flooding and famine regularly in the news and, as consumers take notice of their impact on the planet, they’re noticing the impact companies have too.
The last decade was obsessed with service, speed and a “have it all, have it now” culture. This coincided with a boom in cheap Chinese products, more disposable income than ever and a consumption-obsessed public. But that’s about to change. The 20’s looks set to bring a complete 180° turn with sustainability, circularity and environmental soundness becoming key tenets in the customer buying journey.
This shift presents a huge opportunity for brands and retailers who can demonstrate value in their product offering and supply chain. The inclination to buy cheap and throw away products is diminishing. Products with a guarantee, products which can be upgraded instead of replaced and products which can be re-used or have already been used, are likely to see higher demand. Add to the mix a steady increase in environmental levies from governments plus increasing delivery costs, and suddenly, a cheap product begins losing its appeal against a more expensive, sustainable alternative.
Eco-centric online brands are experiencing notable growth. Social pressure is starting to push even the most ardent resisters into reconsidering what they buy and who they buy from. Next-day order dispatches in multiple shipments are becoming frowned upon, as is plastic packaging. Even eCommerce giant, Amazon, is coming under serious pressure to change as people return to locally made, quality products.
Now is the perfect time to highlight the value of a product instead of focusing on price. But how do you demonstrate this effectively? Through content. Lots and lots of content. Whether it’s user-generated content and reviews, rich product information or value-added incentives such as lifetime guarantees, loyalty points or enhanced customer service aftercare. Showing your potential buyers that there is more to your product than just the price is becoming a compelling selling point.
As with many trends, social media is playing a key role in the growth of socially conscious commerce. Brands are frequently being called out by consumers who don’t believe their actions align to their ethical beliefs. Celebrities are also buying into and promoting the message of adopting a greener lifestyle, which will no doubt be followed by endorsements of their own recyclable and re-usable products.
However, there is a caveat for retailers choosing to follow this trend. Companies need to ensure they are not cynically exploiting environmentalism, such as “greenwashing”, without practising what they preach. Every business should take steps to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce waste and increase awareness of their impact on the planet. But businesses who are integrating this into their brand need to be doubly careful as evidence of dishonesty could come back to bite them, permanently tarnishing their image. Having the right platform – and the right partner – plays a key role in ensuring you can implement the tools needed to sell in a way your customer actually wants. Get in touch if you want to chat with our eCommerce experts.