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Why online retailers should pay attention to sustainability Image
diff Blog
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Why online retailers should pay attention to sustainability

Written by Debra Weinryb, diff Content Strategist

Environmentally friendly products and services are becoming more and more popular as customers aim to become more socially conscious when making online purchases. This group of conscious consumers is often referred to as LOHAS, an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. LOHAS consumers are swayed not only by the cost or benefits of a product or service, but also by their personal values, such as family, community health, environmental sustainability and social justice, creating an opportunity for merchants to take a targeted approach in attracting and retaining conscious customers based on consumer market trends. 

Here are 3 reasons why you should pay attention to sustainability and social responsibility as an online retailer so you too can take advantage of these market trends:

1. Significant benefits of ecommerce sustainability for retailers and their customers

According to a report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, upwards of 93% of global consumers expect more of the brands they use to support social and environmental issues. Additionally, the  report found that approximately 68 million adult Americans place purchasing decision on their values — personal, social and environmental — and say they will spend up to 20% more on environmentally sound products. These stats show that many consumers fall into the LOHAS category group and are happy to invest in retailers who support sustainability initiatives. By taking small steps to become more sustainable, retailers can better connect with their customers.

2. Attract millenials who want to create social change with sustainable ecommerce

Millennials, aged 18-38, are a socially conscious generation, with a strong desire to make a difference in the world. In a Global Corporate Sustainability Report published by Nielson, 73% of millennials indicated that they are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Additionally, 81% of millenials even said that they expected their favorite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship. Showcasing social responsibility is not only a chance for your business to make the world better, but also a chance to empower millenials to enact social change by solving problems in your local community, or on a global scale. 

Since Millenials are starting to reshape the economy, don’t risk skipping  out on attracting their business. In Canada alone, Millennials account for 12% or $13.2 billion of the country’s fast-moving consumer goods spending, according to Statistics Canada. In the United States, this generation now spends $600 billion a year - and this figure keeps rising as Millennials approach their peak earning years, according to U.S. News & World Report.

3. It’s easy to make your retail business more responsible with sustainable ecommerce

Now that you’ve learned why you should pay attention to sustainability and social responsibility for your online store, here are a few tips to attract conscious consumers:

  • Support a cause you care about - Consider dedicating some of your profits towards furthering a cause by partnering with a mission-based non-profit organization ⁠— giving your customers a purpose behind every purchase. Publications and blogs love covering helpful stories, and can help you spread the word on your efforts and share your impact.
  • Choose your product carefully - When choosing your product to sell, ask yourself questions in addition to market fit and current trends. Think about the materials that you use and whether they can be sourced in a sustainable way or recycled. Depending on your product, you may be able to source cruelty-free or organic ingredients.
  • Pay attention to manufacturing and operations - If you work directly with a factory to produce your product, be conscious of working conditions and fair wages, or choose a third-party logistics  partner that supports local communities or small family producers. If possible, exchange wasteful packaging materials for recycled natural alternatives.

Let’s move ecommerce sustainability forward together

A business that cares about sustainability and social responsibility will help you attract more customers in the long-run for your online store. Research proves that customers expect more of brands to support issues that they care about and that make the world a better place to live. 

Looking to tell your conscious story on Shopify?

Contact us for tailor made ecommerce solutions. At diff, we help brands make an impact on Shopify Plus. 

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