If you think “going green” is for a select few environmentalists and appeals to niche markets only, think again. Millennials, one of the most important market segments for retail, care about sustainability and eco-friendly businesses more than most other groups.
If you care about maintaining a good image in the minds of a hyper-connected generation of consumers, consider taking some steps towards making your store more environmentally friendly, if you haven’t already! Here’s how you can start:
1. Offer digital receipts: e-receipts!
Take out your wallet and have a look inside. Do you see a bunch of crumpled receipts, making it bulky and causing frustration when you need to access your credit card quickly? You’re not alone; receipts are everywhere, and who really wants all that paper in their wallets? In the United States, 9.6 million trees a year are used for the sole purpose of receipt paper. Offer your customers the option to receive their receipts digitally–not only will you help save the planet, but it’s an opportunity to gather customers emails for direct marketing.
2. Ask customers if they need the bag
Shopping bags are a great way to advertise your brand, but most people end up throwing them out–a waste that affects the environment. Consider selling reusable bags–knowing your brand will be visible long after the sale–or sell bags that are clearly marked as being made from recycled material. Some customers might not necessarily want a bag, so ask first–a small but important way to save paper.
3. Detect motion
Employees might go back and forth between the sales floor, the storage room, and a break area. Because they’re in and out, there’s a good chance the lights are unnecessarily left on all day. If your lights turn on and off by motion detecting sensors, you won’t have to remind staff to turn them out. You’ll be saving energy, and of course, lowering your energy bills.
4. Invest in better lighting
Lighting is essential for making your window display look as attractive as possible. LED lights stay cooler and make your products look better. They’re more expensive than traditional lights, but are much more energy-efficient than regular bulbs which means you will save in the long run. LEDs are a win-win solution.
5. Donate or recycle old electronics
What happens to that old PC you just dumped in the trash? Chances are, it will make its way to a giant heap of electronic garbage, or e-waste, in India or China, where children get sick from extracting metals for resale–depressing. Find out if there is a local service that collects old electronics, or try donating them.
6.Discover DIY cleaning materials
Over 51,000 trees a year are used towards paper towels in the United States alone–so many trees to wipe so many counters. Clean cloths can work just as well as paper towels, and are reuseable, saving you money every year. To bring your green effort to the next level, you can try making your own all-natural cleaners. They’re cheaper in the long run, and help eliminate toxins in the environment.
7. Carry green brands!
Millennials care about ethical manufacturing and marketing, which is why brands that have sustainability and/or eco-friendly components are a hit. Creeds Collective recently created a successful 3-floor pop-up shop in New York City dedicated to showcasing independent brands with ethical business models. It’s a testament of how these kinds of brands appeal to fashion-forward and trend-focused consumers, not just activists.
Going green isn’t “granola” anymore, it has actually been chic for quite a while. Mindful living at the retail level will not only help you score points with the cool kids, but will result in money saved and most importantly, less waste and harm to our earth.