Shifting Consumers Towards More Sustainable Spending Habits

As a retailer, you’re already well aware that consumers’ spending habits and preferences are constantly shifting. But with an increasing focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility, it’s more important now than ever to ensure that your customers feel empowered to make sustainable choices when shopping with you. Knowing how shoppers want to align their purchasing decisions with their values is key in order for retailers to adopt the necessary practices and make sure they’re meeting customer needs.

Customer expectations toward sustainability

Thanks to both media coverage and the unexpected arrival of a global pandemic, the discussion of how to address sustainability within the retail and service industry has been on the mind of consumers. With more awareness of the impact accessing such services has on the planet.

The likes of Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough have been leading the way in shifting consumer attitudes, opening the eyes of consumers to the impact behind their buying decisions.

Seeing this has encouraged some buyers to place more accountability on their favourite brands and their go-to retailers as they look for them to demonstrate how they are actively addressing such issues. Research has shown that this is no longer just a topic of conversation but a true concern that retailers must confront, head on.

Mastercard completed a study in 2021 finding that nearly a third of Brits (29%) will give more value to brands that act in a responsible, transparent and honest way. While more than half of the nation (52%) stated that they believe companies should behave in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways.

Choosing to do nothing, is not only a negative decision for the environment but potentially a detrimental one for your brand and the growth of your retail business.

Encouraging sustainable spending

With this in mind, retailers are now very much aware of what is known as the “green consumer”. Describing the percentage of consumers who are actively being driven towards particular brands and products based on their dedication to protecting the planet and taking the right steps to achieve their own sustainability goals.

Unfortunately the number of those who actually act on the desire to make more sustainable buying decisions is still a relatively small percentage. In one recent survey 65% said they want to buy from brands that advocate sustainability, yet only about 26% actually do so.

To encourage this behaviour, it is suggested that retailers will first need to address their own operations and issues within these. Followed by the implementation of steps which allow consumers, who have the desire and willingness to make a change, to actively do so.

Integrating climate action into your buyers’ journeys

There are several techniques that can help push consumers and users to take action. One such approach is to integrate climate action experiences into the buyer journey.

By providing the means to take action in a meaningful and accessible manner, consumers/users are far more likely to act accordingly. There are some very practical and effective examples of this that we see today, such as:

  • Placing recycling bins in areas that are accessible to the general public, e.g. by fast food restaurants or drive-thrus. This simple and perhaps obvious solution has had a dramatic impact on a consumer’s willingness to recycle their food waste and packaging.

So, by providing the climate impact information about a product or service to consumers in their consumer experiences, it helps to make the buying decision far simpler for them, resulting in an increase in sustainable spending habits.

Earthchain’s Carbon Intelligence Platform for Retail

With Earthchain’s Carbon Intelligence Platform you can integrate climate action into your own digital customer experiences. Our platform provides you with the insights you need to help your customers shift towards more sustainable spending.

Based on the items placed in a customers’ basket, Earthchain will provide your customers with a carbon emissions estimation, and help put this into context with relatable comparisons, so that customers have a better understanding of their impact. Merchants and/or customers can then choose to contribute towards climate impact projects of their choice to demonstrate their willingness to take positive action towards a greener planet.

To find out more about Carbon Intelligence for Retail, click here.

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