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Conscious Consumerism Transforms the Retail Industry

Conscious consumerism is transforming the retail industry. In this guide, we’ll explore the impact of this trend and outline how companies can champion ethical practices and sustainability.

What is conscious consumerism?

Conscious consumerism is a means of shopping for and buying products and services that prioritizes sustainability, ethics and positive social impact. This is not a new trend, but in recent years, there has been a seismic shift towards conscientious consumerism. Conscious consumerism is also referred to as green or sustainable consumerism. 

In this guide, we’ll analyze the impact of conscious consumerism on the retail industry and highlight ways businesses and brands can promote sustainability and make a positive contribution to local communities, society as a whole and the environment.

What Is The Impact Of Conscious Consumerism?

The effects of conscious consumerism are far-reaching, particularly for retailers and brands that manufacture and sell products to consumers. The main points to consider include:

1. Increased Demand For Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Products

Research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), suggests that searches for sustainable products have increased by a staggering 71% in the last five years. Products that are marketed as sustainable accounted for 17% of all consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in 2019, but they provided 54% of market growth in CPGs between 2015 and 2019.

2. A Desire To Buy From Brands That Share Customer Values

Consumers are increasingly motivated by brand values and company culture and CSR (corporate social responsibility) policies rather than price. Research suggests that over 70% of consumers actively prefer to buy from brands that align with their core values. 

3. A Willingness To Pay More For Sustainable and Ethical Products

Many customers, particularly those from Gen Z and millennials, are willing to pay more for sustainable, ethical and green products. Almost a third of Gen Z members said they would pay up to 48% more for products from conscious, purpose-driven brands and retailers. 

4. Loss Of Interest In Brands And Businesses That Don’t Implement CSR Initiatives

More and more consumers are looking to buy from brands that share their values and actively support and champion CSR, but research indicates that many are also making the conscious decision to avoid businesses that don’t fit in with purposeful consumerism practices. A survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that almost 40% of customers would stop buying from a business that was utilizing processes that waste energy. 

What Can Companies Do To Be More Sustainable?

It is more important than ever for businesses and retailers to recognize the impact of conscious consumerism and take steps to be more sustainable. Embracing and promoting values is not just beneficial for communities and the environment. It’s also a brilliant way to enhance brand image, attract customers, increase sales and encourage engagement and client loyalty. 

There are several ways companies can become more sustainable, including:

1. Understand What Matters Most To Customers

Market research, customer surveys and polls, feedback and analytics can help brands to understand what matters most to their customers. Once you know what your customers care about, you can work together to implement initiatives and make a positive contribution. 

2. Define and Share Your Values

Consumers today want to connect with brands on a deeper level and get to know the companies they’re buying from. Define your core values and share them with your customer base. Showcase the human side of the brand, tell your story and let people know what you’re doing to support sustainability. 

3. Review The Way You Approach Sustainability

Technology is advancing and there are new ways to adapt and adjust the way you work or operate to be more sustainable. Review your current approach and look to make changes and improvements. Research materials, resources and technologies, take inspiration from other brands that are blazing a trail and look for solutions for pain points. 

4. Encourage Employees And Customers To Get On Board

Brands can play a critical role in setting a good example and bringing others with them. Once you’ve implemented CSR initiatives or measures to champion sustainability, encourage your employees, other businesses you work with and customers to get involved and spread the word.

5. Learn From Others

Some brands are setting the pace in terms of switching to sustainable practices. PepsiCo is a great example. The company recently launched pep+, a roadmap, which encourages sustainability through 3 key areas: positive agriculture, positive value chains and positive choices. 

The Future Of Conscious Consumerism

Conscious consumerism is a movement, which is transforming sectors, including the retail industry. Customers are increasingly aware of making choices that have a positive impact on communities, society and the environment.

Consumers want to buy from brands that promote ethical and sustainable practices and they’re willing to pay more. There are several ways brands and retailers can be more sustainable and cater to customer preferences and consumer trends. Steps include understanding customer values, working with customers and employees, reviewing current operations and attitudes to make improvements and learning from other companies that are blazing a trail and making a difference.