It’s no secret that consumers are increasingly hungry for more sustainable products. In fact, products with a sustainability claim on the package flew off the shelves as 16.6% of the market and $114 billion in sales in 2018. We’ve only seen it go up from there.
But, being a sustainable consumer is a lot of work. The responsible consumer must research plastic-free packaging, responsible disposal at the end of the product’s life and materials in the product itself before making a purchase. Because many sustainable products aren’t available at the corner market, that consumer must put in even more effort to research how to get the product, understand when they’ll need it and calculate how much they’ll use. All of that time and effort can create “sustainability fatigue” for the consumer. But, fear not! Here are some simple how tos for marketers to ease the way for consumers and sell more product.
Highlight sustainability anywhere and everywhere
You work hard to make your products sustainable and you should tell the world about your efforts to save the planet and make the world a better place. Most companies include details about sustainable ingredients, processes and packaging on a sustainability webpage and consumers will look for it. As we noted in our Top Sustainable Living Trends and Predictions for 2022 blog, 71% of Americans want companies to help them take more sustainable actions in their everyday lives, and 83% of millennials want brands to align with their values. So, let’s make that information even easier for them to find.
Retailers like the Package Free Shop, focused on sustainable, green, eco-friendly, plastic free products, add sustainability details about each of its products on the individual product pages, so that consumers can easily find the information at the point of sale. The Package Free Shop includes the following for its products:
- Ingredients/materials of the product itself, which tells the consumer if the product that they are purchasing is actually made with sustainable elements.
- End of life describing how long the product is likely to last and how to dispose of it responsibly, signaling to the consumer how often they’ll need to purchase and if they’ll need to take special steps to compost or recycle the product when it’s time.
- What the packaging is made of and how to dispose of it—an oft-forgotten element of a sustainable purchase. Sustainable consumers do consider how excessive packaging, especially plastics and Styrofoam, impact the overall sustainability of their purchase. Using limited packaging where possible is the best option, but being honest about how to properly dispose of your packaging is the way to go. You can even suggest options for those hard-to-recycle items like Ridwell in some areas of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota and Texas.
Including this information on your individual product pages also creates opportunities to reference other pages on your site, keeping the consumer on the site longer and encouraging them to learn more about your brand make more purchases!
Suggest (accurate) quantities
One big challenge for consumers is determining how much of a product they will need. Of course, that’s always been true, but when consumers have to wait a few weeks for their eco-friendly bamboo toilet paper or toothpaste bits to arrive in the mail, they can’t just reorder when it’s gone—they must plan ahead. Consumers must also contend with storage space in their homes and the ongoing shipping and delivery impacts due to the pandemic.
Marketers can help by:
- Including a quantity guide on the product page. While every user is different, using data from past purchases to determine average quantities will provide the consumer with suggestions for how much to order. However, don’t exaggerate to sell more product; your customer will appreciate accurate suggestions and be more likely to make a repeat purchase if their closet isn’t overflowing with too much.
- Working with your development team to create a snazzy calculator on your site to help the consumer determine quantity based on the size of their household and habits.
- Sending reminders to your customers (especially new customers) to check their quantities and help them determine when to reorder. Consumers expect personalization from their interactions with companies (71%, in fact)—which also includes personalized quantity and reorder recommendations. It’s worth the effort, as companies that invest in personalization see 40% more revenue.
And for a little extra boost of valuable info, send your customers a survey to help you reassess quantity guides, asking them the frequency in which they order, how many people in their household, and any other tidbits that will help you with the equation. You can also learn from your customers in reviews and comments; they will surely tell you if they never have enough or always too much of your product.
Set it and forget it (but with a twist)
The average American household has nine paid subscriptions, and millennials are even more likely to try new subscription services. But it’s not just about having too many subscriptions, it’s about the difficulty in managing them with 53% of Americans expressing frustration with this process.
Most e-commerce sites include subscription options to get products at regular intervals, but it’s not usually that simple. The consumer might not need all of the products they typically order at once (dish soap now, laundry detergent later).
Grove Collaborative, an e-commerce retailer focused on sustainable household products, adopts a method to make offset ordering easy. Each item the consumer subscribes to can be set at different intervals. While there is a minimum amount to ship (we are trying to be sustainable after all), it’s easy to skip an individual item, increase or decrease order frequency and receive suggestions to meet the minimum.
Marketers should consider the multi-faceted needs of the modern family, of all shapes and sizes, when designing the checkout process for their customers to get what they need, when they need it.
One less thing to worry about
Consumers are already worried about whether their sustainability efforts even have an impact, so let’s make it as easy as possible for them to purchase, become a repeat buyer and a brand ambassador. It’s just as much about the experience of purchasing as the product itself. They don’t need anything else to worry about.
And when in doubt—ask. Use your customers as your best resource. They know what they want and marketers have may tools at their disposal to boost sustainable product sales and ease the worries of the stressed-out consumer.