Consumer attitudes are continuously evolving, especially in regard to the topic of sustainability. Now more than ever, consumers are more interested in buying products that have been manufactured and marketed in the most sustainable way possible.
Although the trend towards sustainable buying habits has undeniably increased over the last decade, environmental issues like climate change, deforestation, and pollution continue to become more prominent.
For this reason, engaging consumers towards sustainable practices is more vital than ever. Here are eight ways to make that happen.
1. Find a Transparent Supply Chain
Supply chain transparency for consumers is the first thing you should be focusing on to promote attitudes of sustainability. When the consumer knows exactly who your suppliers are, where they’re located, how they manufacture, and their current working conditions, you’re providing valuable information to your buyers.
Not only does increased transparency gives consumers access to valuable information on how the products are made and distributed, it also boosts the selling potential for that product.
A 2018 study on the link between supply chain visibility and social responsibility proves this point. The results showed that most consumers are willing to pay anywhere between two and ten percent more for a product if the company practices supply chain transparency.
Although there may be greater costs for achieving this transparency, in the end, it’s likely to pay off.
Steps Towards Improving Transparency
So what can you do to increase supply chain transparency?
According to a 2019 report from Harvard Business Review, “supply chain transparency requires companies to know what is happening upstream in the supply chain and to communicate this knowledge both internally and externally.”
In order to communicate transparency more effectively, HBR lays out five steps:
Gauge risks and set goals: Establish clear goals on how to achieve transparency after evaluating any risks involved.
Visualize the supply chain: Develop a deeper understanding of the flow of goods, supplier relations, and manufacturing processes.
Collect actionable information: Gather information on the supply chain that can provide insight on how consumer visibility can be improved.
Engage: Engage in the supply chain to address any issues that came up in Step #3, like labor-related risks, environmental impacts, etc.
Disclose: Make information visible to consumers to increase transparency.
2. Rate the Product
The impact of customer reviews and ratings is massive, especially when it comes to consumer engagement. According to Medium, “the internet is now evolving to be a forum where consumers evaluate products and services based on impressions and feedback from other, like-minded consumers.”
Product ratings speak volumes to consumers who are looking for answers on what they’re buying. So allowing consumers to rate the product is the next step toward sustainable engagement.
Your buyers are constantly looking for a chance to speak their minds by voicing opinions, talking about experiences, and – hopefully – singing your brand’s praises. So let them do that!
Allowing for and encouraging product reviews and ratings is one of the best ways to engage, not just in terms of sustainability, but across all topics.
3. Video Content That’s Revealing and Appealing
Video content is the future of marketing. There are many reasons why video content should be in every marketing strategy, including:
Video is much more engaging for viewers
Today’s technology demands more video
Video can be used in a variety of different ways
Compared to written text or a photo, video content has been proven to be much more engaging for consumers. If engagement towards sustainable practices is what you’re hoping to achieve, then implementing video into your marketing plan is a must.
4. Minimize Carbon Footprint
Although 2020 was hard for us all, it created a silver lining for many industries; the entire world has become more invested in adopting smart environmental practices, and that includes fashion brands.
Insights from McKinsey & Company state that “consumer sentiment suggests that the COVID- 19 crisis could serve as a reset opportunity for players in the apparel, footwear, and luxury sectors to strengthen their sustainability commitments and accelerate industry-wide changes, such as reduced seasonality and scaling of circular business models.”
One of the ways brands are “strengthening their sustainability commitments” and engaging sustainable attitudes is by minimizing their overall carbon footprint. There are many practices to lower carbon output and build a more sustainable supply chain, like:
Ensure that goods are being transported as energy-efficiently as possible
Focus on finding sellers and suppliers who are based locally (instead of overseas)
Reduce paper usage by focusing solely on web-based communication and marketing
Implement environmental initiatives, like planting trees or using renewable energy
Transportation emissions account for ⅓ of carbon output in the US, so focusing on this aspect of the supply chain is a great starting point.
5. Smart Labeling Practices
The way you label your products is extremely important. Consumers do read labels, and not just to check for reputable branding. When scouring labels, they’re looking for information on materials used, garment care instructions, and anything they can find to confirm that eco-friendly manufacturing practices were used.
The “ecolabeling” movement is on the rise. When consumers read labelling information, one of the main things they’re looking for is a seal of approval that shows ethical practices. This has motivated retailers to engage their consumers by promoting sustainability, directly on the labels.
6. Share the Product via Social Media
Earlier on, we mentioned that consumers want to be given the chance to speak their minds. Giving them an outlet to provide reviews and ratings is one way to accomplish this engagement tactic, but there is another way to open the conversation even more.
According to Forbes on the power of social media, “a robust social strategy is critical. Social media channels have quickly become the backbone of business strategies and are key to building meaningful connections with consumers to drive long-term brand loyalty.”
Social media platforms are one of the most powerful engagement tools for brands in 2021, so it’s wise to make each of your products shareable via social media. This way, consumers can speak their minds about your product – and your attitudes on sustainability – on a platform that’s visible to other consumers.
7. Direct Link to Your Shop
Utilizing affiliate links that take consumers directly to product pages is yet another engagement tactic. Not only do direct links increase the chance for online purchases, but they’re an amazing way to inform consumers of your current sustainability practices and efforts.
Direct linking goes hand-in-hand with buyer engagement. It allows you to incorporate ‘Buy Now’ buttons linking directly to product pages, and you can easily build them into your social media accounts as well as external sources, like blogs and other affiliate marketing sites.
8. Easy Handling with a Specific QR-Code for the Product
QR codes are a great resource for quickly and easily providing consumers with product information. They enhance marketing strategies by giving brands greater reach to consumers. Plus, utilizing QR codes allows a brand to engage and convert a wider target audience by linking from offline to online platforms.
An even bigger reason to use QR codes for specific products is that smartphones have taken over the world of consumerism. Nearly 50% of the global population uses smartphones, so it makes complete sense that focusing on mobile-friendly content can improve consumer engagement. Using QR codes is one way to do that.
Over the past decade, consumerism has made leaps and bounds toward more sustainable buying habits. Before purchasing a product, the new norm is to research the brand as well as the specific product to ensure that sustainable compliance has been met.
Now is the time to put an emphasis on sustainability. This is the perfect opportunity to engage buyers in order to keep them on the right track when it comes to sustainable shopping. The Bomler Compliance Portal works to connect sustainable suppliers with eco-friendly brands, offering a completely transparent platform for supplier and product information. Register to start your free trial and start engaging your consumers towards an attitude of sustainability.