Consumers want to buy green products. They also want convenience and value for themselves and their family. An incredible 80% of people say they want to buy sustainable products, but only 20% follow through. When it comes to the millennial generation, the numbers look more promising with 68% having bought a socially or environmentally responsible product (Conecomm CSR Study 2017).
The fact is, most people want that green product, but not at the risk of losing out on convenience, flavor, functionality, or anything else that is important to their way of life. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can add value to your products, making them more appealing to consumers, yet still meeting their normal expectations of the product. Here are a few ideas for a green sales strategy.
Recycled and recyclable packaging (the easiest green sales strategy)
Simply switching your packaging to recycled material makes a huge difference. When you do this, you aren’t contributing to the destruction of virgin trees and that is a huge help to the environment. If your packaging is also recyclable, this will then be given back to the paper industry and made into something else, again saving trees.
Both of these – made from post-consumer waste (PCW) or recycled material and the recycling symbol – can be indicated on your product packaging, letting consumers know you care. And it won’t cost them any more money to buy it!
In addition to using recycled and recyclable materials in your packaging, reducing the amount of packaging you use is important. Using smaller packaging for smaller products. Using less packing material and making it environmentally friendly – such as natural wood or flax fillers. You can also eliminate plastic in favor or recyclable paper and reduce the number of layers of packaging to keep it to a minimum.
Not only will this be better for the environment, it will save you money on packaging and shipping costs (they will weigh less and be smaller), savings that can be passed on to the consumer.
Manufacturing close to home
When a product is manufactured close to home, the shipping costs are lower. This is incredibly helpful to the environment because it will reduce your carbon footprint. It also indicates support for the local economy.
Yes, these products cost more for you to produce and for the consumer to buy, but many are willing to pay more for something that is locally produced. Being able to put a Made in (COUNTRY) symbol will let people know the product was made close to home.
Consumers can easily see that your packaging is recyclable. They can easily see if you have minimized the amount of packaging used. But there are so many other things you can do to make your product green that they can’t see just by looking at the product or the package. That’s why your sales strategy must be able to communicate these efforts to the consumer through the use of eco-labels.
When you work to decrease your energy consumption, green your supply chain, and reduce your carbon footprint, there are many steps to this process. You might be sustainably sourcing raw materials or using an ethical manufacturer. You might be using green shipping and buying carbon offsets to help reduce your shipping carbon footprint. You want consumers to know you are doing these things, and that’s what eco-labels are for.
Eco-labels require you to apply and get third-party certification that shows you have met the sustainability criteria for that certification. When you get a certification, such as Green Seal or European Union Eco-Label, you can include that eco-label on your product and consumers will see the lengths you have gone to in order to ensure your company is sustainable.
Align environmental benefits with consumer benefits
Ultimately, consumers need to know that the product will do more than just save the environment. If you can align your product’s environmental benefits with consumer benefits, you will have a win-win situation.
For example, Coca-Cola created environmentally friendly coolers that were better for the environment and saved consumers money on their energy bills. Consider environmentally friendly cleaners that will also reduce the exposure to chemicals in the home, something that is very important to consumers with young children or pets. Whenever you can combine benefits in this way, people will notice, and they will buy.
Remember, when you are talking about the value of your product, in the consumer’s eyes, this means the value of your product compared to another. You want the inherent value of your product to stand out when it’s on the store shelf. After all, this is where people are making their decision to buy. This is where they handle the different products, looking over the product and packaging, and choose the one they feel offers the best value.
Consumers consider sustainable products valuable, but they have to see how that product is sustainable when it’s sitting on the shelf. Recycling labels, minimal packaging, Made in (COUNTRY), and eco-labels all help communicate the value the product delivers. So does listing the benefits of the product on the package. All this means it makes economic sense for your company to invest in fulfilling the requirements needed to qualify for these packaging labels.
For more information about sustainability branding, check out our eBook "Carbon Offset: Certification, Index, and Labels that Can Support Your Brand".