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Sustainable Retail Practices for a Richer Environment

Whether it’s discount stores, supermarkets, or shopping malls, the primary objective of retailers is to enhance the in-store experience of the customers. However, they should always keep in mind that the retail operations that they undertake should not hamper the environment around. Retailers should look to adopt sustainable methods of business practices to ensure that the environment is not affected adversely. Retailers should think about the eco-system they reside in, and look to secure it from further depletion. Let us have a look at the various actionable steps that retailers can easily take to conserve the environment and eco-system around them.

Sustainable Retail

Steps that retailers can take to safeguard the environment

  • Retailers should always look to make the most judicious use of energy possible. Efficient use of energy by retailers is not just good for the environment, it also helps them increase the margin of gains. According to figures from the (Small Business Administration), supermarkets acquires profit margin of 16% and enjoys boost in sales per square foot of US $44 on a 10% reduction in energy costs. Discount retailers too avail similar advantages.
  • Retailers should lay a lot of emphasis on conserving energy. Lighting is a major area of focus for retailers. Retailers want the perfect distribution of lighting that will help enhance the in-store experience of the customers and increase shopper engagement. To achieve this, retailers can sometimes they can go a little overboard. Retailers should look to conserve energy by switching off lights when not required and by resorting to lighting systems that are energy-efficient. This will save energy by evenly and efficiently distributing light throughout the store.
  • One way retailers can limit the amount of waste is by going paperless. Cash receipts can add to the bulk of wastes and retailers should look to curtail this. Retailers should look to provide their customers with digital receipts via e-mail. Not only will it avoid the unnecessary use of paper, but also help retailers increase their online fan base. The digital receipts can be sent with the link of a dedicated social media page of the brand, or even the website. This will also help in establishing a high degree of shopper engagement.
  • Retailers should look to discourage the use of plastic bags. It’s no secret to anyone the amount of damage the environment is subject to due to plastic. Retailers should urge customers to make use of reusable bags. This will help in limiting the amount of plastic used and conserve the environment. Retailers should also look to make the use of plastic bags chargeable, which will further discourage customers from using them.
  • Retailers should look to pass on the message of the importance of conserving the environment through their store design and layout. Adopting a ‘Go Green’ theme of store layout, or something similar will help the customers understand how the retailer/brand cares about the environment. They can also place environment & cleanliness tips/directives throughout the store like ‘please turn off the lights of the changing room once done’, ‘paper in the bin please’, ‘reusable bags appreciated’, etc. This will add to the overall in-store experience of the customers as they will look to adhere to the directives, keeping in mind the welfare of their environment.

Although the primary objective of Brick-and-Mortar retailers is to establish maximum amount of shopper engagement by providing them with a one of a kind in-store experience, it should not be at the expense of harming the environment. Smart retailers will look to ensure both by resorting to the steps listed above.

About Shakuntala Sarkar

Shakuntala is a marketer with 15 years of experience in Marketing Strategies & Operations, Brand Communications, Customer Relationship Management and Corporate Communications. An economics graduate from St Xavier’s college, Kolkata and a IIMC she, has worked across different industries like IT & Retail, with consumer marketing in both B2B and B2C segments. Before joining Tickto, she was the Head of Customer Relationship Management at Spencer’s Retail. Prior to that, she has been a part of the Global Marketing & Communications team of Satyam Computer Services.

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