Consumer awareness of the environmental and ethical footprint of their purchases is on the rise, including digital purchases and the “real or hidden” impacts and cost of eCommerce – and consumerism in general. From sustainability to excessive packaging, consumers are rewarding merchants who resonate with their value system.
-Did they really need to use such a big box?
-How far has this been shipped?
-How and where is this product made?
-Is this brand socially responsible?
Brands and merchants, big and small are using digital to appeal to consumers’ values – and consumers are increasingly guided by their values and ethics when making purchasing decisions.
Societal and environmental impact is exerting an increasing influence on consumer choice, and digitally-savvy brands are leveraging eCommerce to create the visibility and the transparency customers are seeking.
“Customers want to buy products that they can feel really good about.”
– Katherine Neebe, Director of Sustainability at Walmart
Everlane, a direct-to-consumer fashion label, was among the first eCommerce retailers to go “transparent”, providing a cost breakdown of materials for every product it sells. Sales are rumored to be growing in double-to-triple digits annually, despite Everlane’s absence of advertising. Word of mouth, site and social fuel their growth.
Reformation, a D2C sustainable women’s clothing and accessories brand shares “the true cost of fashion—not just the price tag.” in their newsletter, The Sustainability Report. They disclose their environmental footprint in terms of water, carbon dioxide, and waste, covering everything from growing the raw materials, dyeing, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and even garment care.
Canadian sporting goods retailer Sportium devotes a portion of its marketing and merchandising to its eco friendly collection, where “conscious brands and products” are a category of their own.
America’s biggest retailer (and the world’s largest grocer) set out, nearly 15 years ago, to become a leader in sustainability, throughout the value chain, including a Sustainable Packaging Playbook – A guidebook for suppliers to improve packaging sustainability for its suppliers.