As the attention to environmental issues becomes increasingly mainstream and consumers become more mindful of their effect on the planet, a shift towards sustainability has emerged in consumer trends. In order for businesses to create long-term CLTV (customer lifetime value) they must adapt to gain trust and loyalty in an effort to appeal to the sustainable online shopper.

Studies show that 83% of all consumers are more likely to shop again with a brand that is trying to be more sustainable–making it essential for business owners to understand how they can go about attracting sustainable consumers. Here we’ll walk through seven strategies for doing just that!

Do consumers care about sustainability?

Do consumers care about sustainability? The answer is a resounding yes. As we become more conscious of our impact on the environment, the demand for not only sustainable products, but brands operating sustainably is on the rise. It's not just a trend, either–a whopping 74% of people believe it's important for brands to have sustainability initiatives. And the younger generation is leading the charge: 89% of consumers aged 18 to 25 think it's important, with 80% of those aged 26 to 39 sharing that view.

What's more, nearly 90% of all consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is, paying more to lessen the environmental impact of their purchases. And for those aged 18 to 25, that willingness to pay more can go as high as 40%.

If you're looking to stay ahead of the game and cater to the growing demand for sustainable products, check out EcoCart’s Consumer Survey Report on Climate Action.

Attracting the sustainable consumer

Sustainable shopping is becoming a hot topic for all generations. Whether you're a Gen Z'er fresh out of college, or a baby boomer looking to make a difference—we're all in this together.

According to recent studies, 91% of all consumers are concerned about carbon emissions, plastic use, and water waste in relation to the impact of ecommerce. But, drum roll please–61% of consumers are most concerned about carbon emissions.

It's clear that consumers want to make a change, but are they willing to sacrifice some of the conveniences of modern shopping? A staggering 67% of all consumers are likely to say yes and choose to buy from sustainable brands. So, if you're looking to attract the sustainability-conscious shopper, it's time to start thinking green!

Practice sustainable operations

The potentially massive impact your business has on the environment is no small topic but practicing sustainable operations can make a world of difference. Making small changes like cutting energy use, implementing recycling programs, and educating your employees can go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint.

And why stop there? Take the initiative to move towards sustainable sourcing and manufacturing practices and support fair trade. Not only will it make your business more environmentally friendly, but it can also attract customers who value companies who care about the planet.

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Get certifications

Getting certified is a great way to prove your green initiatives are legit. Not only will you know you're making a real impact on the environment, but you'll also be able to showcase your progress to your customers.

One kind of certification you can get is the B Corp Certification, which validates a company's social and environmental performance. Another popular certification is Carbon Neutral Certified, which means you're offsetting all of your business's carbon emissions.

Fair Trade certification is also becoming increasingly important for businesses that work with suppliers overseas. Other certification programs that you might want to check out include Energy Star, Rainforest Alliance, LEED, and BREEAM.

Use transparency in your sustainability plan

If you want people to take you seriously, it's time to get transparent. Let the world know about your goals, how you plan to achieve them, and when you hope to hit those milestones. And don't be shy about it! Green consumers want sustainable products and they want to know that you're really invested in making a positive impact on the world and offering real solutions to greenwashing.

And let's be honest, it's not just about feeling good. Being transparent about your consumer sustainability plan helps you build trust with your customers and ensures that you're not just hiding behind buzzwords like "green" and "eco-friendly." So step up and show the world you're serious about making a difference.

Share your sustainability journey

Sharing your sustainability journey does two things:

  1. Educates your existing customers on the goals you are achieving.
  2. Gets you in front of a new audience who is passionate about supporting sustainable brands.

There are a variety of eco-friendly apps that will ease the burden of sharing your sustainability journey with your audience. Things like adding a sustainability page to your website is a great way to showcase your commitment to reducing your environmental impact as well as adding features to your website like an impact counter to track carbon emissions and contributions. It also allows your customers to see the progress you are making in real-time.

Don't forget to share your journey on all your social media channels as well as look for partnerships in the sustainability world to help spread the word.

Switch to sustainable packaging

Alright, let's talk about packaging. We all know it's important, but did you know it can also be sustainable? Yup, that's right–by making the switch to eco-friendly packaging, you can attract even more customers who care about the environment.

So, what are some options for sustainable packaging? Well, recyclable packaging is a great place to start. But don't stop there–right-sized packaging can help reduce waste and packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials is another option to consider. The bottom line, by going green with your packaging, you help not only the environment but also your business.

Support initiatives close to your mission

If you're all about being green, then you should definitely be supporting organizations that share your mission. Preserving forests is a great place to start.

Trees are an essential part of our planet's natural infrastructure, and they're particularly important when it comes to mitigating climate change. But it's not just about the trees themselves—forests are also home to countless species of animals that rely on those habitats for survival.

Additionally, giving to local charity organizations is a great way to make an impact in your own community. When you donate to these organizations, you're helping to fund important programs and services that benefit your neighbors in need.

And finally, supporting marginalized communities is crucial if you're serious about being an eco-conscious business. The true cost of production and consumption often falls on the backs of those who are already marginalized, so it's important to do what we can to lift them up and support them in any way we can.

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Offer green shipping options

The final strategy for attracting sustainable consumers is to offer carbon neutral shipping options that will offset your carbon footprint when you cannot reduce emissions.

One way to do this is through a partnership with a sustainability software provider like EcoCart which will enable your customers to easily offset their own orders. You can also offer slower shipping methods (hey, saving the planet requires some patience, right?) and utilize green warehousing.

Attracting sustainable consumers: a conclusion

Businesses that invest in becoming more sustainable and telling their story transparently will build lasting connections with shoppers that drive CLTV through trust. The data itself is proving sustainable shopping is not just a trend, but a preference that is here to stay.

If you want to dive into the depths of sustainability strategies that will get you in front of green shoppers this year check out this free guide: Attracting Sustainable Consumers.

Nicole Johnson is the Content Marketing Manager at EcoCart. Nicole has been working in content marketing and branding for almost a decade. From food marketing to travel to economic development and tech start-ups she is a storyteller, strategist, and SEO who is passionate about working with brands that make a difference.