How consumer demand for sustainability affects retailers

In-store recycling using a smart recycling machine in a prominent location provides a highly visible touch point with high levels of customer engagement.

Sustainability has become increasingly important to retailers in all sectors. It’s not just governments who are driving this trend, it’s consumers themselves. 

Those aren’t insignificant numbers. Even allowing for the fact that survey respondents tend to overstate the importance of sustainability, that’s still a lot of pressure from shoppers worldwide. Retailers need to respond or risk losing customers to competitors who are more focused on addressing sustainability. 

Ways to address sustainability concerns 

Retailers need to tackle sustainability in many different ways, covering every aspect of the manufacturing, shipping, and selling process. For example: 

  • Materials: reducing wastage of raw materials, sourcing more sustainable products and materials, and manufacturing products that are designed to be recycled. 
  • Packaging: reducing unnecessary packaging, and using materials that can be recycled. 
  • Transportation: reduce fuel usage with more efficient shipping and delivery, or by sourcing local manufacturers. 
  • Energy usage: reducing energy consumption in stores and warehouses with efficient lighting and temperature control solutions. 
  • Recycling: collecting used goods and packaging from consumers. 

Get your customers involved with in-store recycling 

Most of the solutions mentioned above happen behind the scenes. Customers have no input into these, and may not be aware of them. All they can do is to make informed choices about where to shop and what to buy. 

In-store recycling using a smart recycling machine or reverse vending machine in a prominent location provides a highly visible touch point with high levels of customer engagement, which has several important benefits. 

  • Increase awareness: when customers use the machines, this provides a perfect opportunity to tell them about what you’re doing and how they can get involved. 
  • Make customers feel good: every time they deposit unwanted items or packaging, tell them how they’re helping to address environmental issues 
  • Incentivize customers to participate: encourage customers to recycle by offering rewards in the form of loyalty points, discounts, or cashback.  
  • Collect more: making it fun and rewarding to recycle will inevitably increase the amount of recyclable materials deposited in-store.  

While this is by no means a complete sustainability solution, it can play an important part in supporting your other initiatives. Even if collecting recyclable materials is not a major part of your sustainability program, the machines enable you to show customers what you’re doing in other areas that they may not be aware of and make them want to continue purchasing from you.

Oskar Jacobsson

November 09, 2022


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