As sustainability bleeds into mass market products the question is how can manufacturers take advant
Ever heard of retail therapy? Did you know that only a third of purchase decisions are made ahead of time, outside the store? Since a key report by Knutson uncovered the basic neurology of impulsive purchases, recent studies continue to affirm alternating activation of pleasure and pain centers.Companies need to understand those strategies that lead to unplanned, or impulse purchases. This is especially important in a time of diminishing disposable income.The Impulse BuyImpulse buys satisfy the desire of the moment – often at a higher cost than the price tag. With today’s social climate of transparent information, consumers increasingly hold companies accountable for pollution, excessive packaging, and unethical employment practices. The question is – are we seeing a new breed of impulse products? And are they being influenced significantly by macro consumer trends? The answer is, inevitably, yes, at least for developed markets. Brand manufacturers need to develop strategies that increase market share over the short to medium term.The New ConsumerAs the sustainability meme spreads, more and more consumers aspire to be “green.” A pivotal study, “The Green Revolution” discovered “light” and “dark” green consumers. Dark greens– who insist on sustainability and gladly pay a premium—compose a mere 9% of shoppers. However, 89% identified as shades of “light green,” leaning towards green products while realistically balancing considerations like effectiveness, safety, and price. BBMG, took the concept to heart: they have released annual reports on the evolution of “light green” consumption for three years. Their 2011 report predicts a tipping point in green consumption, where the influence of light greens will finally scale true sustainability to mainstream consumption. The increasingly-knowledgeable light green consumers weigh many factors whilst purchasing, so their pain response could be tripped by a number of Although light greens do not research products, they remain fiercely loyal once they have found an effective sustainable product.considerations. Because environmental awareness has been on the social radar for a while, consumers face green fatigue and even toss around the phrase “green-washing.” Although light greens do not research products, they remain fiercely loyal once they have found an effective sustainable product. Socially connected, this group spreads the word of mouth to their friends via connected social media on mobile devices.Disdainful of advertising, this group trusts friend recommendations more than company claims, especially within Gen Y who as a core impulse purchasing demographic group crave realism and rely on peer advice.Impulse Without RegretOver 60% of all “green” product purchases are made on impulse, often out of simple curiosity.Over 60% of all “green” product purchases are made on impulse, often out of simple curiosity.In fact, 84% of light greens admit their first eco-conscious product was an impulse purchase brought on by curiosity and an impulse urge. And the environment is only one facet of sustainability – everything from workforce employment, to packaging, ingredients source and waste disposal is subject to scrutiny. Companies can use in-store contact points including, POS displays, or RRP to stimulate light green consumers’ curiosity, and even charge a higher price for products successfully positioned as sustainable.When Clorox first introduced their Green Works cleaning products, consumers gladly paid a 25% markup over conventional products. Even wading into the crowded Wal-Mart shelves, and even with the Recession forcing prices lower, the company’s market share continued to climb through this year to nearly 50%.Consumers get around green-washing by searching for signs of authenticity, like third-party certification of social and environmental benefits. This may be why 75% of consumers say a Fair Trade Label makes them feel positive about a purchase, and 30% say it increases purchase interest. (Harvard Research, 2011) The most important signal of sustainability in almost every single product category is packaging. It makes sense – not many will buy an item designed to help the environment if it comes wrapped in polluting layers.Sitting PrettyPackaging influences purchase even more than store atmosphere. People first notice color, then shape, and finally labels and logos. A sustainable product should hit those three notes. Color can be used as a cue. Consumers most likely associate green with sustainability, but too much green is perceived as green-washing. A distinct shape, like Method’s home and personal care products, can be made with earth-friendly materials to strike an authentic harmony. Finally, third-party certifications can be used to position the product as a holistically sustainable alternative.The Green Works product line features iconic natural images of flowers, accented with the sustainability cue, green. The traditional spray bottle prevents confusion about the product’s purpose. Finally, the Clorox logo adds credibility and trust – especially when combined with the Design for the Environment Certification.Taking it to the TribeThere are three key appeals to the new consumers: practicality, sustainability, and community. Light green consumers trust each other, and brands that enable communication between advocates will amplify this tendency. Clorox’s “Green Works” line includes a portal where consumers can post and discuss ideas for natural cleaning products. Beyond the web, emerging technologies let light green consumers explore and share sustainable products, or even punish unsustainable companies, anywhere. And as more and more people tune in to light green and sustainable consumption, companies will benefit or suffer in proportion to their efforts to court the new consumers. Companies that do not address light greens’ concerns will face social networks and media savvy. Just look at PETA’s sabotaging of Volkswagon’s Twitter campaign for signs of things to come.The New DesirePost-recession, consumers continue to demand fewer items of higher quality. From event give-aways to private-label groceries, less is more. A single item that will last twice as long can command a premium price. Using packaging to catch attention, including authenticity cues to overcome green fatigue, companies can seal the deal with a quality product. The combination will trigger an impulse buy, and create a foundation for customer loyalty rather than regret. The right positioning can overcome the pain response, giving consumers the joy of buying without the guilt.
Clothing, people, and the planet
Clothing brands are working hard to ensure they are as sustainable and as socially responsible as possible, from material selection, to retail and to recovery. The industry’s problems of the 1990’s - related to employment of workers in developing nations - seem to be well behind it, as consumers see their favorite apparel brands doing their best to improve the world.Industry leading sustainabilityFollowing the design of the Clever Little Bag last year, Puma is determined to lead the industry toward sustainable consumerism. In April, the Puma Boulevard de Sébastopol flagship store in Paris was remodeled as an eco-concept store. The store combines high-tech interactive features and numerous joyful elements, with eco-friendly materials, setting a high value on sustainability. Materials include energy-efficient lighting and FSC-certified sustainable wood, certified floor finishes and low-emitting paint, while clothes hangers are made from cornstarch. Puma has successfully brought a sense of joy into their retail environments while delivering a sustainable and innovative retail design. If successful, features of the store will be rolled out to other markets as well.Puma has also set itself the target of producing half its collection from sustainable materials by 2015. In September, Puma introduced Re-Suede, a redesign of the classic shoe from the 70s using recycled materials. The sole of the Re-Suede sneakers are made with a rice-husk filler – a by-product of the food industry, while the rest of the shoe is made from 100% recycled material. It is also 140 grams lighter than the original, reducing carbon emission by up to fifteen tons for every 1,000 pairs shipped.Bringing causes to the forePuma’s competitor, Nike, has also been adapting new green processes – they are setting up a venture-capital offshoot called the Sustainable Business and Innovation Lab to foster a new generation of green-technology businesses. By pursuing new sources of energy and sustainable production, Nike may be able to cut costs, whilst also helping to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.Nike is also leveraging their brand and reach to help communities and charity groups. Last month a video campaign from Nike went viral, presenting a ‘lost scene’ from the original Back to the Future movies, capturing Doc Brown’s efforts to buy a shoe for Marty McFly. The video was a precursor to Nike selling 1,500 pairs of Nike’s MAG shoe - the shoe made famous by Marty McFly wearing the futuristic footwear in Back to the Future II – on eBay. The auction raised nearly $5.7 million, with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox’s (the actor who played Marty) Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.The auction attracted the attention of celebrities and Back to the Future fans alike, with British hip-hop artist Tinie Tempah spending nearly $40,000 to own the first available pair. The campaign not only helped to raise millions of dollars, but also the profile of the charity, bringing the cause to the attention of many more consumers.In retail, Uniqlo has launched an All Products Recycling initiative in all of its UK stores, following the models already used in Korea and Japan. Customers can now hand over old Uniqlo products they no longer wear, which Uniqlo will sort and then donate to young people trying to get back on their feet after a period of homelessness.Wearing your eco-consciousness on your sleeveAs well as on the high-street, ethics is also a major trend on the catwalk. Inspired by the challenge of creating recycled clothing, Christopher Raeburn’s designs would have been unimaginable only a decade ago. Their uniqueness precisely comes from the fact that he limits himself to the utilization of re-appropriated military fabrics, constraining his choice of materials, sources and as a consequence also of styles due to the material at hand. As a result his collections have personality, giving consumers the individual look they desire. With more consumers looking to express themselves through the clothes they wear, coupled with an increased environmental consciousness re-appropriation is a growing trend in the industry.Sustainability and successBrands that connect with social issues tend to be more personable and more human than their counterparts. This provides something that consumers can relate and connect with.To illustrate this point we can look at the rising success of TOMS, who in their ten years have sold over one million pairs of shoes, and have now expanded into glasses, as consumers relate to their ‘One for One’ philosophy and transparency of business operations.Today’s consumers care increasingly about issues of business ethics and environmental stability, with more consumers wanting their brands to drive change. The sheer volume of the industry and the number of people it interacts with means that it can make a massive difference. As a result many mainstream companies are increasingly addressing the modern ethical buyer. Brands with an ethical conscience are now outperforming their rivals, as sustainability becomes a central growth platform.
Planes, trains, boat and automobiles
Getting food from a farm gate to a consumer’s plate is a complex business, requiring an increasingly diverse product range. Even with a drive for more sustainable food sources in developed markets, food miles are still going to be on the rise globally with Asia’s emerging class responsible for the growth.
The World's biggest brands are driving packaging innovations
Reduce, reuse, recycle – it was the simple mantra that marked the mainstream arrival of the environmental movement, and it still stands true today as one of the easiest focus that brands and consumers alike can have to help save the planet.
The rise of sustainable restaurants
Consumers are beginning to expect brands to be better for the planet, and in the foodservice industry brands have the opportunity to not only attract consumers by implementing sustainable initiatives but also directly improve their profitability by reducing reliance on the utilities grid.
Plastic bottles, and particularly those for milk, are one of the largest culprits of filling landfills. Over 18 billion rigid plastic containers were used for milk globally last year. With the US going through over 6 billion, which was equal to the entire consumption in Western Europe.
Retail looks outside food sourcing for sustainable options
It is not only restaurants that are looking to improve their sustainable footprint within the context of field to plate, but retailers are driving sustainable initiatives to cut costs in a highly competitive industry, while hoping to attract an emerging customer base into their stores.
Gaming is changing the shape of our living rooms
Video games were once sequestered to that stand-up Pac-Man machine in the back of a pizza restaurant. As time progressed they migrated to recreational rooms and basements where kids spent most of their time. More recently, they have found their place in the family room due to expanding applications such as playing DVDs and connecting to the Internet. Now they are not just for video games, but for general entertainment purposes.
The living room is fast becoming the place for daily exercise routines
Getting fit used to be something that most people would associate with busy, sweaty gyms or cold early morning jogs around the local park. However, consumers are increasingly using the home as a place to get fit and exercise, with technology being a key reason for this shift from the gym to the living room.
As our homes become less formal and our furniture gains a lower profile, our televisions are changing too.
The television takes centre stage
Even with the rise in popularity of the internet, televisions still have a central role in our lives, and in fact we are watching more TV than at any time in the last five years. But how people are viewing TV is rapidly changing.
The technological age spreads into the bathroom
It might be the smallest room in the house, but the bathroom is also one of the most important spaces in your home.
Rethinking bathrooms for the eco-minded consumer
As sustainability becomes an increasing issue for consumers, companies are finding more ways and more places to introduce sustainable products and systems. The bathroom is home to much of a person’s resource usage from water to beauty and grooming products, and is therefore finding itself in the midst of a sustainable makeover.
With space at a premium in most bedrooms, designers have started to integrate the functionality of furniture together in order to save room.
The finalists of this year’s Electrolux Design Lab were unveiled earlier this year at the UK’s leading department store John Lewis. The concepts explored what life may be like in 2050.
Kitchens revolutionize as consumers desire sustainable living
Sustainability issues are increasingly impacting our lives, with a number of new solutions to help us live more eco-friendly lives. Most notably we are witnessing changes in the kitchen where a few small changes can make a significant impact, as it is one of the biggest energy-consuming living spaces of the home.
The Triflow tap allows consumers to pour three types of water – hot, cold, and filtered, ensuring that filtered water isn’t wasted for tasks like washing up, whilst also helping tempt consumers away from bottled water.
The kitchen has become an extension of the dining room
The kitchen used to be a small and confined space, once the province of housewives, but as more women started working, and more families started sharing the cooking, today’s kitchen has become a place for socializing, interacting, entertaining and cooking. It has become the centrepiece for many modern homes.
Like other aspect of our lives, kitchens are going high-tech
The kitchen can be a veritable hotbed of technology. From the first labor-saving appliances, such as the washing machine, to more recent interactive devices, such as fridges that contact you when you’re running out of milk, we are always looking for ways to make day-to-day life more efficient.
As the kitchen becomes a more desirable and used space, more and more stylish and premium kitchen goods are coming to the market.
IKEA concepts for how the kitchen of 2040 may look
Our needs and desires are changing, as is the world we live in. As a result our homes will transform with us. At the centre is these changes our kitchens are set to revolutionize as they typify many of the trends that are most important to us.
In Buenos Aires a new coffee shop has opened that meets the growing trend for people to work remotely, which is estimated at between seventeen and twenty-six million people. The shop is filled with desks, conference rooms and electrical outlets, giving it the feeling of a trendy workspace more than a coffee shop.
Focusing on creating an immersive brand experience
There is a growing desire for service that is intuitive and worthwhile, adding a level of discovery and education to the shopping experience.
This year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa will take place in 10 stadia across the country, with five of them built expressly for the tournament.
Architecture that adapts and evolves
Our homes, offices and hospitals consume more energy than almost any industry or commercial enterprise – buildings make up over 40% of the total energy consumption in the United States.
Videos (8)Back to Top
We explore the rapidly changing world of laundry - how it is becoming more effortless and sustainable through innovations in appliances, chemistry, and textiles. In the future will our clothes need to be cleaned at all?
This video presents an overview of our relationship with food and drink packaging, the waste it leads to, and what the big brands are doing about it.
The final issue in our Home Series explores our evolving viewing habits, and our continued addiction to the television.
This episode looks at the the changing culture of men, and how today's youth are growing up without any stigmas of beauty products.
Here we explore our increasingly hectic lives and what it means for our lives.
Video looking at our wastefulness of food and how new designs are helping us save the environment.
Did you know that the kitchen is one of the biggest users of energy in our lives?
A brief video that presents the usage of the kitchen by both sexes.
Blog Posts (0)Back to Top
No blog posts found