Sustainability in eCommerce: 8 Effective Marketing Campaign Ideas For Brands
Here’s how brands can market sustainability to shoppers:
Shoppers are becoming more conscious of the importance of sustainability initiatives in and outside the eCommerce marketplace. Eco-friendly brands are gaining momentum at an unstoppable rate. It is now more important than just implementing eco-friendly brands to win consumers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2021 end-of year report alerted consumers as well as brands that were directly affected by the global climate crisis.
The report prompted immediate action and, as a result, sustainability and ecofriendly initiatives have become standard practice for eCommerce brands. Marketing is another challenge eCommerce brands face. It is not easy to inform consumers about sustainable business practices and other value-centric business strategies.
Brands can still increase brand engagement and loyalty by using the best marketing strategies, partnerships, and best practice. Let’s look at some of the tried-and-trued sustainable marketing campaigns and see how eCommerce brands are leading in sustainability.
1. Your commitment to sustainability should be made public
Although it is the most effective marketing strategy, transparency in sustainability communication is often overlooked. The trend for transparency between brands, consumers and each other is growing in the age of social media marketing —. According to Yotpo’s 2022 State of Brand Loyalty Survey 85% of global customers and 90% of global Gen Z consumers are more likely to purchase from brands whose values align with theirs. Many of the values consumers identified as buying influencers include sustainability, fair trade practices, and eco-friendly initiatives.
This makes it more likely that shoppers will support brands that show they care about the same causes as them and are able to demonstrate this. Customers will be more likely to trust brands that are committed to sustainability by providing them with information about how they approach it and supporting charities . This information can be communicated in a number of ways.
2. Show love to local vendors who share similar brand values
Another way to connect to your customers using sustainable marketing, also known by green marketing, is to promote local vendors or nonprofits or companies with similar brand values. This strategy allows your brand to reach new customers who might not be aware of your shared values with other brands, individuals and organizations.
The Yotpo Grow brand Sustainable House Goods is one brand that has successfully executed this strategy. LaToya Ticciarone, founder of Sustainable Home Goods, stated that her mission was to “partner with artisans to sustain jobs in their local communities as well as create the potential for new ones” ().
3. Your customers should be educated about climate-neutral shipping practices
Another idea for a marketing campaign is to educate customers and show them how your company uses recycled or recyclable materials, and shifts towards climate-neutral shipping. It is no secret that climate-neutral shipping and using eco-friendly packaging materials are more costly. customers are more willing to pay less (e.g. If a brand is sustainable, shoppers will pay more for ecofriendly shipping.
There are several ways you can communicate sustainability best practices to customers. Providing educational information in your brand’s onboarding messaging to new subscribers. Listing the amount or types of recycled materials used on product pages . Creating a product page guide to help customers recycle and reuse packaging.
In addition, you can educate your customers and send them instructions via email or SMS on how to recycle your packaging materials. This will make it easier for them to achieve their sustainability goals. It will also reinforce your brand’s ecofriendly approach.
*Based on Yotpo’s 2022 State of Brand Loyalty Report
4. Reduce return rates by focusing on the reduction
Promoting climate-friendly return policies is a great way for your brand to show off its eco-friendly packaging. Your brand’s commitment towards sustainability can be extended by focusing on reducing returns rates. Going one step further, focusing on reducing returns also demonstrates your brand’s commitment to sustainability. Less returns means less carbon emissions .
Product enhancements combined with a successful review strategy , including improved quality, size, product descriptions or shipping, can lower carbon emissions and help shoppers feel confident about their products. This will allow them to make informed choices when they checkout. Displaying customer reviews on sizing and quality, shipping, installation, and other details. displaying customer reviews on sizing, quality, shipping, installation, etc.
Greats is a shoe company that aims to make fashion-forward, durable shoes. However, not all shoes are the same size and customers have different shoe sizes. The use of analytics and reviews, specifically to create customized Review Forms asking shoppers for feedback on product fit has helped Greats reduce their return rates. Customers’ actionable insights help reduce return rates and lower carbon emissions. This ultimately helps to reflect the brand’s commitment towards sustainability.
5. Display your environmentally-friendly, sustainably-sourced products
Customers value environmentally friendly packaging and climate-neutral shipping. They also want to ensure that the materials they buy are sustainably sourced. Ensure that customers are informed about the eco-friendly and sustainably sourced materials of your products to help them stand out from the rest.
On Running is one brand that successfully showcases the eco-friendly materials in their products. On, a shoe company on a mission of turning carbon emissions into running sneakers, educates customers about the technology that they use to sustainably source their materials. On empowers customers with every purchase by educating them about the technology that transforms carbon emissions into reusable energy. On stands out from the rest by displaying this information on-site, in product descriptions and via educational articles.
6. Engage customers by promoting causes that are close to your brand
Analogous to highlighting local vendors and organizations with similar brand values, is partnering with sustainability-focused organizations and nonprofits. Partnering in sustainability-focused organizations and nonprofits can increase brand awareness. Build trust with customers. Show sincerity about your brand’s commitment towards sustainability.
Example of on-site donations integrations
Yotpo’s integration to ShoppingGives provides easy-to use social-impact solutions to D2C eCommerce brands like Greats and Steve Madden. They allow brands like Greats to connect with charitable organizations and make donations. It allows brands to reward customers who donate or redeem rewards for donations. This helps educate customers and connect them with causes that are close to their brand. Integrations such as ShoppingGives, which go back to the original strategy, help brands reinforce their values and strengthen emotional connections with customers.
7. Make a program “for you and for your X”.
This marketing strategy was popularized by brands such as TOMS in the 2000s. Another successful strategy is to pay it forward through a “for and for” program. These programs can help raise awareness and support other causes that your customers are passionate about like food insecurity and houselessness. These programs can be easily integrated into existing loyalty programs and can create an emotional connection between your customers and you.
Tentree is a sustainable fashion brand that aims to reduce the impact of harmful manufacturing practices. Tentree gives customers unique QR codes to identify the trees they have planted. This helps to bridge the gap between sustainability and customer engagement. Tentree allows customers to feel connected to their sustainability program by signing up for an impact wallet. Simply scan the QR codes on your purchases to create an interactive digital forest. Customers can then add them to their loyalty accounts.
Tentree’s live tree is planted counter
8. Multichannel communication is key to communicating your mission
Another way to demonstrate your brand’s commitment towards sustainability is to use innovative digital marketing strategies. Although physical marketing strategies can still be effective in promoting your brand to customers who are not physically present, digital marketing strategies are more efficient. Consumers are now spending less time offline and more online using their mobile devices. A recent survey found that consumers spend around five hours per day online. However, this is a trend that has made social media marketing and SMS marketing more efficient and sustainable ways to market your brand to shoppers.
A recent survey found that SMS is a more effective way for consumers to interact with brands 47% more shoppers are more likely than email to receive a brand message . SMS is the best way to communicate your brand’s sustainability efforts quickly and effectively in time for Earth Day or during any other value-centric marketing opportunities.
The Parks Project uses SMS to inform customers about new products and sales. The Parks Project realized that shoppers and audiences are spending more time on smartphones and wanted to reach them to inform them about future collaborations with parks they support and work hard to preserve.
Green marketing will continue to be
highlighting the sustainability efforts of your brand builds trust with customers and strengthens emotional connections. It also reinforces the importance to protect the environment and give back to the community. In an age of eCommerce expansion, it is more important than ever for brands to promote sustainability. It’s important to remember that we are all in this together and aspiring for a better future.