How to Change Minds About Sustainable Loyalty Programs

How to Change Minds About Sustainable Loyalty Programs

Although sustainability has grow to be mainstream and new, sustainable merchandise are getting into the market at a speedy tempo. The fact is that they’re failing to acquire traction and scale available in the market. While prospects appear to assist the thought of doing the appropriate factor, gross sales on the bottom inform a really completely different story. With sustainable loyalty applications, retailers have a device to incentivize prospects to act on their beliefs.

Underlining The Message Through Trust and Loyalty

In the style and way of life sectors, we’re witnessing a wave of firms taking motion and integrating sustainability into their operations. Yulan Sustainability’s strategy is to work along with manufacturers to assist their board and founders outline their model values, ethos, and mission. Strong foundations and authenticity are essential to sustaining credibility and reaching progress. Brands which might be already consultants at speaking their targets and dedication are clear leaders. Companies like Patagonia, The Body Shop, and TOMS are utilizing sustainable loyalty applications to higher spotlight their worth proposition, form prospects’ relationships with eco-friendliness, and reward their members for making sustainable decisions.

The Body Shop rewards members for making sustainable choices
The Body Shop’s Love Your Body Club, a way of life loyalty program, rewards members for making sustainable decisions, like recycling their empty product containers and utilizing eco-friendly merchandise. Customers can even elect to use their factors to deal with themselves to their favourite merchandise or donate to a charity of their selecting. 

These market leaders make it clear which United Nations Sustainability Goals (UNSDG) they give attention to and acquire loyalty from prospects who align with their values. This easy message is simpler to share. However, in a time of digital overload, the problem for manufacturers is to get their followers to share that message with a wider viewers.

Purpose First – Where Companies Need to Put Their Focus

Firstly, firms want to give attention to constructing sturdy foundations and authenticity, speaking their targets and commitments, and utilizing loyalty applications as a platform to discover and assist model advocates to present optimistic word-of-mouth. By doing so, they will change shoppers’ minds and assist promote sustainable loyalty applications on a bigger scale.

Adopting accountable conduct and buying moral merchandise are the 2 hottest actions that present and future loyalty program homeowners need to reward: 50.8% of firms plan to reward accountable behaviors, whereas 51.6% plan to reward the acquisition of moral merchandise. Nevertheless, surveys clearly present that regardless of the need to make accountable decisions, shoppers usually are not following by way of with buying eco-friendly merchandise. However, in the event that they obtain encouragement from a good friend they belief, this might change. 

Ocean Plastic Photo from 10th Future Fabrics Expo
The Future Fabrics Virtual Expo showcases individually chosen sustainable materials which might be an alternate to right this moment’s most used textiles, that are predominantly created from polyester and traditional cotton fibers. The supplies deal with environmental rules established with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, and as well as, moral and native manufacturing, recycled supplies, and fully licensed provide chains are considered. (Source)

The Perception Pivot – The Key Challenges

Recent research reveals that buyers understand sustainable and environmentally pleasant merchandise to be much less efficient and infrequently dearer than their typical counterparts. For occasion, a survey carried out within the USA amongst 253 American shoppers evaluated two adverts for laundry detergent — one labeled as eco-friendly and the opposite not — each claiming to have the identical cleansing outcomes. The majority of shoppers selected the standard product, perceiving sustainability as an indication of decrease effectiveness. According to The Fast Company, “consumers seem to have rigid categories in their minds when it comes to products.”

Changing this notion poses a major problem for product-based firms that weren’t initially established as sustainable manufacturers. Here are three key challenges they face:

  1. Customers are spoilt for alternative

Since the 1850s and the Industrial Revolution, firms have been striving to manufacture merchandise at excessive pace, fine-tune the method, improve margins, and construct profitable companies. We have grow to be accustomed to low cost and extremely refined merchandise. This period of trade has lifted many international locations out of poverty, however it has additionally precipitated the worldwide depletion of pure assets and untold injury to the atmosphere. Companies are actually making an attempt to make extra sustainable merchandise, however creating an actual alternative of a extremely industrialized best-selling product is an enormous problem. It impacts each a part of the provision chain, and the result could take years to good.

  1. Humans are creatures of behavior

By nature, people are creatures of behavior. Since the pandemic, our each day routines have been modified past recognition. We not commute to the workplace each day with a flat white and lunch on the native sandwich store. We have shaped new routines round our purchasing, recycling, and disposal of packaging. We have modified what we eat, purchase, and put on, forming new each day habits to substitute the previous, with the bulk being on units. Once we kind a behavior, we discover it laborious to change.

  1. Our selections are influenced by others

Surveys have proven that individuals make very completely different sustainability decisions when in non-public in contrast to when they’re within the firm of others. A Harvard Business Review article cited analysis the place prospects have been requested to select between an eco-friendly granola bar (“Good for you and the environment”) or a conventional product. The sustainable possibility was twice as seemingly to be chosen when others have been current than when the selection was made in non-public.

Owner of the Sustainable Denim brand Blue of a Kind, Fabrizio Consoli.
Sustainable denim model Blue of a Kind recuperates and upcycles clothes. They use innovation to create results and bespoke colours mixed with Italian manufacturing to create distinctive and one-off items. (Source

Changing folks’s minds about sustainability and eco-friendly merchandise is complicated. So, how can firms do higher… and harness the ability of loyalty applications to assist them with these hurdles? Aligning a model’s function with its sustainable technique is step one in establishing an genuine model message. Patagonia, Toms, and The Body Shop are examples of manufacturers which have efficiently achieved this alignment.

Patagonia’s Worn Wear loyalty program.
Patagonia, the outside clothes firm, has a loyalty program known as Worn Wear, which inspires prospects to restore and reuse their clothes as an alternative of shopping for new gadgets. Customers can earn factors for repairing or buying and selling of their used Patagonia gear, which may be redeemed for reductions on future purchases.

How to Change Customers’ Minds

To change prospects’ minds, manufacturers can begin with these 4 steps:

  1. Educate prospects and produce them on the model journey 

For instance, a vogue model that replaces a best-selling cloth with a extra sustainable model faces many challenges that impression all the manufacturing course of. For occasion, It might require the equipment to be utterly recalibrated, making the method slower. The uncooked yarns could require increased minimal orders or be much less out there. Communicating the explanations for these adjustments and the funding required helps prospects perceive the model’s dedication to sustainability. In a sustainability-focused loyalty program firms can reward their members for watching movies that designate the model’s dedication or the explanations behind the adjustments.

  1. Understand the psychology of habits and use it to encourage sustainable behaviors 

Breaking dangerous habits and inspiring good ones requires making the sustainable possibility very seen, very straightforward, or the default. Brands can even use messages, reminders, suggestions, and rewards to reinforce optimistic actions. Changing conduct is a serious energy of loyalty applications. Using badges or challenges that reward members for repeatedly performing sustainability-focused actions (bringing again or donating previous garments) is a good way to achieve this. 

  1. Make sustainability a gaggle dedication

The e-book titled The Fashion Switch talks in size about treating each buyer as a model ambassador. By nurturing them and rewarding optimistic actions, manufacturers can unfold the message of sustainability and encourage others to make adjustments. Creating a community-driven strategy to sustainability helps prospects really feel accountable, uplifted, and part of the trigger. Loyalty applications might help construct a like-minded neighborhood, or foster a gaggle mentality. For instance, members may obtain entry to unique content material, early entry to new product gross sales, or invites to members-only occasions — that are nice methods to discover model advocates, too.

  1. Build belief

Earning the belief of shoppers who’re skeptical of sustainable merchandise and reward applications could take time. However, if extra manufacturers embed sustainability of their values and talk it clearly, the message will ultimately lower by way of. In right this moment’s world of omnichannel retail advertising and marketing, analyzing buyer knowledge is important for constructing model belief and interesting prospects. By gaining their belief, manufacturers can bridge the “intention-action gap.” Sustainable loyalty applications may be the right car for bringing prospects alongside within the model journey by rewarding the formation of latest habits and spreading the phrase about the advantages of taking motion. Social media contests, incentivized product opinions, and good friend referrals are all loyalty program options that may assist.

The ALIGN framework is a five-step strategy.
Yulan Creative’s ALIGN framework is a five-step technique that integrates and aligns any sustainability actions with the model’s values and function.

Sustainable Loyalty Programs to the Rescue

Implementing a sustainable loyalty program not solely helps cut back the corporate’s environmental impression, however it additionally engages prospects by offering them with alternatives to take motion on “green issues”. This involvement can strengthen the bond between the client and the corporate, main to elevated loyalty. A sustainable loyalty program is seen as socially accountable and environmentally acutely aware, subsequently it improves the corporate’s model repute, attracts new prospects, and helps retain present members who worth these qualities.

Discover extra about incorporating sustainability, recycling, and charity right into a inexperienced loyalty program to align model values with these of your prospects. Simply strike up a dialog with our workforce to uncover how our expertise can empower the launch or renewal of your loyalty program. Book a demo with our consultants or ship us an RFP. 

In the meantime, be sure to obtain our concept-building worksheet — it’s a useful device when it comes to brainstorming your loyalty program’s idea.

Headshot of Joanne Yulan Young, ESG sustainability and brand consultant, author of The Fashion Switch and founder of Yulan Creative

Joanne Yulan Young

Joanne Yulan Jong is an ESG sustainability and brand consultant helping purpose-driven businesses make an impact faster. She is the author of The Fashion Switch and founder of the award-winning agency Yulan Creative.

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