More and more businesses are finding ways to be eco-friendly any way they can. You can switch to LED lighting, use non-toxic cleaning products, or replace paper towels in the restrooms with hand dryers. But that’s just the beginning. Earth Day is April 22, so why not celebrate by choosing to go green — or greener — in your retail store?
Here are 5 easy-to-implement ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Recycle, of course. Even retailers use office supplies such as ink cartridges and copy paper, maybe bottles and cans, too. Find out what can be recycled in your area, and follow up.
- Go paperless. Modern technology makes paper virtually obsolete for both business and customer transactions. If you have a coffee station, ditch the paper cups in favor of the real thing. It’s classier, anyway. If you sell cups, by all means, use your own merchandise.
- Go plastic-less. Plastic bags, styrofoam containers, etc. overtly mar your brand these days. Paper bags are better than plastic, but choose products with maximum recycled content. Or reuse bags. Or invest in stylish branded bags customers can buy and use for repeat shopping. (Maybe even donate the proceeds to a local eco cause.) Ask customers if they even want a bag. If you sell fragile items, use recycled packing materials and boxes to wrap them for customers.
- Don’t neglect the maintenance of office equipment, lighting fixtures, etc.
Cleanequipment works more efficiently. This saves money as well as energy, and it reinforces your brand’s quality with customers.
- Steal from the big to benefit your small store. Every effort to go green makes a positive impact, whether your store is a tiny boutique, mall kiosk, or a household name such as Walmart. You may not have millions of dollars in your eco-budget, but you can still adapt ideas from the big name stores to fit your own place of business.
For example, 78.3% of retail chains across the US switched to lighting and plumbing activated by motion sensors. Along with installing hand dryers in restrooms, you can save energy by using motion sensors in your storeroom, fitting rooms, and display cases, if those options are appropriate for your store.
- Make it fun. Get your sales associates involved in thinking up ways to go green in-store by holding a contest. Better yet, hold a customer contest to drive greater engagement and sales. Host a “Go Green” promotion or special event in-store to launch the contest, and use social media to promote it and announce the winners. Reward staff and customers that walk, bike, or ride public transportation to your store.
- Sell it. Seriously. Shoppers and the community want to know you’re doing your part to protect our environment. More and more people are deliberately seeking out sustainability-conscious retailers. So when you go green, your sales and profits can go greener, too. But only if you promote your efforts. (Remember, you’re promoting the concept of eco-friendliness as well as your brand’s in-store solutions.)