Sustainability as a driver of customer loyalty
10 Jun 2021
Sustainability: personal aspiration, corporate consideration
The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly changed how we live our everyday lives, and the way companies do business. It has also made us more mindful of how we shop and the choices we make.
During lockdown, the images of clearer skies, less polluted air and wild animals exploring the cities demonstrated that our actions do have a direct impact on the environment. Although people’s awareness of the need for adopting sustainable practices had already been growing before the pandemic, the latter accelerated its growth, making caring for the planet a major issue for both consumers and businesses alike.
Consumer awareness around environmental issues is now beginning to translate into an expectation from food retailers. According to our research, 60% of global shoppers now believe brands and retailers should do more to cut waste. In fact, the Spanish are particularly passionate about sustainable practices - UPS’s 2021 E-commerce report found that 64% of Spaniards wanted to see large retailers use sustainable packaging, more than any other country in Europe.
Retail Week’s survey of 10,000 European shoppers found that 75% of consumers want to be sure that the retailer they choose to shop with considers the environment in its actions; and in Spain, according to a research study conducted by AECOC in 2020, 75% of retailers and major FMCG stated they would invest more in sustainability in the coming months.
Many retailers have already taken action towards more environmentally responsible ways of operating, even before the pandemic. But are shoppers aware? Consumers are increasingly aligning themselves with brands that share their concerns for environmental issues, but in many cases great initiatives from food retailers go unnoticed—they remain within the realm of CSR and corporate communications—and do not get the recognition from consumers that they deserve.
By integrating a sustainability message at the heart of their loyalty campaigns, grocers have a unique opportunity to make their commitment to the environment more visible and at the same time build long-term relationships with consumers.
Loyalty campaigns can help grocers communicate their commitment to sustainability
Sustainability is not only a choice of product, but a choice of lifestyle. We believe food retailers are well equipped to encourage sustainable consumption among their consumers – and in doing so, build lasting relationships founded on shared beliefs.
Due to the reach and influence of food retail brands, consumer expectations around their sustainable practices are high. And grocers have already stepped up—food retailers in countries such as Italy, Germany and the Netherlands are leading the way in creating sustainability initiatives that benefit both their communities and the environment. By using eco-friendly rewards made of certified recycled materials—and a sustainable lifestyle concept behind them—they demonstrate the store’s commitment and deliver a tangible reminder that consumers can take home, closing a circle where retailers, shoppers and their families make a change for the better.
As Simon Hay, tcc’s CEO explains, “Sustainability is crucial in creating emotional connection and shopper loyalty. We can inspire shoppers to change their own behaviour, enabling them to make a difference.”
This emotional connection is also key to nurturing long-term consumer relationships. By implementing sustainability-focused loyalty campaigns, retailers can demonstrate that they understand what really matters to their shoppers. These campaigns are also a proven means to create brand advocates among consumers –if they feel their favourite retailer champions their same values as they do, they will be more willing to share their positive experience with peers.
If you’d like to see some examples of how all this comes to life, as well as examples of meaningful sustainability-themed loyalty campaigns, you can visit the tcc website here.