Research & Insights – September 2023

Bringing the Sustainable Promise to the In-Store Experience

As consumers become more aware of the importance of sustainability and are more actively engaging in sustainable practices at home as well as investing in sustainable businesses, we examine how this increase in consumer awareness brings opportunities for brands and retailers to better understand consumer motivations and where they crave demystification, paving the way for a more thoughtful retail store experience that is in the service of facilitating change.

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Consumers are looking to retailers to lean into sustainability beyond the products they sell

Consumers are becoming increasingly informed about the benefits of sustainability and are experimenting with sustainable products and practices more than ever before. From using LED light bulbs, to reusable shopping bags and bottles, to eating locally grown foods, consumers everywhere are engaging in sustainable practices even when they don’t realize they are. Even the smallest change has the ability to drive long term benefits, and the same can be said of the actions brands and retailers can take in stores. 

In this survey, we investigate consumer awareness when it comes to the wide spectrum of sustainable initiatives available to them and how that awareness informs their motivations and prioritization when shopping in-store, facilitating opportunities for retailers to design store environments that are not only a place for procuring goods, but rather a place that drives education, enacts thoughtful and purposeful change and keeps sustainability and a sense of community at the core of all they do.

Key Takeaway

As consumers continue to embrace sustainable practices at home, they are looking to the brands they follow and admire to do the same in-store. Consumers view their relationships with brands like a partnership, wherein retailers are not only a provider of goods, but a provider of education and inspiration, serving as a real time resource into the products worth investing in, and the practices worth pursuing. 

As they evolve and their awareness expands, consumers are also becoming more clear about their motivations and level of prioritization when it comes to sustainability in retail. We see this evidenced through their desire for signage in-store that conveys a brand’s commitment to positive change in the environment and surrounding communities, through their interest in modular fixtures as a waste reduction effort, through their interest in recycling receptacles in-store for repurposing products and materials, as well as wanting messaging that communicates tips and guidance for product care throughout the product’s lifespan. 

Consumers want to feel good about the brands they invest in and more so than ever, they are wanting to know that their investment is in service of the greater good. Consumers are thinking beyond today, and when they look at the impact of their decisions upon the generation of tomorrow, they expect brands, retailers and developers to be right there with them, building a brighter future together.

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