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6 Ways Shopping Centers Can Serve Sustainability-Minded Shoppers

5 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Mar 18, 2020 7:43:00 AM

The world is facing an environmental crisis that is worsening every day. The rising global temperatures and increasing sea-levels have caught the attention of many consumers. This, in turn, has caused a shift in the mind of today’s shoppers. They are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their actions.

Many shoppers have developed a penchant for sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free products. From clothes and accessories to food and cosmetics - sustainability is getting intertwined with various facets of retail. It is high time shopping mall operators recognize this trend and start leveraging it. Apart from boosting foot traffic, this will help you transform your mall into a new-age eco-friendly shopping destination.

Here are a few ways in which shopping center owners can attract sustainability-minded shoppers:

1. Promote Sustainable Fashion Brands

Today’s consumers want to know different aspects of the clothes they put on their bodies. From the raw materials used for production to the environmental impact of a product’s overall usage - they demand transparency. Moreover, they are particularly conscious of the type of packaging that is used to sell these products. That is why it’s crucial for your shopping mall to feature brands that encourage sustainable fashion.

For instance, Levi’s introduced its Water<Less Jeans collection in 2011. The idea behind this initiative was to make the denim production process less water-intensive. Likewise, in 2019, H&M launched its Conscious Collection that features clothes made from eco-friendly raw materials such as Piñatex. Many other renowned brands have started their own range of sustainable garments.

As a shopping mall operator, you should focus on marketing such brands at your property. Apart from clothing, you can also include jewelry and make-up brands that prioritize sustainability. In addition to helping you lure more shoppers, this will boost customer trust and loyalty with your mall and its tenants.

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2. Publicize Second-Hand Shopping Tenants

It is only natural for consumers to frown at the idea of buying pre-used products. However, when one overcomes this mental block, the possibilities are endless. It can be instrumental in reducing wastage. In addition to being environment-friendly, second-hand shopping is also easy on the wallet.

That is why it is essential for shopping mall owners to promote this approach. From electronic gadgets and antique furniture to vintage apparel and accessories - you can market various types of shops selling second-hand products. The key is to position pre-used goods as pre-loved keepsakes. You should develop a concrete marketing strategy that resonates with the sentiments of environmentally conscious shoppers.

Additionally, you can ask tenants to launch limited-period sales to promote these second-hand products and even use different social media platforms for this purpose. You can also take this up a notch by using a proximity marketing system to notify your onsite visitors about the sale which sends alerts to shoppers who are presently connected to the guest Wi-Fi of your mall.

3. Organize Farmers’ Markets

Your shopping mall’s eco-friendly endeavors shouldn’t be confined to retail. Today’s consumers are growing increasingly conscious of the food they eat and how it is produced. “Vegan” and “organic” have become the new buzzwords. You can leverage this trend by organizing weekly farmers’ markets at your mall.

Make sure these farmers’ markets include a diverse range of products - from organic vegetables and fruits to homemade marmalades and sugar-free treats. You can even introduce unique products such as handmade soaps, baked goods, vegan cheese, etc. Moreover, you can spice things up by organizing small events such as kombucha tasting, cooking classes, etc.

Such events transform routine grocery shopping into an exciting outing. This, in turn, helps you attract different types of shoppers, including families. Moreover, it sparks a conversation about your mall and lets you build an army of loyal shoppers.

4. Don’t Ignore Packaging

Sustainable raw materials and less resource-intensive production methods won’t be of much use if the products come wrapped in layers of plastic. That is why it is important for shopping mall operators to embrace eco-friendly packaging strategies used by their tenants. The first step is to encourage all tenants to minimize packaging. If and when this is achieved, encourage the use biodegradable or recyclable materials by letting your tenants know you'll market the stores that do this.

You should even ask customers to bring their own bags and containers to your shopping center. To encourage this habit, you can reward shoppers with discount coupons to be used at the businesses in your mall. Additionally, you can organize an exchange of discarded packets and boxes which your tenants can reuse the packaging collected from this.

5. Promote Upcycled Goods

Upcycling is an effective way of utilizing outdated and discarded products and minimizing wastage. For instance, you can build a new smartphone using chips and spare parts from other phones. However, no one will likely buy the phone unless you position it as a unique and exclusive product. It is, therefore, essential to change the consumers’ perception of upcycled products.

The best part about upcycling is that you can apply it to different types of tenants - from fashion brands to electronic products. However, it is crucial to generate awareness among your customers about its benefits. Additionally, you can offer gift cards shoppers can use with your tenants to drive more sales. The key is to create a buzz about the process of upcycling and grab the attention of shoppers with unique products offered by your mall tenants.

6. Embrace All-Round Sustainability

If you want to attract new-age environmentally conscious shoppers, you must reinvent your mall as an eco-friendly shopping destination. This means you should introduce sustainability in every aspect of your mall. For instance, you can reduce the overall electricity consumption of your mall using glass ceilings and windows. It lets you leverage natural light during the day and minimizes the environmental impact of using electricity at your mall.

Likewise, you should develop eco-friendly and natural alternatives to air-conditioning. It involves designing a proper ventilation system and planting plenty of trees to bring down the temperature inside your mall. Moreover, you can create common seating areas using upcycled furniture. You can even recycle glass bottles, crockery, packaging, etc. to decorate your property. It is also essential to market this to your shoppers about the approach being used for sustainable retail.

Conclusion

Sustainability is the need of the hour, and modern shoppers understand that. They want to know how a product was made and where it goes once they discard it. They want to do their bit to protect the environment. Shopping mall operators can take several measures to cater to sustainability-minded shoppers.

The first step is to introduce brands that sell sustainable and eco-friendly products as well as recyclable packaging. It is equally crucial to promote practices such as upcycling and second-hand shopping. Additionally, you can organize weekly events such as farmers’ markets to lure more shoppers. It is also essential to reduce the overall environmental impact of running a shopping mall.

What steps is your shopping mall taking to attract sustainability-minded shoppers? Share your views in the comments section below.

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Topics: Shopping Centers, proximity marketing, Wi-Fi Alive, Sustainability