2020 Retail Trends: Why shopping sustainably is now easier than ever

Tatiana Larsen, CEO of Voucher Shares

Reflecting upon 2019, the subject of sustainability has increasingly become an ongoing conversation between brands and consumers alike. With more evidence depicting the growing impact  that the retail sector is having on our environment, consumers are becoming ever more conscious of how their shopping habits are contributing to this. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Voucher Shares stated that, 25% of consumers will shop more sustainably going into 2020. However, with that in mind, there has also been a significant growth in the fast fashion industry, which has seen a 21% growth over the past 3 years, playing a crucial role in the carbon footprint of the retail industry. However, it is now becoming easier and more affordable than ever to shop sustainably in 2020.

Invest in brands that are driving change

Previously, consumers have been hesitant to purchase sustainable garments due to these items typically costing more.  However, with sustainability at the forefront of consumers expectations, more affordable, high-street retailers are making the transition to provide sustainable fashion. With this choice being made available by multiple retailers, it is now easier than ever to catch a bargain whilst being environmentally friendly.

Although, it is equally important to consider venturing outside the high-street. There are many independant, smaller retailers working off the moral of sustainability, offering high-quality clothes and accessories. Recognising and supporting these brands is crucial for expanding the potential of shopping sustainably.

Ending an era of serial returning

This year, 30% of shoppers admitted they deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items. And this number is being further encouraged by retailers offering ‘free returns’ and ‘buy now pay later’ schemes.

However, the culture of bulk buying and returning is having a detrimental effect on the environmental footprint of retailers. With a lengthy process already in place to deliver parcels, this is being repeated when items are being returned, hugely increasing carbon footprint. To avoid this, retailers are beginning  to introduce systems which detects serial returns and encourage consumers to avoid doing this excessively. Equally, consumers need to become more conscious of the effects returning items has on the environment.

Seeing the reward of being sustainable

Shopping sustainably can be incredibly self-rewarding, knowing a simple purchase or decision has essentially contributed to benefiting the environment. However, it would be even further rewarding to receive a physical reward for your sustainable efforts.

As consumers we are incredibly influenced by those around us. And this can be used as an advantage when sharing the message of sustainable shopping. To leverage this, retailers need to introduce reward systems, praising consumers for interacting and sharing the message of sustainable shopping with their family and friends. Having this in place gives shoppers the option to share deals with their friends and get rewarded for it. So, essentially every pound spent on sustainable purchases ultimately helps to save our environment.

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