Do it Without the Discounts: Unique BFCM Experiences Driven by Mission

More and more, today’s consumers are demanding sustainability from the merchants they shop with.

One study found that 66% of all respondents, and 75% of Millennials, say that they consider a brand’s sustainability when they make a purchase.

But sustainability doesn’t come cheap. The good news is nearly 90% of Gen X customers said they’d be willing to spend an extra 10% or more on sustainable products, and two-thirds of consumers from all generations say that they’re willing to pay more for sustainable products.

Even so, how can a sustainability-focused brand compete when it comes to Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping season, when most brands are luring customers in with massive discounts that you simply don’t have the profit margins to offer?

In our recent webinar, Loop’s president, Aaron Schwartz, moderated a panel with a few leaders in the sustainable ecommerce space to learn what brands are doing to differentiate and showcase their commitment to the greater good in a way that draws new customers – both through the holiday shopping season and beyond.

Our webinar featured:
Anshey Bhatia
CEO + Founder @ Verbal + Visual

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Jake Danehy
CEO & Co-Founder @ Fair Harbor

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Shannon Peltier
CX Manager @ Cotopaxi

Aaron Schwartz
President @ Loop

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Here are some of our experts’ top takeaways on what it takes to build a sustainable brand – and how to cut through the holiday promotion noise to engage and grow your audience.

Bake sustainability into your brand’s DNA.

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

“Sustainability is truly the lens in which we operate and evaluate everything within our brand,” says Shannon Peltier, CX Manager at Cotopaxi. “We evaluate our supply chain through a sustainability mindset. We approach the way we launch our products, how we explain our fit. We educate on our mission. I feel like it truly is such an integral part of our business.”

Take, for instance, the brand’s Del Dia line, which is produced from remnant fabric. “We went to manufacturing plants, we purchased their scrap material. And then we used that scrap material that was headed for landfills to recreate one of a kind pack designs, all the way down to zipper poles, zipper tracks – everything is designed by the manufacturer who is sewing that back together. Each pack is never alike.”

Peltier says that she was recently asked how the brand can justify the increased costs or decreased margins of using sustainable products. “We said, we never look at non-sustainable fabrications in fabrics. It’s always at the core ethos of everything we do.”

Make sure every product captivates your customers with stories.

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Jake Danehy, CEO and Co-Founder of the sustainable swimwear brand, Fair Harbor, says that every product they sell must meet three core goals.

“Number one, everything needs to be sustainable. Number two, every product needs to solve a problem. And number three, every product needs to tell a story that can be explained within a matter of seconds. And the reason that we have that is because people’s attention spans are milliseconds these days. And so you have to capture their attention with a product solution.”

Consider B-Corp certification.

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Customers don’t always trust your marketing collateral when it comes to your sustainability efforts – but they will trust a third-party certification program like B Corp, which requires certain sustainability metrics to qualify for membership.

At Cotopaxi, “our business operates under those best practices and we let people know that we are being held accountable and we have to hit certain standards in order to operate as a business,” says Peltier. “If we don’t hit that, we don’t operate. We’re not just pushing a sustainability front. We are living it. It’s in our bylaws.”

Look for opportunities to build a circular economy with your products.

Snippet from our Do it Without the Discounts Webinar.

Verbal + Visual, the agency that Anshley Bhatia founded, focuses on helping brands grow sustainably while reducing their carbon footprint.

The agency partners with third-party solutions, including Re-Curate and Trove, that help brands create a secondary marketplace for their used or open-box products online. He also suggests integrating apps that enable your brand to incorporate carbon offsets into each transaction.

Many of their clients also have stores, so Bhatia says that they can “utilize stores not just as retail windows, but to buy back a product and fix it up in the store, and then resell it and have a section focused on sustainability.”

Managing your returns through an automated returns solution like Loop can also help your brand find opportunities to avoid the carbon cost of return shipping, by routing specific products towards donation or recycling centers.

Want more insights on building and growing a sustainable brand? Check out the full webinar.