The Conscious Consumer: Brands Without Sustainable Practices Are Falling Behind

Published: November 30, 2023

As consumers become increasingly aware of the need to be more sustainable, they seek products and services that align with their values.

Conscious consumers look beyond the immediate features of a product, focusing on aspects such as its environmental impact, packaging, and ethical production. Although conscious consumerism isn’t a new phenomenon, its prominence has risen in recent years in retail, where over 60% of US customers would pay more for a product with sustainable packaging.

Today’s customers are no longer willing to ignore the negative impact retailers have had on the environment. For retailers to succeed, they must anticipate and respond to this shift in consumer attitude.

As a result, retailers must move away from a culture of waste and previous fast fashion practices by leaning on the latest solutions that can help them reduce their carbon footprint, improving their overall environmental impact. By adopting item-level Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), retailers can do just that and remain appealing to the modern-day customer.

Bridging the Consumerism Gap

Today, customers seek meaningful interactions with brands that prioritize sustainability, ethics, and transparency. Shoppers not only want to ensure that their purchases positively impact the environment but also want retailers to have sustainable practices in place.

In fact, an IBM consumer report discovered that 51% of people indicated environmental sustainability is more important to them in comparison to a year ago. It was acknowledged that the purchasing choices people make are starting to reflect their outlook.

Today’s customers are no longer willing to ignore the negative impact retailers have had on the environment. For retailers to succeed, they must anticipate and respond to this shift in consumer attitude.

Consumer behavior is no longer static; expectations and preferences continue to evolve, and retailers need to constantly adapt their strategies in order to meet the ever-changing expectations of their customers.

One way retailers can do this is by utilizing RFID technology, which allows them to quickly identify and track items in real-time. This technology provides greater transparency and efficiency while helping to improve the customer experience.

As customers become more demanding, RFID technology will be an essential tool for helping retailers stay ahead of the curve. To remain competitive, retailers must adapt their strategies and offerings to meet the demands of today’s customers.

RFID and the Digital Advantage

Often, retailers overstock products that will remain on the store shelf for long periods of time, leading to increased waste and salvaged products. However, by deploying RFID tags, retailers can monitor inventory levels and anticipate sales demand, using data analytics to more accurately predict and respond to unexpected changes in the market, further improving customer experiences.

RFID tags allow retail staff to quickly locate products and provide customers with more accurate and efficient services. By leveraging this technology, retailers can unlock new opportunities for growth and profitability while meeting the needs of the modern customer.

RFID-based inventory management solutions provide retailers with improved visibility of their stock, allowing them to fulfill customer expectations efficiently both in-store and online. Retailers using data-driven inventory accuracy solutions have reported impressive ROI due to increased sales and the reduction of bloated inventory, with accuracy rates ranging from 93-99%. These solutions drastically reduce the number of out-of-stocks experiences and enable retailers to become more sustainable as well.

Tagging your way to sustainability

Retailers are always looking for new ways to improve sustainability and reduce their environmental impact to not only meet customer demands but also strengthen their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

RFID technology offers a solution to this challenge, enabling retailers to become more resourceful and minimize waste. The technology allows retailers to improve their carbon footprint in a number of ways.

With efficient and accurate inventory information, retailers can avoid ordering in excess, allowing them to eliminate emissions caused by unnecessary production, energy consumption, transportation, and potential waste of those items.

RFID technology can potentially revolutionize how retailers manage supply chains and environmental sustainability. With RFID in place, retailers can track products at every stage throughout the entire supply chain, making it easier for them to monitor their sustainability practices.

Additionally, RFID can help streamline their operations and operate on leaner inventory models to achieve the same rate of sales which is a win for both sustainability and profitability.

Retailers must take every possible step to reduce their carbon footprint, to not only meet the expectations of the modern customer but also to play their part in achieving net zero.

About the author:

Dean Frew is CTO and SVP of RFID Solutions at SML RFID.