While consumers have become increasingly wary of products festooned with greenwashing, focusing on a few simple themes can garner gifters’ attention amidst the smorgasbord of holiday choices.
The greener good
With the economy falling apart, holiday pocketbooks will be thin, and there may just be a return to the true meaning of the holidays — goodwill and cheer. Consumers who do decide to buy material goods will likely be more precise and intentional in their gifting behavior. These holiday shoppers will be delighted with the green value-add: It feels good to buy, good to give and good to receive. Even though eco-friendly products are much more common nowadays, they still have cachet.
- Highlight green products with a special in-store section.
- Tout certifications and any alliances with green organizations.
- Be transparent about ingredients and manufacturing processes.
Thrifty holiday shoppers will be out to get more by consuming less. They’re over unnecessary packaging — for dark-greens, that includes new wrapping paper — especially when they have “to recycle or not to recycle?” weighing on their conscience post-party. For consumers fed up with “stuff,” this year’s holiday wish is for companies to help them in minimizing waste.
- List a few short green wrapping ideas on receipts (newspapers, “brown paper packages tied up with string,” crayon decorations, etc.).
- Feature reuse and recycle ideas on product packaging.
E-commerce is morphing into G(reen)-commerce. Last year saw a 19% increase in online shopping for the holidays (Comscore.com 12.30.07), presumably because it’s a great way to track spending and research products on the consumer’s own schedule. Because shopping online is already a great way to compare ingredients and read reviews, calculating conservation and finding green deets are logical extensions of the convenience.
- Describe how deliveries minimize fuel consumption and save shoppers gas money. (And provide free shipping whenever possible.)
- Cluster green products together in a prominent eco section of your site.
Eco-expert customer service
A shopper walks into a store and says, “I want to buy green!” Will anyone be able to help? Employees trained in explicit eco benefits can maximize shopper wallet share by helping consumers get the most green for their green with confidence and ease.
- Transform your sales associates into passionate brand ambassadors for eco-friendly gifts; the gifter will be all the more enthused to share the information with the giftee upon opening.
- Train employees to ask whether shoppers need a bag or a receipt, showing that your operation is keeping pace with the trend toward less waste.
When all else fails, good things come in small packages. Folks who have had it with useless tchotchkes may opt for cause-related gift cards that pay it forward, such as those offered by CharityGiftCertificates.org, TisBest.org and JustGive.org. Even traditional gift cards can be world-benefiting when made from recyclable bioplastic.
- Offer gift cards with percent matches toward a local cause or charity.
- Match bioplastic cards with purchasing intent; extend a discount on green-related purchases with use of the card.