Trends are commonplace when it comes to consumers. When something becomes popular, the trend grows and the item becomes extremely in demand. Sometimes consumers will go to great lengths to get this product. Trends have been dictating how warehouse managers stock their shelves for years. The amount of inventory stock ordered is meant to meet the demands of current trends.
Currently, a rising trend is not for one specific product, but for a theme around products. Consumers want to know where their products come from and how they are produced. They are what we call conscious consumers. Some of these consumers seek out organic options, where others look for fair trade. Some will search for ethically produced, sustainable or cruelty-free items. These consumers think twice before buying something and they are invested in the story behind it, not just the inventory stock item on the shelf.
Let’s peer into the world of conscious consumerism and how your business could respond to these consumers.
Understanding conscious consumerism
Basically, conscious consumerism places a deeper focus on the choices made during the buying process. For instance, consumers don’t just want a t-shirt that they like the look of anymore. Rather, they want to know where it was produced and if the workers were paid a living wage. They want to know that their working conditions were safe and that the factory isn’t producing exorbitant emissions.
Conscious consumerism aims to balance out consumerism through sustainable choices or ones to negate the downsides of current consumerism habits. The consumer’s buying power becomes a leveraging tactic. For example, they can opt to buy products that are better for the planet, rather than ones that are produced with harmful toxins or fertilisers.
You’ll see a few conscious consumerism buzzwords pop up these days. One is buycott, rather than boycott. The premise is that consumers choose not to purchase products from certain companies that have poor practices. This could be due to harmful substances to the environment, mistreatment of labourers, or even unsustainable growing practices. Buycotting is a staple of conscious consumerism.
Who is your typical conscious consumer?
Generally speaking, in order to support consciously produced products, consumers need to pay more for this option. They are informed and want to use their buying power to create and support positive change. Therefore, they are willing to spend a bit more. A conscious purchase is a vote in the right direction, in the eyes of a conscious consumer.
Studies have found that Millennials and Boomers, with disposable income, were more likely to pay higher prices for products they believed in. If they trusted the brand and supported their overall business premise, they’d pay a premium to support these values.
Is your business on board?
What’s your business doing to answer to conscious consumers? It might have started off as a trend, but it’s looking to be a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate. You can start small by using sustainable products around your office or warehouse. Opt for eco-friendly packaging materials when boxing up your inventory stock and reducing oversized boxes. Try to minimise the use of plastic and single-use items as well.
Companies like Patagonia offer repairs and options to recycle items for others to buy second hand. These sorts of initiatives will get you started. Take part in awareness campaigns and check out organisations that can support this step change. Look for fair trade, organic or sustainable societies to help guide you on this journey.Unleashed Software is proud to support environmentally conscious businesses like Karma Cola.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.