Sustainable merchandising? Yes, you can!
These days, sustainability is an essential, rather than a nice-to-have. Many organizations and we have made the switch to a green state of mind, based on respect for our planet. And yes, you can also choose the most eco-friendly, sustainable option when it comes to merchandising. Really? Yes, really. You can find goodies that don’t break the first time you use them, end up in a landfill or pollute the environment.
Sustainable merchandising can be made from eco-friendly materials. But you can also choose items that promote a sustainable lifestyle. So, how do you choose sustainable merchandise? Check out our tips and tricks below!
Sustainability = part of your identity and image
The goodies you distribute or sell as a brand give a good indication of who you are and where you’re heading. Meaning your merchandising also influences your brand identity. Whether it’s a branded promotional gift, a gift with purchase for a product launch or a fun goodie or giveaway at an event.
Sustainability = think like a minimalist
Minimalism and a sustainable lifestyle go hand in hand. Instead of choosing the material option (let’s face it, who needs yet another toiletry pouch?), why not go for a fun experience instead? It’s a great way of ensuring that the item is really used, and you throw in a fun, educational or relaxing experience for free. How about seeds, which the recipient can use to grow a plant, or a bath set for some well-deserved me-time?
Sustainability = quality
Conscious choices make our future brighter. That catchy T-shirt may be a great way of putting your brand in the spotlight but what happens to it afterwards? Will the recipient use it to paint his or her house? Will it end up in a landfill? What happens if it has holes after a single wash or shrinks? Not exactly the most sustainable option, as you can tell.
Just like you want people to remember your brand message for as long as possible, you want your merchandising to be used as long as possible. How? By choosing sturdy, high-quality materials. And by opting for merchandising with a timeless appeal – wherever possible. While trendy, seasonal items stand out, they also will also quickly fall out of favor.
Sustainability = eco-friendly materials
Eco-friendly materials are made from inexhaustible natural resources (such as bamboo) or from recycled raw materials. We have some really nice recycled duffel bags and organic cotton caps. Hand-woven baskets made from vegetable seaweed fiber and knitted beanies made from recycled yarn are also a great eco-friendly option. If you prefer bamboo, there are lots of wonderful natural wooden items to choose from, including chopping boards. But did you know that you can also buy bamboo socks now? Goodies that are both fun and eco-friendly. The best of both worlds!
Or how about some sustainable recycled cardboard notebooks made from stone paper, which is tree-free and consumes less energy to make than standard or recycled paper? By choosing the more sustainable option, even when it comes to minor details, you and your organization can make a greater impact in the long term.
Sustainability = environmentally conscious lifestyle
Drinking bottles, lunchboxes, tote bags ... all trendy merch ideas, but they all also encourage people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. A nice drinking bottle will entice people to refill it more often. And if you have your cool tote bag with you, you won’t need to ask for a plastic bag in the shop.
But here too, there are lots of outside-the-box options to choose from for merchandising with which you can surprise your target audience. Perhaps your merchandising strategy demands a bamboo toothbrush? A salad-to-go box with different compartments? Or even a miniature shower coach to help you reduce your water consumption? This is a fun option if your company sells soap or shampoo, and you want to drive sales through a gift with purchase!
Sustainability = energy-efficient
Everyone loves fancy-schmancy high-tech merch! But are all these energy-consuming tech gadgets as eco-friendly as you think? That’s another story. Fortunately, there are lots of energy-efficient and practical alternatives available. How about a solar backpack that can be used to recharge your phone while walking? Or the ultra-cute Solar Sunflower for your desk? We love it!
Sustainability = local
So, have you picked your eco-friendly merchandise? Check! But have you given the source of your goodies some thought as well? You can choose the most eco-friendly material or product feature but if it has to be imported from the other end of the world ... well, then, why bother in the first place? Opt for a merchandising partner that produces in Europe where possible. Like us. Nice to meet you!
Karim is a Marketing Manager with a love for love brands.