Earth Day is an important holiday where we remember that special someone that makes our lives better each and every day. The ground beneath our feet, the wind beneath our wings, and the oxygen in our lungs: the planet Earth.
Like any other holiday, Earth Day offers online retailers the opportunity for unique promotions and sales events. But unlike other holidays, Earth Day and environmentalism in general are popular topics this year. Considering the news lately, this Earth Day — April 22 — is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. (Fitting, too, because it’s the holiday’s 50th birthday.)
Below, we share the 9 best ecommerce Earth Day tips for brands to try.
1. Eco-friendly Alternatives to Popular Products
If you’ve read our popular guide The Best Ecommerce Niches of 2020, you already know that eco-friendly products aren’t just good for the planet, they’re good for business. The “Save the Earth” ideology has snowballed these last few years into a full-blown movement, with consumers becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of what they buy.
One of the strongest trends in 2020 is eco-friendly alternatives to popular products. New items like reusable food wraps and feminine hygiene products are on the rise, and traditional sustainable goods like metal straws, solar-powered gadgets, and energy-efficient light bulbs still sell well. If you don’t already offer products like these, Earth Day is the perfect time to add them.
2. Green Themes for Content Marketing
Join the conversation! On your social media and blog, discuss environmental topics and publish environmental posts. These topics are what people will want to read or see on Earth Day and the week preceding it. Just have your content ready beforehand so all you have to do is publish.
In particular, people are hunting for environmental tips, so consider sharing instructional articles and posts about how to live greener. One such topic, perfect for ecommerce, is a shopping guide on green products — share your expertise as a retailer to advise consumers on what to look for in green products and where to find them. If all else fails, prepare a short video with environmental themes.
3. Discount Eco-friendly Products
Already selling eco-friendly products all-year round? Earth Day is the ideal time for a sales promotion! With everyone’s heightened awareness of the environment, these products will see an increased demand. It’s naturally a time to attract new customers searching for green items, and offering these at a discount makes a great first impression.
4. Change Your Online Branding
If you’re looking for a low-cost, low-maintenance ecommerce Earth Day tip, you can change up your branding materials for a few days. The most common example is modifying your logo, typically giving it a literal green color, or perhaps changing some of the visuals to environmental themes.
You can take this tip even further by changing up your website backgrounds, social media banners, advertising, or — as we explain below — specialty packaging.
5. Use Eco-friendly Packaging with Earth Day Themes
Retailers may not have to worry about pollutants or deforestation, but one of the most egregious environmental issues we have to deal with is packaging. Serious environmentalists know this, which is why bringing your own tote bags to brick and mortar stores is becoming more popular.
If you want to win environmentalists (a market segment that grows bigger every day), you need eco-friendly packaging. We explain the ins and outs of making your packaging materials safe for the environment in our guide How to Make Ecommerce Packaging Eco-friendly.
That’s a general tip that’s effective all year, but if you want to capitalize on Earth Day in particular, add a special message on your packaging. If you’re using a special logo (Tip #4), use that on your boxes for the week. Otherwise, add a label that says your packaging is sustainable so customers don’t feel guilty.
6. Donate to a Green Charity
Earth Day may not be the season for giving, but it is a season for giving. In the spirit of the holiday, people tend to be more altruistic and giving, especially for environmental charities. Saying, “it’s for a good cause” may be the tipping point for that extra item in their cart.
Donating a portion of your profits to a green charity is a powerful incentive during Earth Day, with people actively looking for ways to “help out” or contribute. You can scale your donation to to incentivize higher spending, such as a percentage, or a base goal like, “If we sell X units, we’ll donate X dollars.”
If you don’t have profits to spare, don’t worry. An equally beneficial but more cost-effective alternative is tree planting. Just advertise that, “for every X sold, we plant a tree!” That makes customers feel good about their purchase, and may even convince them to buy extra.
7. Sustainability Pledge
True change comes from the inside. This two-step campaign entails, first, creating an eco-friendly business structure and environment, and then, second, publishing a “sustainability pledge” online so that customers can see it.
A sustainability pledge is basically a written agreement with your customers about your commitment to green practices. We explain both what goes into a sustainability pledge, as well as how to make your business greener, in our article The Importance of Green Ecommerce for Online Retailers.
8. Offer a Trade-In, Buyback, or Recycling Program
Although not applicable to some brands, for others this specific ecommerce Earth Day tip is a great way to engage directly with customers and work together. If you have a local presence, try hosting a trade-in, buyback, or recycling program where people can donate old items to you for reuse.
Recycling products like clothing or electronics, as well as trading in old items for greener alternatives, makes people feel more involved. It’s not only good for the environment, but also gives you the chance to meet customers in person — that kind of engagement is well worth the cost.
9. Give Green Gifts with Purchases
Last but not least… bribe customers! Adding free gifts is always a good idea for building customer loyalty and strengthening your shopper base, and for Earth Day those advantages double.
The key here is green gifts, the same kinds of products people want for Earth Day anyway. A good standard is reusable water bottles — they’re inexpensive, easy to ship, and you can slap your logo on them for a branding boost.
As we mentioned in Tip #6, don’t worry if you don’t have the budget for a free gift. Another cheaper alternative, and one that will help you stand out, is to offer free seeds as a gift. Seeds are pretty cheap, and planting a tree is a classic Earth Day tradition.
Takeaway: Think of the Future… of Environmentalism
Odds are, the current environmental crisis is not going to get better overnight. The need for sustainability, which influences the trends of eco-friendly retail, will be prevalent for as long as the Earth is in danger. The sooner your ecommerce store embraces environmental practices, the better it will be for you, your customers, and most of all, the planet.