In my day, the only footprint we talked about was Bigfoot’s. Today, the buzz is about our “carbon footprint.” As a lazy Boomer, I have to admit I have no idea what my carbon footprint looks like. However, many consumers ages 16 to 49 do. In fact, to the majority of younger shoppers, the environment and greenhouse gas emissions are of major concern. Rightfully so, they are the ones that will deal with it in the future.
As the ultimate “go green” industries, consignment, resale and antique dealers need to begin capitalizing on your environmentally-friendly merchandise. Studies show that if you are socially and environmentally conscious, younger shoppers (those 35 and under) will purposefully patronize your store.
Earth Day may only come once a year, but our industry is king when it comes to loving “Mother Earth.” Promote that fact particularly to Millennials (Age 20 to 34). This age group is very socially conscious. They need to know you’re in the business of helping the environment. Although studies suggest Millennials are concerned about the earth, others suggest they are often so cash poor they can’t turn beliefs into action. As a result, they’re looking to retailers to do the good work for them. Enter…consignment, resale and antiques!
Let’s face it, shopping at an IKEA store is just downright fun. It’s an adventure. It feeds that Millennial philosophy of “I gotta have it now.” Many younger consumers don’t want the carefully-collected antiques of their Boomer parents. As a result, 20-something college grads fill their apartments with cheap furnishings. However, Millennials want to set themselves apart. Whether it’s unique vintage clothing or furnishings, they have a “yearning for yesteryear.” (which for them is the early 90’s) Many companies are turning to “nostalgia marketing” and the resale industry should too. It’s the job of today’s consignment, resale and antique shops to prove to those younger consumers they can have it all and they can start now.
How do you convince the younger generations that purchasing another’s treasures is the ultimate sustainable, earth-friendly choice? You talk about it in everything you do. Draw on the “yearning for yesteryear” with “vintage” merchandise. Add a tagline to your logo that connects your business to the recycling craze. Choose a week when you promote every item in your store that’s green. Have your salespeople wear green T-shirts that say, “Everyday is earth day at …” Look for a variety of ways to promote the value you place on sustainability. Use bags made from recycled paper or have bags made with your own logo. Offer a small discount every time shoppers use that bag in your store. Create a “Friends of the Earth” shopper’s club. Everybody likes to be part of a club, right? Turn it into a loyalty program that rewards customers every time they choose resale over retail.
However you choose to do it, make sure you begin to promote this powerful aspect of the resale industry. It’s important to the upcoming generations so we need to start educating them now!
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