Sustainability has become a critical issue for the retail industry, and for good reason. With the increasing awareness of climate change and environmental issues, customers are seeking and even demanding in some instances, as part of their company policies, to align with traceable production methods and use sustainable solutions where possible. As such, this has led to a surge in eco-friendly products and practices to be applied for hire and custom displays which cover everything from floor to ceiling through to supply chain management.
EuroShop is one of the largest trade fairs for the retail sector which showcases the latest retail technologies and trends. To continue to be a market leader in the industry, Creative Hire travelled to Germany with SHOP! ANZ, the only global, not for profit industry association, in February this year. Our purpose was to reconnect with the global retail channel, bring back insights on the latest sustainable retail trends and innovations, and determine how to apply these solutions in our retail and event operations for an eco-friendlier future.
Let’s take a look at our 4 key insights direct from Euroshop 2023.
- Sustainable Retail Trends
Sustainable retail is no longer a trend. It’s become a necessity to seek and implement eco-friendly practices across the entire ecosystem of retail from the supply chain through to the customer purchase. At Euroshop, one major trend was circular retail, with exhibitors showcasing the latest ways to reduce waste and maximise resources through recycling and upcycling (using old materials to make new products).
This tendency can also be applied from a local perspective as PwC’s Sustainability in Retail Report described, “44% of respondents stated that they have become more sustainability-focused than they were before the pandemic.” Retailers, suppliers and brands alike are all having to adapt to the new reality that sustainable retail is no longer optional, but essential for the long-term viability of their businesses. From reducing carbon footprints and waste to embracing renewable energy and creating circular supply chains, sustainable practices are now a key part of the retail and display industry’s DNA.
Energy efficient lighting was also a key theme at Euroshop as it’s widely known that lighting accounts for a high proportion of retailers’ energy costs. Swedish exhibitor, ITAB Group, allocated a corner of their stand to lighting, providing an immersive experience that demonstrated the importance of lighting and its ability to project the right ambience and lux levels depending on needs. The exhibitor also showcased its dynamic lighting solution that can cut energy costs by up to 50% and improve the customer journey at the same time. As an added benefit, retailers can also receive a CO2-estimate for calculating their own carbon footprint.
2. Consumer Awareness and Material Traceability
Consumers and businesses alike are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of their purchases on the environment which has led to a desire for traceable production and transparent origins. Traceable production refers to the ability to track a product’s journey from its final form back to raw materials, providing transparency about the manufacturing process. This includes information about the origin of materials, production methods, and any certifications or standards that have been met. By providing this level of transparency, retailers and brands can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and build trust with their customers. This approach is also being applied to custom hire displays which request reuse, recycling and/or upcycling methods to be made clear from the outset.
Whilst some parts of our industry may not be sustainably led, the importance and consideration for sustainable practices, when possible, is part of Creative Hire’s company values and corporate social responsibly (CSR) policies. We operate using three principles in our approach to sustainability which include; reuse, repurpose, repeat. Read more on our approach to sustainability in our recent article here.
3. Benefits for boosting brand image
This year, Euroshop attendees had the opportunity to explore the latest sustainable retail practices with a heightened focus on how to implement materials, technologies and systems into their own businesses. A key benefit of this approach is the potential to improve customer loyalty and boost brand reputation. Consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental issues and are more likely to support brands and suppliers that prioritise sustainability. The future landscape is motivated by this desire to apply eco-friendly practices and businesses need to determine what their sustainable priorities and targets will be in order to meet this demand. The risk of ignoring this requirement may decrease future profitability and impact brand credibility.
According to Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2022 report, “One of the biggest drivers behind the focus on the environment and social issues is the emergence of the ’responsible consumer’. Consumers, particularly those from the millennial and Gen Z age groups, are showing a strong interest in sustainability and expect the same from the companies they interact with.”
By implementing sustainable retail practices, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and differentiate themselves from competitors, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and positive brand perception.
4. Challenges and opportunities of sustainable retail
While sustainable products have many benefits for the environment, the perceived high prices can be a major challenge for retailers and consumers alike. The costs associated with sustainable materials and production methods are often passed on to the end consumer or business, resulting in initial higher price points. However, the option of retail hire and traceability for custom materials is an attractive option for brands considering to further establish their sustainable approach in retail. By utilising a hire option, brands can ensure that their materials are produced in a way that aligns with their values, while also providing transparency to consumers who are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases.
Sustainability is now an essential part of the retail industry, and businesses need to implement eco-friendly practices to remain competitive in today’s market. EuroShop 2023 provided a valuable opportunity to gain insights into the latest sustainable retail trends and technologies including circular retail, energy-efficient lighting, and material traceability. By implementing sustainable retail practices, businesses can improve their brand image, increase customer loyalty, and differentiate themselves from competitors.
At Creative Hire, we are committed to sustainability and operate using three principles: reuse, repurpose, repeat. Contact us today for your hire retail display needs and let us help you make a positive impact on the environment as well as improving your brand reputation.