Online shoppers want a sustainable Black Friday in 2021, here’s how you can deliver

Here's how your Shopify store can have a sustainable Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale this year, because being eco-friendly is just good business.

Black Friday has quickly overtaken the Christmas/festive period as the biggest retail event of the year - what was once a uniquely American tradition is now on the global marketing calendar. So how do ecommerce brands stand out in this crowded, hyper-competitive landscape?

When the competition sees red, go green

While your competitors merely get more aggressive with Black Friday marketing, you can cut through the noise by connecting to what customers really want: a sustainable Black Friday sale that they can enjoy without guilt. Surveys indicate that 55% of UK consumers say it’s become more important for companies to behave more sustainably. There are increasing worries about the environmental costs of shipping and packaging. Customers are searching for more sustainable versions of everyday products like clothing. Eco-friendly fashion is one of the breakout search terms of 2021, after years of fast fashion names like Shein and Fashion Nova ruling the online apparel conversation. And no, you don’t have to have a green leaf in your logo or sell compostable laptops to satisfy customers looking for a sustainable Black Friday sale. Here’s how every online merchant can get in on this rising trend.

Sustainable Black Friday Tips for Online Merchants

1. Be transparent about your eco-friendly efforts

Allow your marketing to include the honest efforts you’ve made towards being a sustainable business. Progress is better than perfection here: don’t stay silent about your small wins just because there’s a long road to go. Share long term sustainability goals and the steps the brand has taken towards them, and it will pay dividends with a “halo effect” that benefits every part of your brand perception.

“Creating and communicating sustainable attributes has a halo effect, influencing customer perceptions — especially around quality and value — at key decision-making moments.” – 2021 Digital Marketing Trends, Think With Google

One simple yet powerful way to show you care about sustainability is by adding eco-friendly options to your customer's purchase journey. Explore services like the EcoCart plugin, which calculates each order's emissions and offers the customer a chance to make their order carbon neutral with a small donation towards green initiatives.

2. Think digital, local, and seasonal when planning your sustainable Black Friday sale

Shipping and packaging are pain points for those invested in sustainability, so focus on mitigating the impact of last-mile deliveries. The first prize is focusing your sale on digital products: downloads, courses, e-books and virtual events can go on sale just as readily as a physical product. Bonus points if you offer digital versions of physical products: a bookseller whose Black Friday sale focuses on e-books for sustainability reasons is sure to get some press.

If you sell physical products, highlight your most sustainable offerings. A product doesn’t have to be branded eco-friendly to be truly sustainable. “Local and seasonal” isn’t just green-grocer jargon, it’s a powerful approach to sustainability. Here’s a checklist to help you find which products to feature.

Are your products secretly sustainable?

  • Made of sustainable materials such as glass, bamboo or recycled plastic
  • Reusable alternatives to single-use items such as travel mugs or cloth masks
  • Sourced locally: working with the closest suppliers of your raw materials to cut down on each product’s carbon footprint
  • Seasonal produce: fresh foods have huge environmental impact when imported out of season, so focus on in-season food products for your sustainable Black Friday sale

3. Partner up with change-makers

Amplify the impact of your sustainability efforts by finding like-minded partners to work with this Black Friday. Seek out distribution partners committed to lowering their carbon footprint, and you’ll earn a halo effect simply by mentioning their name in your customer’s journey to purchase.

Of course, partnering with charities can also help double down on your sustainability promises. Think beyond the big charities and look for change-makers who are influential with your target market. To avoid being branded as a “green-washing” brand, get involved beyond simply donating a portion of profits.

As a point in our annual shopping calendars, Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. But merchants who offer a sustainable Black Friday sale in 2021 can stand out from the crowd by focusing on saving the planet as well as offering big savings to their customers.

Need help crafting an eco-friendly Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale this year? Feel free to reach out to us here at Radiant.

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