We all know there are things our businesses could be doing better that would help look after our planet a little better. But who has the time when you’re running a busy retail outlet to work out that if you changed all the lightbulbs to a certain kind, you’d save 13 cents a week on electricity and reduce your energy usage? Not many of us. But with the global COVID-19 pandemic forcing many to temporarily close their physical retail outlets, it seems there’s never been a better time for you to assess all the aspects of your business to see which ones you could do better – especially those that could make you more environmentally friendly. With some positive and creative thinking you could make some significant changes to your business that will help you drastically in the long term. Here’s a few of my top tips to help you be greener when the world restarts.
Repurpose and Reuse
The most obvious way to be a little kinder to the planet is to reduce the waste from your store and reuse and recycle things as much as possible. From going paperless with your documents and receipts, through to not throwing away every single piece of packaging you receive – with a bit of critical thinking it’s easy to reduce the amount of waste you produce. With every aspect of your processes in store, just stop for one minute and think ‘can I reuse this in another way?’ or ‘how can I not throw this into the trash and landfill?’. It’s not always possible, but you’d be surprised how much life you can get out of some things.
Anglers above everyone else know the negative impact of plastic on the world’s waterways, so there’s really no excuse for you to still be throwing a customer’s purchases into a plastic bag. Consider alternatives like paper or compostable materials, or why not even reuse boxes and other packaging that you receive goods in from suppliers and manufacturers? At the end of the day, we don’t care what we carry our new gear home in, we just want to get out there and use it.
Pay Homage to the Homemade
Significantly reduce your carbon footprint and also boost your patriotism in one swift move by trying to stock more ‘homemade’ products. In this modern, globalized world it’s a hard thing to do, but there are plenty of ‘Made in America’ brands out there, and by increasing the ratio of those you stock against foreign imports you could reduce the amount of pollution caused by shipping products around the globe. Of course, sometimes the best products in certain sectors come from overseas, and I’m certainly not implying global trade should be cancelled, but just try and have a little more homegrown gear in your stores and you’ll reap the rewards. Your customers may even love you more for it.
Excel in Efficiency
Consider how efficient your store is in terms of its energy use – do you really need the storeroom lights on all day? Could you look into the possibility of having some renewable energy installed, like solar panels for example? Doing so could have utility companies paying you, instead of the other way around. Maybe you could turn the heating or the air conditioning down a few notches? There are many ways to reduce your energy usage and save money. Just a few examples include: having a shop around for more energy efficient computers, printers and other office equipment; getting more energy efficient lightbulbs or heating systems; and using rechargeable batteries where possible instead of disposable ones.
If It’s Broke, Do Fix It
One great thing you can do to reduce waste is start up a repair service in your store. I personally encountered a fantastic experience with such a service in the Patagonia store in Sydney, Australia – they patched up a hole in my three-year old puffer jacket with no questions asked. I was delighted to be able to keep my old favourite coat going and my loyalty towards the brand increased significantly. Think about what kind of repair you could offer to products bought in your store. Maybe clothing repairs like this, or maybe rod and reel servicing and repair, or perhaps even something as simple as fixing new hooks onto lures? You don’t have to do it for free, either. Most people won’t mind parting with a small fee for the service. With one or two specialised staff with repair skills you could help save the planet and create loyalty with your customers, who if they’re anything like me, will probably buy something else in the store while waiting for their kit to be fixed.
Along similar lines to fixing things, you could consider opening up a second-hand area of your store. You’d be extending the life of products already out there in the world and reducing waste significantly, while also potentially attracting a new demographic of customer who can’t afford to buy brand-new tackle all the time. You could even offer discounts to those customers buying new products if they trade in their old ones. Nothing gives a customer affection for your store quite like grabbing a real bargain.
And lastly, shout about it
If you’re doing any of these things or something else that helps your store be greener, then don’t keep it quiet. Promote the heck out of those initiatives and tap into a real concern of the modern consumer. Anglers especially care about the environment, and anything you’re doing to help it will earn you kudos.