Consumers prefer to buy from retailers and brands that are doing business in a sustainable way. Sixty nine percent of respondents to a global survey conducted by NielsenIQ said that sustainability has become more important to them over the last two years. And 4 out of 5 respondents indicated they would prefer to buy from a retailer that offers a wider assortment of sustainable options in store. The reason is two-fold: an increased awareness of climate change and the direct impact it may have on their personal well-being.
Sustainable Consumer Journeys
Consumers are well aware of their own contributions to a more sustainable world. Another global survey conducted in 2020 by The Nielsen Group and commissioned by Diebold Nixdorf, shows that two-thirds (64%) of shoppers identified themselves as environmentally conscious. The vast majority are over 25 years old and live in an urban environment. This group is also more responsive to innovative solutions in the store that contribute to making their shopping journeys more sustainable. Let’s look at a few examples:
Replacing conventional paper-based receipts with digital receipts helps reduce the carbon footprint of the store. This not only benefits the environment, but also the retailer’s bottom-line: our calculations show that retailers can save up to 65% of what they spend on thermal paper, ink, printer hardware and printer maintenance if they would replace this with a digital receipt solution. Digital receipts also lead to a better customer experience since all transactions are now stored digitally and can be viewed at any time, and if integrated with the customer loyalty program, they can also be used for omnichannel up- and cross-sell.
Offering electric vehicle (EV) charging to customers coming to your c-store or fuel station is another way that contributes to sustainability. The adoption of EVs shifted from environmentally conscious early adopters to an early majority of more pragmatic consumers. As discussed in a recent article on PetrolPlaza, EVs will disrupt (but not destroy!) convenience retail. Though the monetization part will pose some challenges at the phase the e-mobility market is in, EVs are here to stay and will lead to profitable business models in the mid-long term, as explained by Robert Krause, head of EV charging at Diebold Nixdorf, in an interview with PetrolPlaza.
Sustainable Retail Operations
In November 2022, the world population crossed the 8-billion mark, and keeps rising at a steady level. According to the National Intelligence Council, over the next seven years demand for natural resources like food, water and energy will grow by roughly 40%. The Council states that climate change negatively impacts the availability of these critical resources, and that “policymakers and their private sector partners will need to be proactive to avoid such a future.”
Retailers across the globe are picking up on this, driven by a growing group of middle- and higher-income class consumers who consider sustainable shopping as important. They work hard to reduce their impact on the environment.
There are many ways to lower a convenience store’s carbon footprint. Well-known examples include the use of paper coffee cups and reusable bags. Some larger stores started introducing so-called ‘refill zones’ with dispensers for dry goods like cereals, rice and pasta, but also for laundry detergent and other items, which shoppers can use to fill containers they brought from home, saving on packaging materials and waste. Also extending the assortment with local produce is increasingly applied by store owners. This strengthens the local economy and reduces the need for long-distance transportation, lowering CO2 emissions.
In addition to packaging and offering more sustainable assortments, energy consumption by everyday store operations is a topic of interest, especially since it helps establish a more sustainable brand and leads to immediate cost savings. Think about implementing energy-efficient measures, such as LED lighting and solar panels on the store roof, and using sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood in store design. Also, sustainable transportation methods such as EVs and cargo bikes for home deliveries is a way to achieve more sustainable retailing.
Another way to save energy – and reduce operational costs – is by choosing energy-efficient and modular store hardware. POS systems are switched on for 12 hours or more each day. Their power consumption is not negligible, and there is a huge difference in energy efficiency between POS systems on the market. We recently did a study and compared a traditional POS system with our latest DN SeriesTM
This study shows that it is possible to reduce energy consumption by 55% compared to a traditional POS. Over a period of five years, this could save a retailer more than 275 euros per POS installation.
Modularity and serviceability are other – often overlooked – aspects that have a positive impact on the environment. By reusing existing POS components and thus increasing system longevity instead of complete removal, you save on procurement costs and protect the investments you have already made while reducing emissions and e-waste. And by using a fanless design and sealed housing (both of which contribute to less hardware failures), and enablement of remote preventive maintenance, you will have less on-site service calls by a technician and an increased uptime of your POS system.
These are only a few examples, and there are more methods to run a more sustainable retail business. Not all methods may apply to every retail organization, but it is safe to say that sustainability and smart retailing are more than just good friends.
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First appeared in PetrolPlaza.com