Middle East Retail Forum (MRF) 2023

Retailing with purpose

Purpose-driven retail is a buzzword today and has been interpreted and considered in varied ways. However, being purposeful in retail does not only mean conscious consumerism. The idea of purpose-driven retail way beyond the aspects of consumerism and can reflect on strategies and plans too. 

Let me talk about being purposeful, responsible, and mindful for retail in detail. But before that I would want to mention that we at IMAGES hold the idea of being purpose-driven very close to our soul and it is one of our biggest pillars that we believe in, practice and nurture. 

That’s why on 10th of October at the Middle East Retail Forum, one of our key sessions on the agenda is Creating responsible formats & businesses. While you gear up to join us and the panellists discuss this more in-depth at the Address Marina, Dubai let me help you with some thought starters.

Let me keep it simple, and I will give you a low down of 5 points that will help you roll out the agenda of responsible retailing right into your business strategies and initiatives. 

1. Cut down on paper usage
As simple and silly it may sound but paper trails are the main culprit when it comes to pollution. In fact, research shows that 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water are used to create receipts just in the U.S. each year. So, as a responsible retailer think about mother nature and say no to printed receipts and other such numerous paper trails.

2. Inspire and be transparent with customers
Sustainability is of growing importance to consumers, so be sure to share your mission and work with your customers. For customers to join you on your sustainability plan, you need to involve them and letting them know what you are planning and giving them the right plan of action to get motivated and join you in your endeavour, you need to market your responsible streak the right way. Be vocal about it and get the right visibility.

3. Curate sustainable brands 
If you stock various brands in your retail store, then it is better to keep your sustainability agenda high on your radar and handpick the right products from sustainable brands to make your offerings more environment-friendly, conscious and responsible. Alongside choosing the right brand mix, it is also important to see how you want to send the packages to your customers. Whether an online order or an in-store purchase, you should always look at sustainable packaging to drive the point home for your customers and establish your supremacy as a responsible company.

4. Switch to refurbished furniture and shop fittings
To stay put on your sustainability agenda it is important to practice what you preach. That’s why it is important to cut down on unnecessary purchases. Rather than buying all new product displays and furniture, consider buying second hand, vintage, or fixtures made from recycled materials. 

5. Plan a second-hand retail format to increase brand value

Second-hand, resale, or vintage products hits the right chord with conscious consumers. This is because consumers feel that buying pre-used clothing means the environmental impact of the purchase is lower, and second-hand clothing is generally more affordable. As a retailer with a conscious inkling you can think of ways in which you can make second hand clothing available to your customer base, to further build your reputation. 

According to recent research by Shopify, 42% of consumers said knowing that a brand is actively working on reducing its carbon footprint is important when deciding to purchase a product. So, keeping your customers and their knack for conscious consumerism in mind, it is important for you to do whatever you can do to reduce, reuse, refurbish, repair, and recycle to contribute to sustainability in retail.