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12:43 PM   September 02, 2014
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10 Green Marketing Tactics to Try In-Store Today

Pet Product News Bonus ContentIndustry participants recommended marketing and promotional techniques to transform “green” from a philosophy to a reality on store shelves—and beyond.
By Wendy Bedwell Wilson 

  1. Set up a green section in the store. “If retailers sincerely care about a green approach, then they should create an eco-friendly area in their stores and really market it and highlight it,” said Stephanie Volo, president of Planet Dog in Portland, Maine.
  2. Promote green pet products
    Know and support one’s customer base
    . “Studies show that people are finally getting serious about saving the planet and really want to make a positive difference if they can,” said Barbara Denzer, vice president of Cardinal Labs Inc. in Azusa, Calif. “If you can offer your customer more eco-friendly products, do it and stick to it.”
  3. Be transparent. “As more and more people come onboard the ‘green bandwagon,’ it’s even more important for retailers to keep it legitimate and above board,” said Kim Oliver, president of The Good Dog Co. in Golden, Colo. “It goes back to transparency; retailers should try and really be an open book.”
  4. Be conscious of green washing. “Customers could perceive the retailer’s eco-friendly efforts as just being trendy,” said Tim Trofimenkov, president of GreenTails in Brooklyn, N.Y. “The best way of promoting yourself as eco-friendly is carrying green products, promoting those products and leading by example. Actions speak louder than words: Educate the customers about the benefits of eco-friendly rather than having a lot of green signage.”
  5. Green Is Good for Bottom Line
    A growing number of pet product companies are operating green—and it’s not because it’s trendy, said David Lummis, senior market analyst for Packaged Facts, headquartered in Rockville, Md. Corporations have foreseen the value in incorporating eco-friendly business practices, and they’re capitalizing on it.

    “Up until recently, many companies had been looking at ‘green’ as the politically correct thing to do, but they were unsure how it would really pay off,” Lummis said. “Now, as companies project further forward, they’re beginning to see [the value in eco-friendly operations]. They’re finding that if they can pay all their energy costs with solar panels over the next 10 years, it’s going to save X dollars.”

    Companies such as Rolf C. Hagen, Mars Pet Care and Cardinal Pet Care have built eco-friendly manufacturing facilities, installed solar panels, reduced energy use and cut their carbon footprints, Lummis said. Even on a smaller scale, pet service providers such as Mark Klaiman, co-owner of Pet Camp in San Francisco, are retrofitting their facilities to be more green.

    “It impacts pretty much every aspect of what we do, from how we buy to what we use to how we run the place and how we get rid of the stuff when we’re done,” he said. “With all that said, it all saves us money, which is frankly the name of the game with this economy.”

    Support from the government doesn’t hurt, either, Lummis added.

    “From a broader macro perspective of market drivers, this is a good time for all things green and eco-friendly,” he said. “We have a presidential administration that is more favorable toward these types of initiatives, and that is a definite positive factor in terms of helping things along.”  —WBW

    Embrace social networking portals
    . “Retailers should take advantage of Facebook and Twitter, reach out to the vendors and follow each other, and let designers know what they’re doing so we can further market them and help them get the word out there,” Volo said.
  6. Educate customers. “Educate customers about recycling, and if possible, set up a recycling program at the store,” Trofimenkov said. “Teach them about sustainable products, like toys, pillows and beds made from recycled or sustainable resources. And let them know about the nontoxic element of eco-friendly products, like grooming and hygiene items.”
  7. Sponsor, support and speak at local green events. “We do a lot of public speaking,” said Susan Goldstein, co-owner of Earth Animal in Westport, Conn. “For example, we just spoke at the Audubon Society because it had a lecture on the effect of pesticides on bees and birds. Once you become knowledgeable then you can really get involved with the PR aspect.”
  8. Create eco-friendly incentives. “Feature a mix of eco-friendly products in a display rack and give an extra five to 10-percent off,” Trofimenkov recommended. “Sell reusable bags, and every time customers use them, give five percent off.”
  9. Partner with other green businesses. “When likeminded organizations get together and do really good things, you’re going to see a lot of growth in that area,” Volo said.
  10. Adopt green business practices. “Educate your company, and make sure your company is sincere and proactive in their commitment to the environment,” Denzer said. “Make a plan for what you company can do that is eco-friendly, work the plan and stick to it. Then tell your consumer.” <HOME>

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