Sustainability in retail is no longer a trend, it’s expected.
Consumers are increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impacts of the products they are buying, and the brands they are buying from. A brand’s focus should, therefore, extend further than simply producing and selling goods. Addressing the social and environmental consequences of their business and publicly acting to reduce their negative impact on the planet, is a necessity for retailers today.
Sustainable practices are a crucial deciding factor for many consumers when it comes to choosing their preferred brand. Once favoured by the public, it then becomes easier to create strong customer relationships leading to a loyal customer base. Similarly, with public concern over environmental issues at an all-time high, unsustainable or unethical practices rarely go unnoticed and are much less tolerated than they may once have been.
“Half of digital consumers say environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions.” States Global Wide Index,
“Millennials (aged 22-35) are more likely than any other generation to say that they would pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products.”
Footwear brands are making efforts to produce sustainable shoes with ethically sourced materials. For example, Veja use recycled plastics and materials sourced from organic farming, Dr. Martens now have a vegan range, and Toms pumps make use of hemp and recycled polyester. Brands are evidently seeking out sustainable options when it comes to product, so it’s important to continue these efforts when it comes to merchandising.
A Sustainable and practical solution to visual merchandising.
Sustainability should be considered at all stages of your product’s lifecycle. From sourcing to production, to eco-friendly packaging – it’s important that there is consistency across your sustainable supply chain model. Yet sustainability in visual merchandising can easily be overlooked.
Plastic hangers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when seeking out sustainable options, however, it is a common misconception that they are bad for the environment. In fact, plastic hangers can be sourced from 100% recycled materials and still maintain the functionality needed for stores with large footfall. Using recycled plastic as opposed to virgin, can lead to an 80% reduction in CO₂ emissions and comes with the added benefit of costing less!
Unsure on whether black plastic hangers are recyclable? Find out more in this blog.
Alternatively, you could consider cardboard footwear hangers. One of the great benefits of cardboard is that it’s easily printed on, meaning that it can be fully customised with your brand and messaging.
In terms of sustainability, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure that cardboard hangers are friendly to the environment, such as:
- Is the cardboard made from 100% recycled materials, and is it FSC certified?
- Are they 100% recyclable so customers can take them home and recycle at the roadside?
- Is the printing process eco-friendly, and does it use sustainable inks?
- Is the design optimised to ensure good stock density?
Whilst cardboard can be a great solution for hanging footwear, it’s worth considering that it lends itself to some shoe styles better than others. Over time, some heavy footwear could cause the cardboard to bend, resulting in shoes falling from their display. Another factor to bear in mind is that cardboard isn’t necessarily as price competitive as one may think.
Want to know how can you be sustainable when sourcing shoe hangers? Read our top tips here.
Whichever material you choose, let’s hang!
Whether you choose plastic or cardboard, there are many benefits to hanging footwear. Eliminating shoe boxes reduces the requirement for large stock rooms, allowing for a more profitable trading space. It also means space for more stock when shipping goods from their manufacturing sites, which results in reduced transport costs and CO₂ emissions. Hanging footwear also means that customers have more power over their shopping experience and can try on shoes as they please, without having to wait for assistance from staff. This also encourages buying on impulse.
Here are some more reasons why you should be hanging your shoes!