Top Tips for Leveraging Green Loyalty in your Shopping Mall

By Sidney Jordan of Coniq

Now, more than ever, consumers want to reduce their overall expenditure, lower their consumption, and adopt sustainable practices. As a result, retail destinations must incorporate sustainability to meet growing customer expectations and nurture their customer relationships. That is why we have created this list of top tips to help start your mall’s sustainability journey…

What is green loyalty?

Green loyalty programs can be a great way for shopping malls to incorporate sustainability, meet growing customer expectations and build brand engagement.

Green loyalty can be as simple as incorporating or encouraging sustainable practices. For example, donation points, recycling banks, and even ‘re-fill’ stations can prompt customers to recycle or reuse unwanted items in exchange for rewards. Remember, the key to encouraging customers to go green is offering them an easy and convenient way to participate!

These green initiatives demonstrate to your customers that you align with their core values. This is a crucial component in building an emotional connection with your shoppers. Naturally, customers feel more confident and engaged with retailers they deem to be transparent and responsible. Implementing a green loyalty program within your shopping mall can help drive purchase intent amongst your customers and build brand advocacy. For example, consider incentivising desirable behaviours using rewards (e.g. 3 Donations= Reward).

Global retailers are already seeing the impact that green loyalty can have on customer spending. Brands such as Boots, H&M, MAC cosmetics, Kiehls, IKEA and many others have joined the eco-revolution. Their customers can return empty items for free products, money back, or exclusive discounts. These are great examples of how offering green rewards for sustainable behaviours can motivate customers to engage with your brand and go green.

At Coniq, we have seen the first-hand success of green loyalty through our clients. Apsys’ Beaugrenelle Mall, in Paris, rewarded members with an extra ten loyalty points for every plastic bottle they brought to the centre. They then commissioned an art sculpture using the recycled plastic. The campaign was a great success, and the client saw a 23% increase in transactions in just one month. The campaign resulted in 28% of new loyalty member sign-ups and drove 1373 visits to the shopping mall during the promotional period. These results highlight how green loyalty can have a substantial impact on the way that your customers interact with your shopping mall.

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Another way to engage your customers is by creating unique experiences they cannot find elsewhere. Green loyalty is a great way to do this. For example, consider offering customers the opportunity to plant trees, join an allotment masterclass or even try their hand at gardening!

Offering an experiential retail experience gives all customer segments a chance to do something fun while also doing their bit for the planet! Moreover, your customers will be more likely to resonate with and return to your mall if you can offer to create a unique, memorable experience.

Another Coniq client pioneered a green initiative that focused on planting trees for one month. The program planted trees whenever a customer made a transaction, referred a friend, or downloaded the app. By the end of the month, a total of 5,000 trees had been planted as a result of the program.

Green loyalty programs have an array of mutual benefits as customers earn exciting rewards while feeling good about their environmental impact. Shopping malls can boost brand loyalty by creating a community of brand advocates. Research shows that shoppers referred by a friend or family member are known to have a 3-5 times higher conversion rate, with a 16% higher lifetime value.

So, it is certainly worth investing in green loyalty.

Why should I consider it?

Green loyalty programs can increase customer footfall by encouraging customers to shop in-store. If a shopper recycles and instantly receives a reward, they can redeem and spend this reward whilst they are on the property. As a result, the frequency of store visits increases and ultimately drives sales for your tenants.

Incorporating green rewards and sustainable programs as part of your environmental social and governance (ESG) strategy in your shopping mall can boost your reputation and look great to potential investors.

When it comes to sustainability, shoppers often see ‘green washing’ marketing campaigns that speak of sustainable projects without a clear understanding of what they mean or how they are actioned. One of the ways to demonstrate genuine commitment and build trust with your customers is by putting words into action. A green loyalty program is a great place to start! By encouraging your shoppers to complete eco-friendly tasks in exchange for rewards, you can highlight your commitment to the cause. You can also show customers the changes happening in real-time while engaging shoppers with exciting offers.

Where do I start?

  • People partnership: There are many ways to encourage your shoppers to go green and increase brand loyalty. Why not try partnering with a sustainable organisation or charity? This can help improve your mall’s visibility and simultaneously grow your eco-community. In turn, you can drive traffic back to your shopping mall, enhance your social engagement and build your brand image! What’s not to like?
  • Go digital: Another simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is to go digital! Physical cards can be unreliable, costly, and pollutant. Therefore, switch to digital solutions with gift cards stored in virtual wallets or mobile apps. This way, you can collect and access unlimited data using a more cost-efficient, eco-conscious, and convenient mechanism for customer rewards.
  • Green transport: A great way to start your customer’s green experience is by rewarding sustainable practices before the customer walks through the door. Try increasing the number of electric parking slots or rewarding customers and employees for using cycle-to-work schemes and public transport.
  • Support sustainable: Show your support by sourcing sustainable products and materials. Investing in recyclable and compostable options is a great way to reduce consumption, cut the cost of production and practice what you preach!
  • Clean energy: Consider eco-friendly alternatives to fuel your mall’s electricity. Implement solar panels, use energy-efficient LED light bulbs, or recycle wastewater to replenish indoor plants and outdoor green spaces.

Read more on how shopping malls can leverage Green Loyalty.