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Watch: Reimagining Retail - Sustainability.

Living and buying sustainably has gained even more momentum throughout the year, but what role does this play in the consumer’s buying journey?
Watch the full video here:

Sustainability. What consumers stand for and what retailers must live by

As part of our Microsoft Advertising Insights series we interviewed Anna Lungley, Chief Sustainability Officer at Dentsu International and Kris Shea, Retail Technology Strategist at Microsoft to explore the top 3 things that retailers need to do to stay relevant today and be prepared for tomorrow.

Why should retailers adapt now?

Climate change, cleaning up the oceans, reducing plastics and more, are all initiatives that we were aware of or were actively involved in supporting pre COVID-19. However, a deeper urgency around being more sustainable and supporting more sustainable causes has reached new levels of interest. But why now? With consumers being indoors, not flying, not driving, and seeing the impact of a reduction in heavy industry and production, albeit short term, are all factors influencing consumers to think more about what matters now and for future generations.  

This momentum is here to stay, but what does that mean for retailers?

It is no longer enough to focus solely on the end product. Retailers must consider the sustainability of their ecosystem as a whole: from supply chain and manufacturing, through to employee culture and commercial practices. Consumers are increasingly empowered and critical of brands they deem to be unsustainable. As Anna notes, “our recent Pulse Navigator actually showed that 27% of Millennials have actually contacted a brand, asking them to change their behaviour, if they don't agree with it." You can find more retail learnings and insights on our Retail Hub.

An opportunity for the future

With challenge, often comes opportunity, and the power of sustainability in consumer perceptions is undeniable. Despite notorious brand loyalty amongst beauty customers, a staggering 55% would actually switch if they are attracted to the ethical sustainable nature of a brand. But retailers must approach these opportunities with authenticity and transparency. Sounds scary? It doesn’t have to be! Anna encourages brands to be bold, reflect on and share their purpose and mission with the consumer. The reward is worth the risk.
Be bold and actually tell your story… a lot of the brands … are actually doing a lot more than they realise, and I would encourage people to really get under the skin of their purpose. Find those golden nuggets and examples which actually demonstrate where they can really affect change and add value to their consumer base

Anna Lungley, Dentsu International

Microsoft Advertising Insights series with Episode 1: In brands we trust | Episode 2: Covid-19 recovery trends | Episode 3: Client trust | Episode 4: Value of partnership in retail | Episode 5: eCommerce insights from Wunderman | Episode 7: Lockdown lessons learnt from Keyade | Episode 8: How to succeed in the captive economy
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