Thought Leadership

Decarbonise your visual merchandising in your brick and mortar sites

2023 is the perfect time to decarbonise the visual merchandising in your brick-and-mortar sites – here’s how to get started

Preserving our planet for future generations is a hugely topical issue at the moment. You can’t deny the impacts of climate change around the globe in the past year; from wildfires in the US and Australia to melting ice caps and rising sea levels, we are living in unprecedented times the modern world has never witnessed in recent history. The British retail industry is attempting to go carbon-neutral by 2040, Greta Thunberg is telling off politicians on the daily, and David Attenborough warned the public in 2021, “this is our last chance”. There’s never been a more crucial time to decarbonise your brick-and-mortar locations through green visual merchandising materials and other reusable technologies.

Sustainability is a hot, unavoidable topic. Top it off with the chaos of the pandemic, and it’s a mentally tough time for the human race to be alive, to put it lightly. With the global movement encouraging us to live more ethically and gaining momentum, consumers are doing their research and becoming conscious of the impact their actions are having on our planet. From banks to restaurants to clothing brands and bookstores, every business needs to take note – today’s consumers are choosing to spend in a way that will help preserve our planet for future generations to come. They’re buying locally, opting to purchase from more sustainable brands and demanding transparency about how and where products were produced.

The good news is starting your organisation’s journey to going green doesn’t need to be a long and complicated process; one of the simplest ways your brick-and-mortar sites can become more sustainable is simply by introducing the humble recycling bin. Bins can be brought into your head office and brick-and-mortar sites and be placed where there is heavy foot traffic to encourage your staff and customers to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Simple.

So how can your company become more environmentally conscious when it comes to your visual merchandising? 

Create visual merchandising materials with recyclable materials

This one is easy. Make the switch to sustainable materials – for example, paper. While paper is far from being a hundred per cent carbon-neutral, it can be recycled, unlike other materials, which can end up in landfill or our oceans and take years to break down. When decarbonising your brick-and-mortar sites, it’s important to ensure your visual marketing materials are made from easily recyclable materials – so when it does come time to change campaigns, your on-site staff can easily remove the marketing and dispose of it in an ethical and sustainable fashion.

With suppliers offering more sustainable and eco-friendly options such as recycled paper and printed items without plastic coatings that are more easily recycled, opting for environmentally conscious materials has never been so simple. Another option, of course, is switching your in-store and window displays to use more long-lasting, high-quality visuals that don’t need to be changed as frequently, in combination with your seasonal or time-limited promotional materials.

While we’re on the topic, how about making your processes paperless?

We’re just going to come out and say it – in the 21st century, there is no reason your brick-and-mortar sites should still be interpreting complex visual merchandising plans using a 200-page long document that is not location-specific.

While printed display guidelines and planograms have served us well in the past, going paperless can bring your company into the modern age, allowing for easier collaboration and more flexibility and personalisation when it comes to your promotional materials. Digital tools like Colateral can deliver auto-generated and site-specific visual display instructions to on-site employees, streamline communications from head office departments and bring all the voices involved in planning your marketing and visual merchandising into a central online space.

Reduce excess visual merchandising materials

Imagine a world where “that cupboard” doesn’t exist. You know the one we’re talking about – the damp, slightly musty cupboard in the darkest corner of the storage room, full of excess marketing materials unused and often damaged, where staff are anxious to tread in fear of a precarious mountain of surplus marketing materials will fall and crush them.

If you’ve ever worked in a brick-and-mortar site – particularly in retail – you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. With modern technology and the power of digital management tools on your side, it’s never been easier to streamline visual marketing campaigns and ultimately reduce the number of excess marketing materials that are being created. Colateral enables head office employees to see what infrastructure is available on site, from the number of windows to very detailed information about specific spaces in-store, making it easier to plan location-specific visual merchandising materials across your brick-and-mortar sites without producing more than you need. Not only that, artwork can be automatically personalised for each location, so you can better connect with your customers.

Stick with remote working

The past year has triggered a huge shift in the way we work and the ways in which offices are run. Remote working saves on emissions that would have been produced with the daily commute, as well as saving on energy often used in an office environment, such as computers and kitchen appliances in your staff room.

In this day and age, effective and efficient communication can be done online. When it comes to planning marketing campaigns, head office employees can use software to brief designers, review, amend and approve artworks for visual merchandising materials and communicate production specifications to suppliers without countless meetings, phone calls, and back-and-forth emails. Streamlining collaboration between head office teams, whether they are in the office or working remotely, not only promotes community in your company but can ease stress and tension between employees.

Becoming more eco-conscious with Colateral

While taking steps to become more sustainable can be a daunting prospect, Colateral’s innovative approach to visual merchandising can make one big foreboding task into a small and easily manageable series of environmentally conscious strides.

Using Colateral, you can plan your marketing campaigns, manage your visual merchandising, communicate and work collaboratively across teams, and assign marketing with your brick-and-mortar sites in mind.

Our innovative software brings your visual merchandising into a more modern, more sustainable age, where the act of simply digitising your processes and centralising planning and production of marketing materials for your brick-and-mortar sites can reduce waste, ease the stress on your employees, and create a better, cleaner world for future generations.

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