New research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows a 71% increase in searches for sustainable goods over the last five years, especially during the pandemic and primarily in western countries.
This movement toward environmental awareness has created new opportunities for online retail to enter new categories within the sustainability movement, particularly in the cosmetic, fashion, technology, food and pharmaceutical industries.
Online businesses that can test categories quickly and target long tail keywords at scale will be able to reach more customers who value sustainability.
42% of shoppers buy eco-friendly and sustainable products online.
65% of shoppers plan to buy more durable fashion items.
Consumers, not businesses, have driven this movement towards sustainability. From the same EIU report, it’s evident that consumers are more likely to buy products from companies that share their sustainable beliefs.
We’ve seen some of the biggest fashion and apparel brands answer to this growing demand. Patagonia uses sustainable materials for its fashion and apparel line, follows fair-trade practices and makes an effort to minimise environmental impact on the supply chain. Even after adopting an “anti-growth” philosophy, Patagonia has seen double-digit growth figures in the years since taking a stance on sustainability.
Levi’s is another example of a household name making an impact. The iconic denim brand has launched it’s Water<Less collection that uses 96% less water than conventional jean material. Due to its popularity, almost 70% of Levi’s jeans are made with Water<Less material.
Google has committed to bringing more sustainable products to online shoppers.
Google has made it clear that businesses that champion sustainability will be more prominent in search results going into the future.
In October 2021, Google announced it would run all data centres and campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.
Along with this announcement, the search engine giant announced plans to make sustainable, eco-friendly products more accessible to online shoppers.
Google Flights for instance, will make carbon emissions information visible to users and make it easier to source flights with lower carbon emissions.
When users search for accommodation, they’ll have easier access to the sustainability efforts – like waste reduction and water conservation measures – of each brand.
Home appliances are also another area of focus for Google. When users search for products like washing machines, toasters and dishwashers, Google Shopping ad suggestions “will help narrow your search to cost-effective and sustainable options”.
These changes outlined by Google don’t mean the search engine will automatically prioritise eco-friendly brands at the top of search results, though. Your success in capturing demand for sustainable products is only as good as your long tail keyword targeting.
How to target eco-conscious online shoppers – without corporate greenwashing
When a company capitalises on the increasing consumer interest in environmental issues to mislead them into thinking it sells sustainable products, the term used to describe this is “corporate greenwashing”.
Some ways companies might greenwash their brand is by using the colour green in their branding or words like “green”, “clean” and “eco-friendly” in their comms. These strategies are meant to fool consumers into believing their brand practices sustainable methods.
But, 81% of online shoppers will research a brand before purchasing. Your website can only attract eco-conscious shoppers if your results match their intent.
How to target eco-conscious consumers by testing categories within the sustainability movement.
For any big eCommerce store, testing new categories can be one way to start increasing its product offering in a particular area. In this case, a site might focus on expanding into a category it hasn’t sold products in before. For example, environmentally friendly kitchen appliances.
Within this category, it might aim to sell “energy efficient kettles”, “energy saving fridges”, and “eco-friendly dishwashers”.
How would an online retailer go about capturing the online demand that these specific products have? How would they even know if the demand exists?
Some big sites might build dedicated product landing pages (PLPs) for each specific long tail keyword they want to target within the category. They’ll launch a handful of PLPs, see how they perform after a period of time, and then decide whether or not they want to expand into that category. For example, PLPs for the keyword “energy efficient kettles” might look like this (for Google Ads, Google Shopping and organic search).
It can exhaust time and resources launching PLPs to test new categories, and the concept isn’t scaleable. Some businesses are not willing to take on the risk of manual development work and page maintenance to then find out there’s no demand for a category. So, to mitigate risk, extensive long tail keyword research is essential. A full-stacked dev team also needs to be available.
A low-touch and scaleable category testing facility
Today, retailers like Mitre 10, Myer, Woolworths and Catch.com are testing categories at hyper-speed with the LUX Customer Acquisition Platform.
The platform enables major online businesses to test categories quickly by launching thousands of hyper-relevant pages at scale, each dedicated to the long tail search terms they want to target.
How testing sustainability categories with the LUX Customer Acquisition Platform works:
- Our Client Growth team sends you a spreadsheet with a list of keywords we suggest you target.
- You approve or request changes to the list
- We automatically build a launch the pages, each targeting a target long tail search term
- We monitor performance
- We “switch off” the pages that aren’t performing and replace them with more pages that test a new set of keywords.
With LUX, you can launch pages and test categories quickly, rank 10x faster and gain market saturation at scale. All this without your internal teams losing focus or exhausting resources.
Pages are 100% measurable. Once integrated, we keep those pages optimised with ease. No more pestering your tech team or waiting in months’ or years’ long priority queues.