Entrepreneurs will do better with products that appeal to buyers’ personal desires, instead of appealing to their conscience, according to executive and entrepreneur coach Siimon Reynolds.
“People will be green if it is convenient,” Reynolds told My Business. “But for most people it will not be the driving force for a choice of product. If everything else is good about a product, they’ll choose the green option. I think you are better going for products that are self centred. A product that people choose when looking after self-interest is a safer bet - people talk green but buy for themselves.”
Consumers are also increasingly wary of green products, Reynolds said.
“Large corporations often make dubious green claims in their products, which has created suspicion and ambivalence among consumers,” he said. “A lot of people don’t believe green products are as green as manufacturers say.”
Another notion Reynolds is keen to debunk concerns the demise of retailing.
“The cinema industry in the USA has just had one of its biggest years ever, even though it is easier than ever to download a movie. The reason is that people want to get out. All the people who predict the death of retail forget that people are not hermits. We want to get out, meet and see other people.”
Reynolds added that retailers have an opportunity to “curate” products and help consumers make sense of the colossal ranges offered by online stores.
“I was shopping last week and my fiancé said isn’t it great to go into a store because someone has curated a lot of things from around the world and put it in one small area. We can find a thousand times more things on the net, but curation makes it so much easier to buy in the bricks and mortar shop.”
While better curation will assist retailers, Reynolds said they will have to make a greater effort to cultivate their online reputations.
“In America the dominance of [local reviews website] Yelp as a review system is amazing. It is one of the major ways Americans decide to do anything – they get on Yelp and use it to make their decision.”
“Today Yelp is for shops, tomorrow it will be lawyers. So online reputation is going to play a major role for all bricks and mortar retailers.”
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