Heading into 2019, one of the biggest trends suppliers and resellers must get behind is eco-friendly product alternatives. In the midst of society’s larger environmental concerns today, there’s now a push for companies to catch up to speed.
Most recently, Styrofoam bans and movement away from plastic straws (championed by companies like Starbucks and McDonalds) have rocked the boat for suppliers. Eco-friendly product trends will impact all sorts of jobs and industries, from schools and restaurants to government agencies and retail businesses. Under the pressure to protect margins while also adding on compliant alternatives, companies expect to be able to turn to their supplier partners for advice and best practices. For the prepared supplier or reseller, eco-friendly initiatives offer opportunities to fortify customer relationships and be an environmental champion in their industries.
Focus on providing value with eco-friendly alternatives
There’s no denying environmentalism poses significant challenges for suppliers, resellers and their customers. Polystyrene foams save organizations millions of dollars annually, and for industries like restaurants that are highly competitive and already operate on razor-thin profit margins, the shift from Styrofoam takeout boxes to alternative materials is a major stressor.
With the impacts of eco-friendly trends being so far reaching across markets, it’s important to assess and prepare for changes now. Suppliers must be proactive and identify alternatives so that they can remain reliable partners for their customers. As a supplier, you’re likely already aware of these trends and have anticipated operational improvements. Maybe you’ve even started to evaluate alternatives and assess what’s available to ensure compliance.
Regardless of where your organization is at, what’s most important is that your eco-friendly solutions provide value to customers now. When you focus on adding value, you combat concerns over increased prices with higher quality options.
As you weigh the pros and cons of each alternative, consider unforeseen areas of value that eco-friendly products offer:
- Higher-quality products
- Eco-friendly products are sturdier, cut resistant, easily recyclable, microwave safe, etc.
- They do not have a single utility
- In addition to meeting new sustainable certification standards, eco-friendly products have trickle down conveniences for end users. For example, while you can’t see through Styrofoam, new products may have transparent covers
- Product quality may result in other cost savings elsewhere. For example, double plated cups do not require beverage sleeves
- Warehouse management perks
- How you store eco-friendly products can free up space, and therefor cost savings. Foam is bulky and hard to store (comes in big boxes), but other products take up less space
- Eco-friendly trends won’t stop, so build out a methodology now
Although just a few environmental regulations take effect in the New Year, now is the time to get ahead of these trends. So few suppliers and resellers have expertise and a verified plan of attack, which means there’s major opportunity for organizations that learn how to best handle eco trends soon. Building out a methodology for how you assess and tackle tomorrow’s environmental needs puts your company in the best position to earn business and build a reputation for sustainable initiatives.
Contact your Essendant Account Manager or an Essendant representative to prepare for eco-trends and identify the product alternatives that offer your customers the most value.