The era of consumerism has been in full swing for quite some time. However, the combination of the recent recessions and the growing global commitment to sustainability has made many consumers more discerning about where they spend their money. These people do not want to simply buy the first product that meets their needs. Instead, they want to purchase products created by companies whose practices they support. Here are a few of the most coveted qualities for startup businesses.
1. Commitment to Sustainability
Environmental welfare is on everybody’s minds these days. Although the world has a long way to go in terms of completely eliminating waste, we are approaching that goal with baby steps. To this end, many people choose to primarily patronize companies who make sustainable practices a central aspect of their business model.
Commitment to sustainability looks different depending on the products in question. For example, Hampton Creek is a food tech company whose main goal is to make food production and consumption healthier for both people and the planet. One way that they attempt to meet this goal is by using plants instead of animal products in their foods. This practice is better for the environment on multiple levels, and it results in delicious cookies and condiments.
2. Ethical Business Practices
Environmental friendliness is not the only type of ethical business practice that consumers care about. They also want companies to use ethical manufacturing practices and treat their employees fairly. For example, major companies such as Netflix and Costco have made big news in recent years for their employee-friendly policies. People like buying from such companies because they feel like they are contributing to the happiness of their fellow humans, rather than benefitting from rotten labor conditions.
People also like companies that stand for social causes and contribute to charities. There are a number of ways that companies can honor this preference. The motivation behind it is the same as the motivation for patronizing companies with ethical practices—people feel better about spending their money in venues that they believe will pay it forward responsibly.
3. Social Media Presence
Social media is practically a necessity for maintaining certain types of relationships, including company-customer relationships. Yes, you heard that correctly—it is time for you and your customers to become Facebook official. Social media use has exploded across all platforms, demographics, and devices. It is convenient to get updates on everyone you know at the same time. It is even more convenient to be able to communicate with your favorite businesses while you are at it.
Businesses can benefit from having a social media presence in many ways, but two areas are particularly worth considering. First, social media is a premium outlet for numerous methods of marketing. Second, it provides an easy way for customers to get in touch with you, whether they need to voice complaints or want to offer positive feedback. Be sure to operate social media accounts wisely and authentically—if your posts come off as canned, the whole thing could backfire.
4. Products Made to Last
Although it can be hard to resist a good bargain, many people ultimately prefer quality over quantity when it comes to their purchases. Having to replace products that break quickly is frustrating and wasteful. As such, consumers want assurance that their purchases will stand the test of time. For this reason, goods that are touted to be artisan, handmade, and of high-quality materials are gaining footholds in the market, perhaps in response to the vast assortment of inexpensive but flimsy products that are also available.
While this category primarily houses products like furniture and clothing, it is not limited to them. For example, food is by nature rather fleeting, so people like the idea of purchasing and eating foods that appear more worthwhile. This is one reason why foods that are marketed as being more nutritious and made with “real” ingredients are increasing in popularity.
Give the People What They Want
If your company is still in the planning stages, you should strongly consider finding ways to incorporate some or all of the above characteristics into your business model. After all, things will not go very well if you do not have a market for your products. To run a successful business, you must adapt to the needs of the customers you hope to serve. Your company will have a far stronger presence if you tailor it to the current consumer landscape.