4 Ways E-commerce Can Drive Conversions From Green Initiatives


Going green, online—is it worth it? The short answer is yes. Many marketers may not realize that catering specifically to this type of consumer can actually increase conversion rates, while maintaining your image as a green-friendly organization. And when applying some personalization to the mix, can also help keep your green friends very, very loyal.

Whether retail or hospitality, certain brands are continuously striving to maintain relevancy for a certain subset of eco-conscious customers—both offline and off. So, if you want your brand to be top-of-mind with the green-friendly, your website needs to follow a certain aesthetic—just like your products and physical locations.

1. Use your navigation to your advantage.

When green visitors hit your homepage, they should be able to immediate route themselves to a section that meets their eco-friendly requirements. This doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate an entire green banner on the homepage for every visitor to see. Simply highlighting and building in a green section into the navigation will get visitors up and clicking on the products they are interested in.

2. Highlight products and categories with green options.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that the level of willingness to pay a premium for green initiatives is significantly different depending on hotel type. Test out highlighting hotels that invest in green initiatives in the search results and hotel details page. By watching the results on conversions and bookings, you’ll be able to nail down who your green travelers are, and what they are looking for most.

On the flip side, retailers can easily highlight products on category pages to effectively call-out environmentally sound products. Using tricks such as a “green dot” or a “green leaf” icon identifies an eco-friendly product in an otherwise crowded page.

3. Be detailed and explanatory.

For those extra-inquisitive customers, explaining why a product or room is green is a necessary step to getting the conversion. Using “rollovers” is a great way to quickly explain what makes the product eco-friendly before the visitor clicks on it. This helps not only keep the visitor engaged on the path to purchase, but instills a level of trust with the site, since you took that extra step to keep consumers on the up and up.

4. Get (environmentally) personal.

It’s been shown when degree of environmental concern and other demographic factors remain constant, luxury and mid-priced hotel customers show, on average, a higher willingness to pay a premium for the green initiatives than economy hotel customers. On the same token, repeat visitors to your retail site who have shown interest in green products in the past, should not have to search around to find their desired products.

So how can you play that up? Personalization.

With personalization, conscious green visitors are immediately acknowledged and other visitors become aware of additional product offering—but aren’t necessary pushed for it. A technique such as behavioral targeting can help automatically syphon off non-green or unknown visitors, and promote green items, options or offers to those who are. By using a predictive, mathematical model, this allows your site to offer the right product, to the right visitor, at the right time. No matter how much merchandise you have, your customers will be targeted appropriately.

It’s important to remember that green consumers are just like everyone else out there—fickle, picky and demanding. As e-commerce marketers, it’s up to us to ensure we’re always catering to all our customers wants and needs—otherwise losing our green-friendly image is the least of our worries. It’s the customer loyalty that will be at stake.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.