How can we reduce our fashion environmental impact?


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Alongside the return of the denim maxi skirt and grunge style, sustainable fashion is trending. Brands from Balenciaga to H&M are leveraging recycled materials in their collections and educating consumers on how to reduce their fashion environmental impact. And they’re gaining traction. The ethical fashion market is expected to more than double in the next decade, showing that the industry can do good and do well.

So how do eCommerce retailers help shoppers make more eco-friendly choices? By making sustainable products easy to find.

How eCommerce Filters Help Shoppers Discover Sustainable Products

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry has been the point of entry for many shoppers who care about sustainability. These companies can label products with ESG-related claims, such as “cage-free,” “vegan,” “eco-friendly” and “biodegradable,” which makes it easy for people to purchase products that are aligned with their values. A recent study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ showed that CPG products with these terms on their packaging grew 8% more in the past five years than products that made no such claims.

Although CPG brands have cracked the code for selling organic eggs, the fashion industry has a way to go to help consumers understand the environmental impact of their purchases. Aside from brands like Allbirds that sell exclusively sustainable products, knowing which items are eco-friendly can be difficult. To improve the customer experience and accelerate the adoption of sustainable fashion, retailers should add eCommerce filters for materials, manufacturing, transportation and end of life — the same way they have filters for size and color on their websites today.

Fashion Retailers That Let You Filter for Sustainability

Here are a few brands that currently let shoppers filter by sustainable options on their websites.

  • Princess Polly: Fans can shop the brand’s “Lower Impact” collection, which features products that are created using materials that are better for the environment. Items in this collection are made with 50% or more lower-impact materials.
  • Urban Outfitters: The company’s Urban Renewal brand has existed since 1983 and offers repurposed, remade and vintage goods. These items represent the company’s commitment to sustainability, circularity and environmental impact.
  • Patagonia: The outdoor clothing brand loved by tech bros and adventurers worldwide makes it easy for consumers to shop its Worn Wear collection. This program lets people trade in Patagonia gear, which gets resold instead of sent to the landfill.

Personalized Shopping for Environmentally Conscious Shoppers

Personalization is key to creating an online shopping experience that’s tailored to the customer’s needs. Shopping optimization software lets retailers understand a customer’s personal style, search behavior, product views and purchases. It can gather data points like geography, the referral site, the device type, the time and day, and even local weather to create personalized suggestions for that customer. When retailers allow shoppers to filter by sustainability, that becomes another input to indicate interest in eco-friendly products. The website can then surface more sustainable options for the customer, increasing their satisfaction and brand loyalty.

There’s clear demand for sustainable fashion — and brands are responding by incorporating more eco-friendly materials, manufacturing practices, delivery options and end-of-life programs to reduce the items that end up in the landfill. Now it’s up to retailers to make it easy for consumers to find and purchase sustainable products.

Zohar Gilad
Zohar Gilad is an experienced technology entrepreneur and executive. In 2013, he co-founded Fast Simon, Inc. (formerly InstantSearch+), leveraging his experience to bring state-of-the-art site search to millions of publishers and e-tailers at an affordable cost. Throughout his career, Gilad has been the driving force behind more than 20 software products for millions of users worldwide.


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