Using Sustainable Packaging to Increase Customer Loyalty

Balancing compliance, cost, and sustainability is a daily struggle for most cannabis bu...

Using Sustainable Packaging to Increase Customer Loyalty

Balancing compliance, cost, and sustainability is a daily struggle for most cannabis businesses and compliant packaging is a must for all cannabis businesses. However, not all cannabis packaging is created equal and not all cannabis packaging reflects the values of your business.

Low-cost packaging, even if it’s made from unsustainable materials, can appear to be an attractive option. However, we want to shed light on some of the tradeoffs businesses should acknowledge when they choose unsustainable packaging and what message this choice communicates about their brands.

This blog post examines how brands can communicate their values through packaging and the opportunity that exists for using these choices to help build customer loyalty.

Building Customer Loyalty Through Sustainable Packaging

Do customers really pay attention to the types of packaging their cannabis suppliers use? And how does packaging communicate a brand’s values to customers?

Customers Are Thinking About Packaging

Over the last decade, virtually every sector and industry has seen the rapid rise of a new consumer type: the conscious consumer. And guess what? The cannabis market is chock-full of conscious consumers! 

The conscious consumer tends to “look beyond the label” when making a purchase, and is concerned with how their purchasing decisions reflect their personal values. The conscious consumer also has a different perception of value, one that extends beyond the traditional measures of price and quality. 

A recent Grow Ensemble article aptly states that “along with price and quality, the social and environmental impact of products from production to disposal is influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions.”

In other words, consumers are paying more attention to the ancillary components of businesses, like packaging, and it’s becoming an increasingly important factor in their purchasing decisions. 

With that in mind, packaging is becoming an increasingly important point of differentiation for cannabis brands that want to target conscious consumers. 

Increase Stakeholder Buy-In

When a cannabis company chooses to use sustainable packaging over traditional packaging, they’re doing much more than simply picking an eco-friendly packaging product. They’re actively communicating their brand’s values to all of their stakeholders, including customers, employees, vendors, investors, etc.

Sustainable packaging can have a significant impact on how different stakeholders perceive your business. We already know that consumers are paying more attention to things like packaging, but how does that same decision affect companies internally?

Just like the values of today’s consumers are evolving, so are the values of employees, many of whom are now looking beyond the amount of zeros in their paycheck to determine their satisfaction in the workplace.

In a survey conducted by Deloitte of more than 1,300 working adults, “employees at companies with a strong sense of purpose were more than four times as likely to (79% versus 19%) state that there was high employee satisfaction at their company.” 

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes in any type of service industry is familiar with the idea that happy employees lead to happy customers. As a cannabis business, it is important to think about how the choices you make and the way you choose to align your values with your decisions impacts the level of buy-in of other stakeholders, beyond just the customer.

Differentiate Yourself the Competition

Standing out in an increasingly crowded field of products and brands in the cannabis industry is difficult. While there are some industry leaders when it comes to certain products, there are also thousands of brands competing for shelf-space that make very similar products.

Companies have gotten extremely creative with their branding and packaging, spending hours crafting messaging and logos to help their brand stand out. What if you took a different approach, and used your company’s values as a point of differentiation instead of flashy colors and images? 

One way to clearly communicate your company values to your customers is through the types of packaging you use for your cannabis products. It creates an additional piece of conversation at the point-of-sale that makes both the buyer and the seller feel good about the transaction, beyond obvious selling points like quality and price. 

As you continue to look for ways to differentiate your brand from your competitors, social and environmental impact can be just as valuable of an avenue to achieve your goal as the time and money spent on creative branding.

How to Build Customer Loyalty Through Sustainable Packaging 

Ultimately, the best way to address any cannabis packaging pain point is to work with a packaging supplier you can trust and to build a long-term relationship with your packaging supplier. 

So what are some steps you can take to find packaging that fits your business needs while also communicating your brand’s values in relation to sustainability?

Talk to Your Cannabis Packaging Supplier 

It all starts with a conversation! You have to talk to your cannabis packaging supplier to ensure you are on the same page. Only then can you begin building the trust required to sustain a long-term working relationship. 

Ask These 3 Key Questions

1. How much do values currently factor into your decision making?
For any business, creating clearly defined values and using those principles to guide your operating procedures and purchasing decisions is a daunting prospect. Many of us are just trying to keep our lights on and our doors open, so it’s easy to get stuck focusing solely on your bottom line.

It’s also easy to fall into the trap of saying that your business has goals and values, but it’s much more difficult to operate in a way that actually reflects those values.

Clear values can help guide decisions, such as making the conscious decision to explore sustainable packaging options rather than just the most convenient or cheapest option available. This is why defining your value system as a cannabis business is so important, especially because the cannabis industry is still so new. 

2. What is your current customer loyalty program based on?
Getting that first customer is one of the best feelings for any new business. The tough part is turning that first-time buyer into a repeat customer.

Repeat customers are the backbone of most businesses, and we all have various methods and techniques we use to ensure that these customers feel their loyalty to our brands is being reciprocated.

What if there was a way to create long-lasting loyal customers who continuously choose your business over the competition for reasons unrelated to discounts or deals? 

For customers who are concerned about the social and environmental impact of your business, it’s important to find ways to align the values of your business with those of your customers. Sustainable packaging is an excellent way to build customer loyalty with conscious consumers.

3. Do you and your customers share the same values?
One of the most important things a business can do is to get to know their customers. In order to do this effectively, you need to have conversations with them and gather key insights into who they are and what they value about you and your products.

Get to know your customers on a personal level whenever possible. It’s not enough to just know their names, the products they order, and their order quantities.

Try to facilitate conversations that explore what their goals and values are as people and businesses (if you’re a B2B company). Try to find ways you can help them achieve their goals and identify the ways in which your values are aligned.

By doing this, you can tailor your approach to customer loyalty to make sure your values as a business align with those of your customers. This is the most effective and lasting way to build true customer loyalty that will last a lifetime.

Key Takeaways About Building Customer Loyalty Through Sustainable Packaging

As we mentioned above, it’s important to work with a packaging supplier you can trust and build a long-term relationship with. 

Some of the best ways to build customer loyalty through sustainable packaging are to ensure your cannabis packaging supplier has:

1. Single-use packaging options that are made from plant-based, reclaimed, or recycled materials.

2. A clear understanding of your values and the ability to help guide your purchasing decision in a way that reflects those values.

3. A dedicated sales representative that knows you, your business, your values, and your needs.

One of the best ways to communicate your cannabis brand’s commitment to sustainability is through your packaging, but you need to have packaging that prioritizes sustainability first! 

Contact us if you’re ready to discover the real impact your packaging has on the environment and you’re ready to build a long-term relationship with a cannabis packaging supplier you can trust. It all starts with a conversation!