Recent consumer survey and trend research by leading retail think tank PSFK shows that consumers expect responsive and responsible manufacturing, when they want it, how they want it. The document enables retailers and brands to understand the competitive advantage of using sustainable business practices. In particular, the researchers found that companies can meet consumer needs by innovating not only in product design, but also in the end-consumer experience through technological advancements, operational efficiency, digital behaviors and sustainable business model innovations.

Make the business case for sustainability

Sustainability efforts deliver business benefits and drive corporate social responsibility. In part due to continued global supply chain disruptions, brands and retailers are bringing manufacturing and design processes closer to the consumer – both physically and digitally. New strategies help identify unmet needs in the marketplace, enable enhanced personalization at scale, and bring products closer to their end consumers.

The Harvard Business Review reports that integrated sustainability efforts clearly translate into positive impact on business performance. This confirms PSFK’s findings that new on-demand and local manufacturing techniques reduce transaction costs, give companies more control over production, and fuel more ethical and sustainable supply chains.

PSFK’s quantitative survey of US buyers shows:

  • Consumers expect the retailers and brands they shop with to demonstrate responsible and sustainable practices. Consumers demand that manufacturers take environmental measures such as sustainably sourcing components and ingredients or using a production process that reduces waste. PSFK research found that 3 in 5 US shoppers say they are influenced to purchase products from companies that create a positive impact with responsible manufacturing.
  • Consumers are willing to share data in exchange for a personalized product or experience, but many have yet to be convinced of the benefits. While many people find what they are looking for when shopping, a significant portion need help finding the products that are physically right for them. According to PSFK research, over 45% of US shoppers say they rarely or never find the perfect size, shape or fit.
  • Additionally, while shoppers are interested in custom made-to-order products, there is a limit to the amount of personal information they are willing to share today. 57% of US shoppers say they would only share a small or moderate amount of data with brands and retailers in order to be offered the right size and shape products. 14% of buyers say they don’t want to share any data at all.
  • To improve the overall customer experience and respond to real-time shifts in demand, companies are adopting strategies that shorten supply chains and adapt production to customer needs at a localized level. While many US shoppers are happy that their products are made anywhere in North America (31%) (or even the world (15%)), a high proportion are looking for locally made products. PSFK research found that 48% of US shoppers would prefer to buy from companies with a business strategy in which they manufacture their products within 100 miles of where shoppers live.
  • Corporate social responsibility is important. As e-commerce grows, so does the environmental impact of deliveries. 43% of US shoppers are concerned or very concerned about the environmental impact of shipping and delivery of their online purchases. Only 7% say they are not at all concerned with a company’s sustainable development practices.

PSFK US Consumer Survey

The PSFK a quantitative survey was conducted in February 2022. The survey was a “baseline census” balanced in terms of age and gender. Respondents had household income between $0 and $200,000.

To get a full copy survey resultscontact: [email protected]

For more information on Dynamic Manufacturing Strategiesplease refer to the full report from PSFK iQ Research: Now available for download.

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