Electronics retailers need green to get back in black

We’ve all been hearing that green can and should be the economic engine that gets America working again. The Consumer Electronics Association is advising struggling consumer electronics retailers (Remember Circuit City? Tweeter? CompUSA? All recently disappeared from the retail landscape) that they should focus like never before on green products and messaging in order to survive and thrive in the rebuilding economy.

That’s easier said than done, of course, but articles in the electronics retail trades like this one definitely help further the conversation. Some interesting points in this article:

  • The vast majority of consumers have no concept of a connection between green and electronics (and when you think about it, on the surface, why should they? They appear to be mutually exclusive concepts.). Consumer awareness of green computers is 17 percent, and consumer awareness of green televisions is 15 percent. When people think of green, they think largely of household products and food, says the article.
  • It’s clear that not many, if any, CE manufacturers are ready to go totally green, but what everyone needs to understand is that it’s called “going green” for a reason: It’s a process that will take place over time. That’s reflected in what the article says the majority of consumers would currently “demand” from green electronics products: recyclable packaging, recyclable product, energy efficient product, packaging made with recycled materials and biodegradable packaging. This isn’t radical stuff, by any means. If you’re a manufacturer who isn’t doing most or all of these things, you should be doing so already, or at the very least investigating it. And if you’re a retailer selling products with these attributes, you should be crowing about it.
  • The article says that a slight majority of consumers would pay a slight premium for green-friendly electronics.

Electronics have a tough hurdle to overcome in the green arena, since they consume energy in order to operate. But they’re making strides. It’s time for your friendly neighborhood dealers to understand how and what those strides are, and communicate them to you effectively so you can make educated decisions about the electronics you buy, and how to use them in the most energy efficient and enviromentally responsible ways possible. It’s the kind of “value-added” service brick-and-mortar retailers should be providing in order to justify their continued existence in a world where you can buy almost any electronics product online.

Posted by Joe Paone

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One Response

  1. Great post. I agree that it’s time for retailers to begin communicating the green features of popular electronics, but I can also understand their hesitancy. After all, some researchers have reported that of all the products claiming to be eco-friendly, a whopping 98% are guilty of greenwashing. We need standards and accepted guidelines before retailers –and consumers –can feel truly confident when choosing a “green” product.

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