A key challenge in shifting consumer behaviours in more sustainable directions is a phenomenon known as the “action-intention” or “say-do” gap.
Dr. Kate White, Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at UBC Sauder School of Business, explains, “Most people have fairly positive attitudes and intentions around sustainable actions, but when you go in and look at what they actually do, they don’t always follow through with their stated intentions”. Recent research shared by Dr. White, shows that while 65% of consumers say they want to buy from purpose-driven brands that contribute to sustainability and social-impact, only about 26% of the same consumers actually make such purchases.
That's why SRRI started our SHIFT program and piloted it from January to May 2021. The SHIFT Program includes the following key steps:
Unique to the SHIFT Program was the use of BC’s 7 Motivations for Lighter Living to gain deeper insights into target markets. These distinct motivations segment the BC population by their dominant motivators, attitudes, and behaviours related to lifestyle choices and consumption patterns in five key areas: eating, stuff, moving around, home, and general lighter living.
Fulfill Shoppe, a zero waste store from Greater Vancouver run by sisters Pam McEwin and Lori Crumpe, participated in the SHIFT Pilot Program. Fulfill Shoppe delivers nutritious pantry staples, coffee, snacks, and eco-friendly beauty, household and cleaning products to suburban families. This purpose driven, sister-run business is “your journey to low waste living,” removing wasteful packaging by delivering locally sourced goods in refillable jars and bags, which at the end of each use, Fulfill Shoppe collects, cleans, sanitizes and recirculates for more refills. Remember the milkman? This system is as easy as that with no fuss, mess, or waste.
Participating in the SHIFT Program provided Fulfill Shoppe with invaluable insights about how to apply specific SHIFT factors to engage target markets and increase sales. Pam McEwin, Fulfill Shoppe co-owner, shared that the SHIFT program “was super helpful and [we learned] a lot of takeaways and lessons that we are going to continue to A/B test and go forward with."
Fulfill Shoppe’s target behaviour was to drive traffic to their product page, get people to add items to their cart and then purchase them - with the goal of increasing sales. The four test ads they developed were designed to speak to the values and needs of their target audience of women aged 28 to 45 who live in suburban communities, many of whom identify with the Healthy Life & Planet and Eco-Trends motivations for BC. The ads tested the Social Influence and Individual Self SHIFT factors, emphasizing benefits such as convenience, easy online ordering, ditching harmful single use packaging, accessing healthy and tasty snacks, one stop shopping, and the availability of products suited to a range of dietary needs and preferences.
The top two performing ads demonstrated that a combination of Social Influence and Individual Self factors were effective at reaching key audiences. However, a key learning for Fulfill Shoppe was that ad reach was not indicative of an increase in items to cart and purchase for new customers. Instead of attracting new customers to buy their products, the ads acted as triggers to remind repeat customers to reorder online. As such, Pam and Lori realized that habit formation, the “H” factor in SHIFT, was also integral to increasing regular ordering and sales.