Should “sustainability” be your number 1 marketing message? With Hugo & Thomas from Canopey (episode 391)

Thomas Panton & Hugo Douglas-Deane are the co-founders of Canopey (previously Greenr), where they’re building the UK’s most accessible and comprehensive sustainable shopping marketplace. Founded in 2021 they’re going live to consumers this Summer.

eCMP391 Landscape (2)

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Getting Into eCommerce

Hugo has always worked in digital marketing but eCommerce is something new for him.

Thomas on the other hand had a business prior to Greenr/Canopey called Festovers. They upcycled leftover festival tents and either sold or rented them out on marketplaces.

About Canopey

  • Based in the UK
  • Currently sells and distributes in the UK but Thomas and Hugo are looking to break into international markets in the future

Canopey’s approach is to feed into consumer habits and offer them solutions and products they’re already using but in a sustainable way.

In deciding what merchants they partner with and what products to sell on Canopey, Thomas says balance is important. You don’t want the process to be too complicated, yet due diligence in vetting the merchants and products should still be done.

What they’re looking forward to is the fact that as the industry is growing, it has become easier to incorporate machine learning into the process.

Canopey’s Team

Thomas is the founder and CEO of Canopey, while Hugo stands as the CMO and co-founder. Aside from the two of them, there have Emma who’s the CTO, plus three interns who take care of different aspects in the business.

Thomas also mentions that Canopey has great advisors who provide valuable expertise from the outside.

The Message Resonating with Customers

Because most consumers don’t really understand sustainability, Canopey is giving them the shortcut by presenting them with information that’s clear and will help them make better purchasing decisions. Providing social proof to help ease the confusion is part of this process.

Hugo also explains that while the intent to buy sustainably is there, taking action is not. By putting these brands and products together in one place, Canopey is making it easy for consumers to choose better. This addresses the accessibility issue that comes with sustainability.

So the message really is less on the sustainability aspect but more on raising awareness and making it convenient for the customers.

Key Ways to Convert Customers

While price and convenience are top deciding factors in making sustainable purchases, another key aspect is actually selling better products. This goes not just better for the environment but for the consumer himself.

Even Google search trends suggest that more people are looking at the best products options, and queries on cheap alternatives have decreased. This shows that consumers are looking for better products with value.

Canopey’s Target Market

Canopey’s focus is more on those who are already converted to sustainable shopping.

As the market grows, awareness will also trickle down to other consumers who are not necessarily looking to be sustainable but just want to buy better products.

Instead of convincing people to buy products because of their sustainability element, you’re getting them to buy something because it’s of better quality aside from being sustainable.

Canopey will be the option for products you typically consume but are better than what you’re currently using.

The Price of Sustainability

In every stage of the buying process, Canopey shows the consumers that the alternatives they’re presenting are so much better than the mainstream options, even with a higher price point.

Marketers should help customers see the value of sustainability and how it makes a product better over-all. Taking down the barriers to buying better and going for quality products over cheaper options are the main aspects of what Canopey is all about.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • For Hugo, the unsung hero is email.

Tool Top Tip

  • Google, for all the cool tools within it 
  • A physical whiteboard, where you can flesh out ideas

Growth Top Tip

  • Know your customer: who they are, what they’re looking for, and where they’re shopping. For Canopey, you can only create content that works if you know who you’re talking to.

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