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Retailers today face keen competition, reduced profitability of stores due to decreasing foot traffic, rising energy costs, and a need to address corporate sustainability.
Why are retailers going green?
Corporate social responsibility. Protecting the planet. Complying with government regulations. All are solid reasons for implementing energy management and sustainability measures, but the numbers are just as compelling:
Energy savings can build profitability
Contemporary consumer buying patterns are affecting retail sales. With the rise in online commerce, retailers reported a 5% loss in store sales per square foot between 2005 and 2010. Forecasts indicate that online sales should reach 17 to 21% of total retail business by 2016. For brick-and-mortar stores, savings generated by an energy management program can be a hidden asset in offsetting declining sales
Many retailers are using sustainability and energy management programs as a strategy for enhancing brand loyalty, increasing margins, reducing corporate environmental footprint and staying competitive in rapidly changing markets. Such programs help reinforce shareholder trust and boost consumer confidence, which can strengthen brand resilience.
Best practices that work
Leading retailers who launch energy management and sustainability programs follow these best practices:
Technologies that support the program
Retailers can access an enormous amount of data from their buildings, stores and supply chain. The challenge is to collect, aggregate, and interpret this big data and transform it into actions that improve business performance.
Energy and sustainability programs rely on efficient equipment and systems that control a store’s energy use and collect data needed for identifying efficiency opportunities. “Software as a service” applications compile energy, resource, and supplier data, and provide access to a store’s detailed key performance metrics as well as enterprisewide data.
Six steps to a customized program
Energy management and sustainability work hand in hand: Reducing energy use has a positive financial impact and can help fund sustainability projects. To put a program into action:
Energy management and sustainability programs are long-term initiatives that deliver a number of benefits to retailers. Success in these areas will improve the bottom line, increase stakeholder approval and customer loyalty – and contribute to outperforming the competition.