Welcome to Episode 24 of the Sustainable Ecommerce Podcast!
Sales season is fast approaching, with Black Friday & Cyber Monday on the calendar in just a few months.
Classically they involve some of the year’s deepest discounts and can result in a flurry of purchasing. Indeed, if your brand sells on channels like Amazon, Black Friday can bring you a month’s worth of sales in a single day.
BUT, these kind of sales events can be a little problematic for sustainable brands.
Two of the biggest challenges come in regards to questions of how brands can afford such huge discounts if they are truly sourcing ethically with fair pay. Indeed, should sustainable brands be supporting excess consumption / hyper-consumerism in the name of a sales event?
It’s a slightly knotty problem, and to help me unravel it, my guest today is Peter Krideras, founder of the hugely successful ClickFrenzy event, and now founder of the only sales event in the retail calendar specifically for sustainable brands – called Green Friday.
Green Friday kicked off for the first time last November, and it’s pretty clear consumers want this. In just a few days, their event page saw over 75,000 visits, as you’ll see, pretty much from a standing start.
So, if you’re of a mind to rethink your Black Friday strategy this year, yet still get your brand in front of as many environmentally-conscious consumers as possible, Green Friday might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Giles Smith: Peter Krideras, welcome to the show! Before we get into all the nitty gritty details, can you give us maybe a bit of your background why you come to start this Green Friday movement.
Peter Krideras: Thank you. My whole life I've been in retail. Most in industry, know me as one of the founders of Click Frenzy, which we founded in 2012, and maybe see me as part of the problem, so I hope now I’m part of the solution with events like Green Friday.
It was an idea that we came up with very late last year. We thought it would be great if there was a sustainable event on the retail calendar and we went about putting together a very, very tightly organized event, literally put together in the space of four to five weeks. It was really pitted against black Friday. We were inundated with inquiries when we announced it, well over a hundred brands wanted to partake. In the end, we could only get about 25 odd brands on board due the time constraints. There was no real marketing budget behind it. It got some good PR, picked up by the news, picked up in the Fin Review, Inside Retails & Sydney Morning Herald. We built some awareness, I guess, to sustainable partners that, that joined us for the event last year.
So yeah, it was put together very, very quickly, but what it demonstrated to us is that there is a lot of retailers that are doing some wonderful things within this space, but consumer demand around what we term buying better is evident and events like Green Friday hopefully will become a mainstay of the, the retail calendar.
Giles Smith: So, Green Friday essentially is a bit like black Friday, right? Only it's focused explicitly on sustainable brands?
Peter Krideras: I wouldn’t say it's like black Friday, it generates slightly different behaviour. We're really focused on the wonderful things that retailers are doing in this space. When I say wonderful things, sustainability is a journey. There's retailers out there who are well progressed in their journeys or just started their journeys. And what we wanna do is take those and communicate those to a wider audience. Because today, if I wanted to understand what a brand was doing within this space, I'd have to do a lot of research, but we bring that to the forefront I guess, in a more consumer-friendly format and allow consumers to purchase sustainable goods.
The only brands and offers during the event will be sustainable.
Giles Smith: So why have you sort of pinned it to just one day of the year, rather than having a kind of ongoing platform?
Peter Krideras: Well, it's a four day sale. So, last year we did run it during the same time as black Friday. After the event, we conducted a lot of research, discussing it with participating retailers, retailers that missed out and obviously consumers.
And it was evident that they wanted it to be on its own day, so we moved it to November the 18th this year. The second thing, I guess, which came out of the research, was what I spoke about earlier. Consumers want to buy better, but they just don’t know how, and without doing research around what brands are doing within this space, we believe that by having a platform that can bring that to the forefront, it can address that issue for them.
And the third thing is they want to shop sustainable offers and sustainable deals. So the platform will have some amazing, well-known and respected retailers on the platform and also some new small players in this space. So we're hoping it becomes a little bit of I guess, a treasure hunt where there are some hidden gems out there that you can become a customer with. So, it sort of goes back to my Click Frenzy days, a lot of brands when we first launched were unknowns, but today they're very large brands. So we're hoping we can replicate that for some of our smaller, sustainable brands as well.
Giles Smith: There's huge pedigree in Click Frenzy here in Australia, hugely successful event. You mentioned you've done a whole bunch of research from last year, what's different this year? What can brands expect and what should they be looking for out of it?
Peter Krideras: We're very much positioning ourselves as an explorer event. Last year was heavily focused on brands that were built from ground-up as sustainable. So main difference is there will be a lot of focus on the brands and what they're doing around sustainability. Last year we did not have any deals.
Giles Smith: What are you doing in regards to bringing interested buyers, sustainability-oriented buyers to the platform?
Peter Krideras: Well, I can't announce some of the stuff we're doing at the moment, but we'll be announcing some media partnerships shortly.
Australia's made commitments, you know, between 2030 and 2050 like the Paris agreement, to meet certain outcomes. The reality as a country is we don't need a few brands or hundreds of thousands of people doing sustainability perfectly, we need thousands of brands and millions of individuals doing sustainability, imperfectly. If we're serious about hitting these milestones that we've committed to.
So that's what the event is really about. We're not looking for perfection, we're looking for action. We’re looking to educate people to buy better.
Giles Smith: I just want to throw this little devil's advocate thing into the mix here, because I think it's a really interesting challenge. There's been a fair bit of press over the past couple years, Black Fridays to be specific, around sustainable brands. And there's been a kind of counter swing towards doing nothing and, and slowing down and, and literally taking the opposite stance for that.
While Green Friday stands for something that I think we both can totally get behind and support in principle, I imagine that there are some brands thinking to themselves, “Should I be seen to be doing this sort of stuff as a sustainable brand? Is it okay?” What would you say to help people with that struggle?
Peter Krideras: We're not here to tell people to shop. We believe just “shop better”. I ask “am I buying because I need it, or am I buying it because it’s heavily discounted? That's probably the first question. The products that we'll be focused on is sustainable products. A lot of brands have taken almost a resistance approach to Black Friday. Some of them even turn off their websites which is quite an interesting approach. A lot of them have done it because there hasn't been a platform or an event or a program, which is aligned to what they're about, which is sustainability and ethical practices. That's why we believe events like Green Friday has already resonated. We've signed up in excess of 30 brands already, and we've got a lot more in the pipeline we're working through because this gives an opportunity to have a voice.
Giles Smith: I couldn't agree more. If you're a sustainable brand, if you are making things out of sustainable materials, if you're doing things in a conscious, ethical way, you actually want to leverage these sort of events to get more customers and to help educate the market that you exist.
It's a fantastic opportunity when people are out in the marketplace looking to buy things, to get in front of them and tell them you are there.
Peter Krideras: Getting exposure is massive. There's brands I honestly was not even aware of, but when I visit their websites, it was like, wow. If I knew about this brand sooner, I would've shopped with them.
Giles Smith: So let's talk a bit practical then. Do you have a maximum brand count that you're shooting for this year or is it just we'll keep going until we have the cut-off date?
Peter Krideras: No, we’ll keep it open until very close to the launch date. We're confident we're going to have somewhere in between 120 to 150 brands participating and around a thousand plus deals on the site. So, at this stage to get involved, what they need to do is contact firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team will back to them with details.
It's a unique platform in the sense that we are not transactional. The retailer owns the customer and the ultimate sale. It depends how they want to use the event. If sales is something you want to focus on, definitely that's something we can assist with, but if it's building brand awareness, growing the database and building brand loyalty within this space, events like Green Friday will definitely be able to address those things for you as well.
Giles Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So in terms of getting as much traction as possible, what's your advice to brands on what they need to do?
Peter Krideras: We will be producing a promotion guide which will detail best practice based on my experience with running previous events like this.
Giles Smith: What does the onboarding process actually look like? What are the steps they need to go through to get approved and get up and running?
Peter Krideras: So once they’ve spoken to us and obviously agreed to the terms, it's very cost effective to get involved. It’s as little as $500 to participate.
Giles Smith: Do you have any thoughts on whether the brands should pop up specific landing pages?
Peter Krideras: Yes a dedicated landing page is a good idea. We will be producing a guidance package, and social aspects will be included as part of what we're offering. That will be able to release over the coming weeks.
Giles Smith: Probably it's a bit too early to talk about, what's next for Green Friday, but do you have a couple of year plan on where you want to see this go?
Peter Krideras: Yes we do, first thing we can do is make it annual. The second this it to run an event around Earth month. In addition to that, we'll be running, I guess a more equality event around women's, businesses with female CEOs.
Giles Smith: Fantastic. Congratulations for pulling it all together a second time.
Peter Krideras: Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss the event. Like I said, it's about buying better. If there's any take outs from what we're talking about today, I hope people just understand what we're trying to promote is buying better.
Top 3 Takeouts
- So the first thing for me is that last year’s almost off the cuff promotion demonstrated that there is a LOT of consumer interest in a sales event where all of the brands are focused on sustainability. In just a few weeks of planning, they were able to generate 750k site visits over just a few days. With months of preparation, some pretty high-profile advisors and nearly triple the number of brands on board this year to attract buyers, how big could it be?
- Secondly, there’s still only going to be maybe 120 brands taking part this year, spread across about 30 subcategories. Unlike the big events on Amazon, you know the people visiting are likely interested in choosing sustainable options, and the competition isn’t that fierce, which means the opportunity for brand discovery & awareness is huge.
- Lastly, this to me is an example of an absolute no-brainer investment. With placements starting at just $500, if you get nothing, it isn’t going to kill you. You could easily burn that over a couple of days on Facebook. But the upside of getting visitors to your site, whether or not you choose to offer a solid discount is potentially massive, and I don’t know where else you could access this much relevant traffic for that kind of investment.
So, I hope you enjoyed listening to Peter and learning about Green Friday. We’ll be back next week with another terrific founder interview, so until then, keep building your brand for a healthier planet!