Mugs made from recycled plastic

The psychology of making the sale usually involves the customer feeling good about their purchase, feeling like they are doing good, and getting the social credit as well as buying something you want. Green products have it all when it comes to the psychology of making purchases. So, how do we make our green choices?

Not the ads but the reputation

When it comes to green products, consumers want to make their purchases based on the reputation of the company. If a company is known to be environmentally responsible and has a perception of making products that are safer than other products, consumers are more likely to purchase any of the company’s items.

Consumers sometimes do not know where to start when researching products, what chemicals to avoid or what ingredients they should not eat. When a brand has built a strong reputation for creating products that keep that in mind, consumers are more likely to purchase from them.

Feeling good about your purchase

Green consumers want to feel like they are doing something good for themselves and good for the planet. Consumers are willing to spend more money if they are able to achieve both. Even in the economic downturn consumers surveyed said they would continue to make green purchases.

We cannot forget the social aspect of our purchases, green items that are considered cool or hip are obviously more likely to be purchased even at a higher price tag. The recent success of the sales of Tesla cars shows that people are willing to spend more money for a green product if it has a social status tied to it.

Buyer beware

So what does this mean for consumers? Just because a company has a good reputation does not mean consumers should not verify the green claims. Consumers should always be aware of greenwashing.  In another survey, 63 percent of those surveyed only trust company claims of social responsibility sometimes.

3 ways to protect yourself from “greenwashing”

  1. Consumers need to verify information by reading the product packaging. If there are ingredients you want to avoid make sure the product does not have it. If you are looking for locally made products check the packaging to see where it came from.
  2. Do your research. Many people have been surprised to see the list of companies and brands that are involved in the fight against GMO labeling. Many consumers changed their purchasing habits based on participation in those campaigns. Check social media and research the companies you are considering. Are they a trusted brand? Will the product match your expectations?
  3. Use outside standards to help you make choices. The term natural does not have defined meaning but USDA Organic does. Look for products that have labels that match your purchase interests like USDA Organic, The Non GMO Project, The Rainforest Alliance and others.

Being an informed consumer means you can rest assured you are pairing your intent with the end experience — all with the planet in mind.

Feature image courtesy of lwicks_2000

By Leigh Garofalow

Leigh Garofalow is a self described 'born environmentalist' who won a recycling poster contest in 3rd grade and has been green ever since. She is a mother of two children under the age of 6 who think taking a cloth napkin and their own utensils to school is normal. She loves writing about anything related to health, wellness, and the environment. One day she hopes to make every up-cycled item and recipe she pinned on Pinterest!