Gaining traction in a recovering economy presents a challenge for even the greenest of small businesses. Your company may already demonstrate leadership in social and environmental sustainability through responsible operations. It may even offer an exceptional, eco-friendly product line. However, you may be struggling to translate these efforts into attention from your target consumers.
The Green Business Bureau has found that many small businesses lack the resources needed to meet their full potential, but joining an online marketplace can help to eliminate this barrier to success. One such marketplace, JP Selects, provides an excellent case study as a channel for green companies to access broader markets and to receive recognition for their sustainable offerings.
Brad Crowell, vice president of brands for JP Selects, says the marketplace was founded to give a leg up to emerging companies that are “doing good business.” It offers a suite of B2B support services, from online shopping forums and credit card-transaction processing to warehousing and inventory management.
Most importantly, JP Selects also provides consumer exposure. The company, which screens all partner businesses to assure sound sustainability practices, leverages its reputation to introduce small-scale entrepreneurs to national and international markets for green products and services. By acting as a “green guarantor,” JP Selects has become a point of contact for home-shopping networks, print media, and other interests that seek to connect with eco-friendly companies and brands.
Recognizing the diverse approaches to sustainability that small businesses can take, JP Selects examines various indicators — such as energy efficiency, waste management and recycling, community involvement, and organic and nontoxic source materials — to vet potential new partners. The company recently launched a set of eco-icons that businesses can use to demonstrate verified leadership in each area.
The screening process also requires a review of product samples by JP Selects staff, who assure that all goods accepted meet high quality and functionality standards. Final approval comes from company co-founder John Paul DeJoria.
Given the growing demand for transparency, JP Selects is looking into ways to include more specific company-profile information to consumers while they shop. These measures have helped the marketplace establish trust among consumers, which it extends to its partners.
Green consumers are some of the most demanding and most loyal buyers, creating opportunities for small businesses with exceptional products. But establishing awareness of — and trust in — a new brand can require extensive marketing and significant investment for small businesses. Online shopping experiences can often lack the transparency that allows eco-conscious consumers to make informed choices. By considering selective, sustainability-focused channels such as JP Selects, your company can access the green marketplace, gain the traction your business needs, and earn the recognition your products deserve.