Today is our sixth and final Mindful Masterclass - turning our focus towards Mindful Business – adding to the showcase of brands that we believe are doing interesting or impressive things aligning to the pillars of our Sustainability Guide. Let’s delve into the brand BuyMeOnce!
Every Mindful Masterclass article that we publish takes a deep dive into several aspects of a brand’s approach to sustainability. We’ll investigate their general approach to sustainability as shown through positioning and branding, then look at the tech that’s supporting their mission. Finally, we’ll pull out a couple of key takeaways, to help your own brand consider incremental improvements to internal practices. Today, we’re looking at online retailer BuyMeOnce.
BuyMeOnce, as the name suggests, has built a whole business around one core concept - buying items made to stand the test of time. Their message rings crystal clear throughout everything they do. Items should be made to last - to do their job well, and to keep doing their job well.
Although this concept sounds beautifully simple and is common sense, it's important to acknowledge that this angle really swims against the current of the typical approach to purchasing. “Buy it cheaply, get it quickly, replace it when it breaks” seems to be the modern mantra when it comes to acquiring new items. So, a business built on doing the exact opposite? We had to learn more…
Mindful Business: What Are BuyMeOnce Doing Right?
The beauty of the BuyMeOnce business lies in its simplicity. As a business model, it might seem counterintuitive to encourage the purchase of things that will never need to be replaced - but by positioning itself as a “one stop shop” for a range of beautifully curated products that customers can have real faith in lasting, they have cornered a brilliant market.
The business model that BuyMeOnce deploys is uncompromising. Prices will not be the cheapest you can find. For an online business, where we’re forever reminded that our competitor’s pricing is just a click away, and where a race to the bottom seems to be the norm, this shouldn’t feel like an advantage. And yet there’s something “reassuringly expensive” about BuyMeOnce’s offering. We’re so used to transient, mass produced, low quality products, that higher costs should feel like a bit of a wake up call.
BuyMeOnce works as a business model because they pitch things perfectly. The advantage to the planet and to people, personally, is clearly communicated – not only are you saving resources, you’re also saving yourself time and money over time. While being able to afford a more expensive, higher quality item does have a degree of privilege associated with it, these pieces undoubtedly represent better value over time. We’re reminded of Terry Pratchett’s famous “boots theory” here – cheap pairs wear out every year, leather pairs last.
As an ecommerce site, BuyMeOnce does a great job of merchandising their items via clear collections. They run an informative blog, as well as providing insight into how their products are carefully selected. It’s this research process that makes their business model so successful – they’re enhancing the value of your purchase, by adding the advantage of their extensive experience as curators.
The BuyMeOnce ecommerce store is run on Shopify. MindfulCommerce regularly digs into the sustainability efforts of the major ecommerce platforms, and Shopify invariably comes out tops in terms of their sustainability and ethical practice. By running on Shopify, BuyMeOnce will be hosted using 100% green and renewable energy. Additionally, they may be eligible for other sustainability wins, such as free offsetting of Black Friday shipping and more for those stores using the Shop app.
In terms of stack, BuyMeOnce is running its marketing through Klaviyo (a common theme we’ve seen developing throughout the Mindful Masterclasses) and has analytics covered with Hotjar and Lucky Orange. One especially interesting addition (and which is probably contributing to their great Digital Beacon scoring) is Lazy Sizes, which allows the delayed loading of images (iframes, scripts etc) until they come into view. This reduces page loading times, so has a knock on benefit for customer experience (and potentially even conversion).
BuyMeOnce also leverages Klarna, adding “buy now, pay later” options to mode of purchase. While the ethics of these apps are occasionally questioned, there’s no denying that by helping to spread the cost of purchase, apps like Klarna do make higher-cost sustainable products more widely accessible – and could even save money in the long term if the customer doesn’t need to depend upon rebuying multiple cheaper but lower quality items.
Digital Carbon Footprint
When we ran their URL through Digital Beacon, an assessment tool that calculates the carbon emissions caused by a first time or returning viewer opening the website, we were delighted to see a verdict of “Good” returned. While this might sound like fairly average praise, Digital Beacon is quite demanding, so this represents a real achievement, and is one of the best scores we’ve seen returned as part of this Mindful Masterclass series.
Takeaways from BuyMeOnce
Don’t shy away from a disruptive business model that goes against the grain of established purchasing behaviours. Modern attitudes to purchasing are what has got us into the mess we’re in today – if you’re offering an alternative, chances are high that there are consumers out there looking to do things differently as well!
If you’re doing things differently, shout about it. Talk clearly and honestly about your business model - be transparent about your processes and decision making. Build up confidence in your customers by being confident in your own offering.
If the products you sell cost more, explain why. If people have the capacity to pay more for a product upfront, you’re probably saving them money in the long run, so don’t be afraid to communicate the personal value of your offering, in addition to its eco credentials.
Reduce the impact of your website by taking a lead from BuyMeOnce – think about your hosting (always green, always offset!), your speed (optimization is good for performance and the planet) and your code (clean and lean!) More great tips and resources for reducing the carbon footprint of your ecommerce store can be found here.