Line Yuan‘s article for the MOLD highlights the success of Berlin’s thriving crowdfunded grocery store that embraces simplicity and sustainability. Yuan is a design editor and writer living in New York City.
A Case For Packaging-Free Design: Original Unverpackt, Berlin’s Zero-Waste Grocery Store
By Linyee Yuan| MOLD | 3/26/15
A packaging-free grocery store is environmentally sustainable but is it economically sustainable? Six months after opening Germany’s first zero-waste grocery store, Original Unverpackt is proving that shoppers are ready for a logo-free, packaging-free shopping experience.
While working in the marketing department for a vegan grocery chain, co-founder Milena Glimbovski identified a real problem with the excessive packaging waste. Working with Wolf, who has a background in project management and communication strategy at Fairtrade International and the United Nations, the two entrepreneurs began putting together their business plan in 2012. After winning recognition through the Berlin-Brandenburg Business Plan Competition, the partners went on to incubate their idea in the SAP Social Impact Lab before launching a successful crowdfunding project through SAP’s Startnext platform. With a solid business plan in place and financial support from over 4,000 potential customers in Berlin and beyond, the partners were able to raise twice their funding goal and open the doors to Original Unverpackt within four months of launching their campaign.
Six months of daily operations has brought a lot of insight into how design and merchandising plays a role in the shopping experience and UO still functions as a testing ground for iteration and experimentation. “We use a lot of signage that explains the process of shopping,” Wolf shares. “Also the layout of the space is really important because you can’t rely on the usual ‘shopping psychology.’ Everything looks different and the products use the space differently. It’s a question of thinking it through over and over again and trying to understand how customers react.”
Crowdfunded Grocery Store Thrives On Simplicity
The zero waste business model boasts a local supply chain for bulk items that reduce the amount of food wasted and keep landfills from filling up. Even though this means shoppers’ options are limited, the store’s owners have found that a lack of options actually makes for a better shopping experience.
The store’s success is, in part, due to it’s customers vested interest in the no waste concept from the very beginning–they crowdfunded the business into existence in less than 4 months.
Simplify Your Organization’s Fundraising Effort
There are lessons to be learned from the Berlin crowdfunded grocery store that your organization can apply to improve your donor experience and your fundraising efforts.
Crowdfunding campaigns succeed on the passion and investment of dedicated supporters who eagerly work to help your nonprofit by asking friends and family to give to your cause. A simplified donation form reduces abandon rates during the giving process and creates an inviting donation experience that makes donors want to give again and again.
7 Ways to Simplify Your Donation Form and Improve Donor Experience
1. Keep It Simple – A clean and simple donation page eliminates distraction when you limit your questions to the basic information you need to process the donation and contact the donor with future mobile communications.
2. Make it Mobile Ready – Make it easy for your donors to give with donation pages and forms that are mobile responsive so they can be viewed and used from any device. Text-to-donate keywords are a very simple way to deliver a direct link to mobile phones, and forms can be emailed or embedded on websites or social media.
3. Include Your Organization’s Logo – It may seem like a small detail, but consistent use of your organization’s logo and branded event logos across your website, social media and donation forms creates a familiarity with your brand that builds trust and adds legitimacy in the minds of supporters making them more apt to donate with confidence.
3. Ask for Minimal Information – Keep the process quick and easy by removing unnecessary fields. Suggesting gift amounts to aid in the giving decision and including the option for recurring donations have proven to increase donation sizes. With one easy click of a button, your donors are able to effortlessly make monthly/quarterly/annual gifts–they can send the information once, but give again and again.
4. Use Photos to Your Advantage – Banner photos and background images are perfect for making a huge impact when you can show donors evidence of their contributions at work. Make sure they are sized to fit each form/background/social media channel for visual appeal. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
5. Keep Donors On Your Website/Facebook Page – When it comes to giving from a desktop or tablet, people want to know they’re on a secure site when giving a gift and sharing credit card information. Using a third-party donation form significantly increases drop-off rates so you are losing out on donations. Forms embedded into your website work best. You can also add a donation page tab to your organization’s Facebook page.
6. Testing…Testing….1,2,3 – The ability to customize a form in less than 5 minutes (even from your smartphone) allows you to test giving habits, which you can monitor along with feedback to alter your form to cater to the preferences of your donors in order to perfect your donation form and the giving experience.
7. After the Donations Are Made – An immediate donation confirmation and Thank You should be sent via email and text message. Frequent communication will build loyalty and feel-good vibes among your community of support. A donation means your supporters have just made a decision to invest in your organization, so nurture that relationship by reaching out through mobile messaging to send updates, videos and other valuable information.
Asking for end-of-year donations from people that have already donated? Use a custom form that consists of the donation amount, frequency option and payment information–eliminating all contact information fields as they were previously recorded. MobileCause forms are pre-filled for donors that have given to any organization (not just yours) through our keywords or links.