As we prepare for winter, consumers in many parts of the country are adjusting to colder weather, closed windows and stagnant indoor air, and they are purchasing air care products in order to cope. The "Air care" market has been steadily increasing over the last decade, with annual sales exceeding $1.7 billion in 2007. This figure does not include incense or candle sales, which increase the figure to about $9 billion. Surveys report up to 75 percent of American households regularly purchase air freshening products. Such products include aerosol and non-aerosol sprays, potpourri, plug-ins and other electric diffusers.
Unfortunately, rather than improving air quality, most mainstream air freshening products actually add a host of toxic chemicals to indoor environments. Recent reports warn pregnant or nursing mothers and chemically sensitive individuals to steer clear of most of these synthetically fragranced, phthalate-rich products. It's no surprise that chemicals absorbed through inhalation quickly enter the bloodstream, and the chemicals contained in popular air freshening products have been linked to numerous documented health effects, including reproductive abnormalities, allergic symptoms and asthma. The Sierra Club, the Alliance for Healthy Homes, and the National Center for Healthy Housing have insisted that the Environmental Protection Agency investigate the toxicity of mainstream air fresheners (named in the report are companies such as Procter & Gamble and SC Johnson Co).
As consumers get wise to the toxic chemicals contained in mainstream air fresheners, they are beginning to ask tougher questions before purchasing products. By choosing to sell healthier, environmentally sustainable products, retailers can align themselves with a growing trend: one that celebrates health and ingredient accountability. By cross marketing a number of products within your store, you provide shoppers with multiple options for freshening up their indoor space. Baking soda and vinegar are great natural cleaners and deodorizers. Essential oils from the health and beauty section can be used to freshen up stale air. Green retailers can instruct shoppers about the simplest style of air fresheners: dropping lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, or balsam essential oils into a gently steaming pot of water.
For those looking for an off the shelf solution, Vermont Naturals' Clean Air candles and room sprays are the perfect combination of effective odor neutralization, with truly natural ingredients. These water based sprays and GMO free soy wax candles utilize a complex blend of essential and botanical oils to effectively neutralize (not mask) offending odors. Free from dyes, synthetic fragrances and chemicals of any kind, Clean Air candles and room sprays are safe for humans and the environment.
In terms of relevance for your store, safe and healthy air care products fit perfectly in a number of settings: baby/nursery/pregnancy, health and beauty, cleaning and pet supplies. Placing Clean Air products in multiple locations within a store (if applicable) sends a message to shoppers that you have been in their shoes; odors abound and need to be remedied.
As with the rest of the green revolution, education is crucial. Educated staff members are poised to save the day by suggesting the most appropriate product for an exasperated shopper. "The moldy smell from the basement is just too much to bear!" "The litter box area is consistently stinky!" "What should we spray in the bathroom?" "How do I get rid of the smell after cooking (and possibly burning!) fish?"
The best way to realize green profits is to provide cutting edge green products, and the demand for healthy, fresh indoor air isn't going away anytime soon. Consumers appreciate retailers who walk the talk, by providing goods and services that contribute to personal and environmental health. Impress your clientele by sourcing and stocking only the finest all natural alternatives to traditional, unhealthy products. And don't forget to breathe.
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