Sustainable eCommerce to Future Proof Your Business

Over the past few years, the growth of global e-commerce has drastically increased in most countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, etc. Unquestionably, the market has grown with an escalating number of online customers and existing trends have accelerated but it has also led to an overall negative impact on the environment.

Sustainable eCommerce means meeting our customer’s needs without risking the competence of the future generations’ needs which includes natural, economic, and social resources. Thus, sustainable eCommerce business model must be at the forefront of each ambitious online retailer in 2022. Sustainably shipping activities will not only help reduce the environmental impact but also connect with a young generation of consumers and drive growth.

Why do we need to create a sustainable eCommerce business?

As per Nielsen, 73% of shoppers have adjusted their habits to reduce environmental impact and 72% buy more sustainable products. Find out how environmental sustainability can benefit your eCommerce store and lift your brand awareness among Millennial along with saving our Earth from choking the plastic. 

  • Be a leader; get ahead of the crowd

With 74% of online shoppers revealing that green delivery reduces greenhouse gas emissions and plays a vital role in their purchase decision, going green is a wonderful initiative. 15% confessed they’d use an online store offering green delivery over one that doesn’t, then why not be a revolutionary e-commerce brand and stand out from your competitors. 

  • Boost customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

An environmentally conscious eCommerce business portrays that you care for the environment and your customers. If your brand doesn’t adapt to these new demands, it will sell less and your reputation will worsen over time. 

  • Sustainable e-commerce saves your money

Recycled biodegradable packaging is becoming more cost-effective. Customer satisfaction and loyalty reduce returns. Building customer loyalty through environmentally sustainable business practices and carbon neutral packaging will pay dividends in no time.

This is how you can tackle your journey to a sustainable eCommerce business

1. Audit your supply chain

To be sustainable, firstly understand where and how your products are produced. A thorough audit is essential of how environmentally friendly your goods are  and how is the supply chain. 

Convert to environmentally friendly shipping and packaging, reusable and returnable delivery packaging materials that reduces trash and saves up to 80% of CO2 emissions. 

2. Review your packaging before delivery

Avoid oversized packages stuffed with that gorgeous brown paper or those odd polystyrene strips. Using less packaging and environmentally friendly materials is one of the easiest ways to make e-commerce more sustainable. Packing materials of products ordered online should be fully recyclable. Use thermal printers to help save on ink, evade unnecessary plastic bags, and go for biodegradable labels; your eco-options are endless.

3. Offer Eco-friendly products and shipping 

Offer eco-friendly products such as 100% ecologically sustainable yarns, fabrics, and garments, and only use waste materials for shipping to save water and reduce CO2 emissions.

Even if a business may not produce 100% sustainable products, you may partner with suppliers or manufacturers with sustainable practices already in place. Avoid packaging wastes, packing peanuts and use sustainable, ethical, and reusable packaging made from recycled materials.

4. Returns policies and processes

You’re almost doubling the carbon emissions with returns that can impact the environment. Ensure all your product descriptions are accurate with précised sizing information along with FAQs that will help your customers make the right purchase decision and help cut down on returns.

 Opt for climate-neutral shipping box options and optimise waste management by eliminating packaging waste. Use renewable materials and reduce packaging waste to a minimum if eCommerce brands wish to appeal to their consumers.

Sustainable eCommerce should take the time to assess its carbon footprints and other chemical footprints, and address areas where it can improve environmental sustainability. 

5. Managing deliveries and returns

When the customer is not at home or doesn’t have a neighbour to accept the deliveries, orders often are returned directly back to the store. Reduce your carbon footprints and avoid recurring delivery attempts by rerouting your deliveries to a packing station.

To avoid returns and reduce the need for returns, product information like fashion colours and material, clearly understandable language, and size specifications should be more detailed in your online shop. 

Returns and exchanges can not only hamper the bottom line for retailers, but also affects transportation emissions, packaging waste, and overall shipping costs.

6. Identify the reasons to go green with your brand 

E-commerce companies often have a bad reputation in terms of green business practices. So it’s important to put additional focus on green practices. Consumers are happy about sustainable, fair, and durable products and are also willing to pay more for them. Sustainability-oriented web stores hold a great value: they offer durable products, harmless to health, and eco-friendly.

By actively promoting sustainable eCommerce, you will increase customer loyalty and preferably even attract new customers.

7. Motivate the Millennials and successfully reach your target group

If you want to win over a large group of young people, the Millennials, and make you your customers, being eco-friendly plays an important role. For this, you can consider building your social media marketing activities around environmental sustainability showcasing how your company promotes eco-friendliness.

8. Communicate and educate sustainable eCommerce

Be open about your sustainability efforts and communicate your sustainability goals and the steps you are taking to achieve them, so your customers can easily understand your values.

Online stores should not only communicate to the outside world the sustainable aspects of their online shop but also observe and monitor them at all times. For example, if you offer eco-friendly packaging, be sure to talk about this with your customers.

In summary, environmental sustainability and e-commerce are truly compatible, and implementing sustainable measures for your online business is essential for brand building and business growth. As an e-commerce retailer, there are many opportunities to boost your sustainability strategy and many benefits to be enjoyed.

Environmental awareness and the green trend are increasing among Generation Z and Millennials. So take some time to review your current state and know what environmental wins you can make to have a win-win situation for all. 

Europe’s No.1 shipping tool for E-commerce. Sendcloud. (2022, April 14). Retrieved May 21, 2022, from https://www.sendcloud.co.uk/ 

SL, S. L. T. (n.d.). Sales layer blog. Sales Layer Blog. Retrieved May 21, 2022, from https://blog.saleslayer.com/ 

 

Author avatar
Minal Jain
https://247commerce.co.uk
Senior Content Writer

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