You can't deny it — people are getting more and more concerned about the environment.
With the times rapidly changing, they are becoming more environmentally conscious about the things they buy.
We don't need a dystopian, Wall-E kind-of situation!
Needless to say... It's not a passing trend, either.
Consumers are actively buying environmentally friendly products. And most of them say they are going to be doing the same over the next five years.
You can definitely feel the shift of consumers into a more sustainable future!
And yes, sustainability and eCommerce businesses seem like a contradiction.
Sustainability is all about fulfilling our needs without endangering the needs of future generations. All the while, eCommerce includes an enormous amount of shipping, packaging, and transportation carbon emissions.
However, this does not always have to be the case!
With the following sustainable practices, you can start to be an eco-friendly eCommerce business. And also drive growth to your business!
Here are the key points we'll get to:
- What exactly is sustainable eCommerce
- Importance of following ethical and sustainable practices
- Efficient ways your eCommerce brand can be more eco-friendly
I'd like to tell you more about...
What Is Sustainable eCommerce?
This is otherwise known as eco-friendly eCommerce. It refers to digital brands conducting business while considering their environmental impact.
For an eCommerce company, it means balancing the three pillars of sustainability: environment, society, and economics.
Let's go over each pillar:
Environmental Protection: This pillar includes your brand reducing its carbon footprint. In turn, your efforts can have a positive impact on the environment.
Economic Viability: This pillar focuses on your brand's profitability. As you become more eco-friendly, more customers can come as your efforts align with their values.
Social Equity: This concept aids your surrounding community. It means focusing on your entire supply chain to ensure that all involved are well-compensated.
By now, you're probably wondering...
How Does Being Eco-Friendly Benefit Your Business?
Here are hard facts you need to consider:
🌱 Consumers Demand Eco-Friendly Ecommerce Brands
Over 80% of Millennials think that sustainability is "very important" when online shopping. 70% of Gen Z also agree.
Now, remember: Millennials represent $600 billion in spending power. Gen Z is also in on $140 billion. Their opinion (and wallets) matter!
With consumers getting more conscious about their own carbon footprint, your brand has the duty to adopt more sustainable business practices.
Adapting sustainability also...
🌱 Gives Your Brand A Competitive Edge
Within the noisy space of eCommerce, you have to take every chance to stand out.
And being an eco-friendly brand can do just that.
Consumers look for brands that show strong environmental and social ideals. Of course, they want to advocate for businesses that share the same beliefs as theirs.
In fact, consumers also say that they will pay 20% more for sustainable products. That means you can still beat your competitors even if they offer cheaper ones.
Another positive impact is that you can...
🌱 Become More Cost-Effective
Sure, some of your customer bases will be less keen on paying premium for sustainability.
But don't worry. Adapting sustainable models does not mean you have to raise your price.
You see, the changes I will be showing you won't cost much. Truth be told, it can even save you some long-term.
Keep reading, and I'll tell you how!
Lastly, your green initiatives will...
🌱 Boost Your Sales
With all the benefits I mentioned, you gather how your business can improve its revenue.
With the demand, your competitive advantage, and cutting costs... It's definitely a boost for your conversions!
But that's not all.
You can boost sales through customer loyalty. How so?
More than half of consumers are motivated to be loyal to a brand. As long as they share the same values.
Consumers are also more likely to come back to your business because of your sustainable efforts.
Astonishing, isn't it?
That's just half the story. Let's move on to...
10 Efficient Ways To Become A Sustainable eCommerce Business
1. Offer Eco-Friendly Products
While this may depend on your existing product or service, you can include sustainable products in your lineup.
This can include offering sustainable alternatives to the products you already have.
Another option is to partner with a manufacturer/supplier that uses sustainable practices. Doing so can slowly incorporate environmentally-friendly products into your online store.
With the changing consumption habits of consumers, a lot of eCommerce companies are using renewable materials.
For instance, Green Toys use 100% recycled materials. They also use soy ink, which biodegrades faster than other types of ink.
Being sustainable also means you can...
2. Use Eco-Friendly Packaging
So you ordered a phone case online. Have you ever noticed how they come in these large boxes?
You're not the only one who thinks so. 81% of consumers believe that brands use excessive packaging.
To avoid excess and reduce packaging, you can use varied sizes of packing boxes that suit the size of your products. You can avoid using big boxes that take up space, too.
91% of consumers want an "eco-friendly shipping" option when they checkout. More than half of them are also willing to pay 10% more for eco-friendly packaging.
You can also opt for recyclable options. This includes boxes, tapes, and even labels.
Here's another important pointer for eco-friendly packaging...
Reduce the use of plastic. Most customers see it as the least eco-friendly packaging. They even avoid plastic as much as possible.
Let me give you an example to give you a better idea.
EcoEnclose sells sustainable packaging materials. Their products include paper mailers, boxes, labels, void fill, and other accessories made from recycled material.
Reducing your environmental impact means you also have to...
3. Minimize Your Deadstock
Deadstock refers to your unsold items stuck in your store. These are the products that are less likely to be sold.
And most of the time, they go straight to the landfill.
But when you reduce your deadstock, you are also providing a sustainable solution to reduce waste.
To avoid deadstock, you can utilize demand forecasting. In-depth market research will also help you make the perfect amount of stock.
If such products are still on your shelves, you can sell them through clearance offers. You can also do product bundles on your eCommerce site.
ou can easily do that with the Debutify Add-On, Upsell Bundle. It lets your customer buy various products in one click through bundle offers.
With climate change still looming, it's best for your brand to...
4. Implement Environmentally-Friendly Shipping Options
Sadly, the carbon emissions from shipping are a part of the eCommerce business.
There are 165 billion packages that are shipped every year in the U.S. That equates to more than 1 billion trees.
But that's not all.
You can trace the remaining carbon footprint from fulfillment centers to your customer's home address through car pollution.
Here's the good news: Major carriers offer eco-friendly shipping programs.
Since a lot of customers want fast delivery, you can get the help of third-party logistics companies. They can fulfill orders from the nearest fulfillment center to your customer.
Not only does it reduce costs, but it shortens the supply chain. That results in fewer carbon emissions from air shipping.
Another way to minimize carbon emissions is when you...
5. Reduce Returns And Exchanges
As an online store, returns and exchanges are not something you want to happen.
But in 2021, the average for retail returns upped to 16.6%. That means $760 billion of products wind up back in the supply chain and warehouses!
They are also a major player in carbon emissions from transportation. As well as the wasteful packaging and shipping costs.
Take a look at the ways you can decrease your returns:
- Be very helpful in your product description on your product pages.
- Provide detailed information such as photos and sizing information.
- Offer high-quality products that meet customer satisfaction.
- Have a strong customer feedback strategy to address any issue.
- Motivate customers to do in-store returns if you have a physical store.
Not only are you taking part in tackling climate change... but you also save money at the same time!
A business-centric way you can be sustainable is through...
6. Carbon Offsets
Despite our best efforts , carbon emissions are inevitable when it comes to your business.
But one way to help make up for the inevitable downside is to purchase carbon offsets.
Wondering what are carbon offsets?
They let you match the size of produced carbon dioxide when your products are being manufactured, to the same amount invested in projects that reduce greenhouse emissions.
To do this, you can add an offset service charge to your store upon checkout. Shopify's Offset can give you that option.
Keep going on your sustainable path and...
7. Reduce Your Energy Footprint
Did you know that nearly half of US energy is going to lighting and appliance operation?
Just imagine how much your eCommerce brand contributes to that. After all, running an eCommerce business requires electricity, gadgets, WIFI, etc.
But by simply turning off the equipment you are not using, you can reduce your energy waste.
You can also use LED light bulbs or motion-detecting lights.
Making small changes like these can create the biggest impact on the environment.
And depending on your location, you can also consider using renewable energy. With solar energy, you can reduce energy costs by 75%!
Check if clean energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal are available in your area.
Up next, you can...
8. Develop Recycling Policies
Give your products a second life!
You can implement this through the circular economy. This system encourages reusing, recycling, and refurbishing used merchandise.
For instance, your products can be recycled to be a part of another product.
Or you can also look for marketplaces that allow customers to purchase used products.
IKEA does this through its Buy Back program. They buy back used IKEA furniture in exchange for an IKEA refund card.
To go further, you can...
9. Support A Cause
As a small business owner, you might not have all the means to be fully eco-friendly.
But that should not stop you from committing yourself to the cause.
Accordingly, you can do other things to be sustainable. Consider the story of TOMS.
The shoe brand adopted the "one-for-one" strategy. For every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to someone in need.
Now isn't that inspiring?
To top it off, you have to...
10. Keep Your Values Up To Date
Your brand identity is how your customers perceive you. That includes your values and ethos.
So, as a sustainable brand that follows ethical and sustainable business practices...
You have to make sure your entire eCommerce site and various channels reflect your brand values.
That means you have to update your site, social media accounts, blog posts, and even your email marketing.
Take a look at Pela, a phone case company. Their site is all about caring for the planet and reducing waste.
Doesn't all these ways make you want to be greener? Because with a...
Better eCommerce Business, Better Tomorrow!
Yep, a sustainable eCommerce is not a pipe dream.
With your efforts, we can preserve our natural resources and create a better world.
Of course, with the rapid growth of the need for sustainable businesses... We don't have to be afraid of change one bit.
And be sure to communicate your efforts with your customers!
Debutify can help you make the changes to show everyone about your sustainable practices.
From your FAQs to your blog posts, Debutify has got your back.
Because it's not just a Shopify theme.
Not only can it give you an aesthetically-pleasing Shopify store... it's also the perfect Profit Optimization Partner.
With over 50 Add-Ons, you can improve conversions, AOV, and boost revenue!
Go green, and...
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