Sustainability is becoming more and more important in the consumer behaviour of many customers. More than ever before, climate-friendly concepts are in demand. e-commerce has not yet fully taken this into account and fails to recognise the potential of ecological awareness.
In this post, we’ll tell you some good reasons to make your own online-store more sustainable and fair. In addition, we’ll show you some possibilities to realise this idea. If you take the following points into account, you will not only act sustainably for nature, but also for your business.
Good reasons for sustainable e-commerce
Sustainable online retail may be a change, but there are many good reasons to change one's actions. Above all, of course, it is saving our green planet, on which our children should also live a carefree life. In addition, there are several other advantages for online retailers.
Address new target groups, inspire existing customers
Ecological awareness is extremely important, especially for the younger generation. This was recently demonstrated by the numerous Fridays for Future demonstrations throughout Europe, most of which were attended by young people. So position yourself early if you want to pick up this up-and-coming customer group.
Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to consumers that shops focus on sustainability when shopping online, this has been shown in multiple different surveys. In the future, the topic of ecology may determine the continued existence of companies. 92% of the respondents in a Trusted Shops study are convinced that sustainable e-commerce will prevail.
Your existing customers will also prefer to leave their money in your store, if they can do so with a clear conscience. The awareness in the background that one's own order does not burden the environment could certainly simplify the purchase of products.
There's no question about it - it will take some time before green handing is reflected in your balance sheet. But if you follow the points below, it will also bring you financial benefits in the long run. Saving on packaging or strategies to avoid returns can be very valuable. In addition, these processes will eventually become automated. You will also be able to build long-term and close relationships, for example with partners in the region. So your negotiating position becomes much better over time.
Stand out from the competition
Sustainability in e-commerce is far from being daily business. Too many industries prefer to rest on their laurels rather than anticipate future trends. Sustainable production and management are in high demand, but not everywhere. This offers you the chance to stand out from your competitors. Communicate your sustainability on all channels and secure good chances for a pioneering role. Especially such "soft factors" as green shipping may be a decisive point for many customers to purchase their product in your shop and not from the competition.
Suggestions for action
As promised, we present here some approaches to put this idea into practice. You will see that the path to sustainability is easier than you think and in the long run we will all benefit from these ideas.
The number of returns is increasing. Our environment is immensely polluted by the increased transport and all the packaging. Of course, customers are allowed to return their goods, in case they’re unhappy.
But with a few tools, you not only save yourself some effort, but also do some good.
So use strategies to avoid disappointment after delivery. Be as transparent as possible and share information with your customers about the size and condition of your goods. Technologies such as augmented reality and virtual tours can help your customers see exactly what they are ordering, and algorithms can help you better understand the size, preferences and desires of your customers. All this will help you to offer your customers the right products that they won't return right away.
The more sensitive the shipped goods are, the greater the effort to pack them appropriately. Vast amounts of polystyrene, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes are supposed to get the products safely to their destination. In order to ship your goods sustainably, do not create any unnecessary waste. Many online shoppers pay attention to this. So look for sustainable packaging made from environmentally friendly raw materials. This is easy to achieve and will go down well with your customers.
Avoid unnecessary Styrofoam filling material, instead you could use crumpled up newspaper. Also look for old cardboard boxes that you could find again and make sure they are the right size. Oversized packages cause significantly higher CO2 emissions during transport. Your customers will also be happy not to have to fish their earrings out of a shoe box.
It also pays off enormously to send all the items in an order in a single box. This also saves you postage and packaging material.
Manufacturers and Distributors
As mentioned before, it is increasingly important for consumers to get information about the producer of their products, such as the working conditions of the manufacturer. Since these questions are now important for yourself, you should find out about them in advance and request this information from your production site.
In order to promote sustainable action, you should pay attention to various aspects, such as certain 'fair trade' certificates, the origin of the resources used and the working conditions in the factories that ultimately manufacture your products. A climate-neutral overall production of the respective goods would also be optimal.
Since your primary goal should be to satisfy your customers, we recommend that you focus on sustainability and regionality.
Similarly, suppliers deliver products first to you and then to your customers. Again, there are a few things you can check before working with a supplier. Firstly, you can ask about the packaging of the goods. Are they packaged sparingly and using recycled materials? In general, how many and what resources are used?
It is also beneficial to think about the delivery itself. Often supply chains can be shortened or skipped altogether. If you offer a free pick-up service to customers from your city anyway, many of them will gratefully accept it in order to save on delivery costs and do something good for the environment at the same time. This way you can massively improve the eco-balance of your shop and help your customers to reduce their ecological footprint.
Be a role model
You can also set a good example elsewhere. Live eco-friendly and let the people know! Whether it's using energy-saving electricity in your warehouse or cycling to work. These things not only save money, but are also part of an environmentally friendly online shop. Tell your followers on Instagram and the like about your steps and connect with other stores with an ecological image.
Of course, the goal of your shop is to make money. But the environment should benefit as well. Our good reasons and the numerous suggestions for action have hopefully shown you that a sustainably run online shop also pays off.
In addition to topics such as sustainability, low-cost offers of help are more in demand than ever in the current times, for merchants all over the world who have suffered from the Corona crisis. branchbob also makes its contribution and offers online stores free of charge. So if you are thinking about getting involved in e-commerce yourself, take a look at it without any obligation!
Your branchbob team!