Why should you adopt sustainable eCommerce practices?
Consumers increasingly seek brands committed to environmental and social causes, which can lead to great rewards for companies that authentically show their support. Edelman discovered that 58% of people opt to buy products based on the beliefs and values of the brand. Additionally, a survey conducted by the Wharton School of Business revealed that 68% of people are willing to pay more for sustainable products, an increase of 17% since the onset of the pandemic.
Adopting sustainable practices can fulfill customer expectations and result in improved operational efficiencies and reduced waste, thus increasing profits in the long run. Focusing on sustainability now will yield more excellent benefits later.
How to build a sustainable eCommerce business?
Sometimes the most challenging part is taking that initial step, as acknowledged by Dane Baker in an interview with Shopiroller. The EcoCart founder and CEO suggest ways of instilling sustainable practices without drastically altering one’s business structure. Examples include:
- Using eco-friendly packaging.
- Carbon offsetting.
- Developing a recycling program to ensure your products are appropriately discarded.
He encourages business owners to start with small steps that can be continually implemented to build a sustainable brand over time. “The key is to start somewhere,” suggests Baker. “If you incorporate sustainability into your operations and activities incrementally, eventually it starts to add up and become the norm.”
Here are a few practical ways to create an immediate impact
Prioritize efficient delivery
Meeting consumer expectations of free delivery within two to three days has become a significant challenge as it prevents carriers from consolidating orders and creating fewer trips. According to the World Economic Forum, this growing demand for quick “last-mile” deliveries could increase vehicle traffic by 36% by 2030.
Highlight the environmental benefits of slower shipping by showcasing standard ground-delivery options with an eco-friendly icon and explanation. Encourage store pickups as they are the most environmentally friendly option for those who need items quickly. To reduce carrier transport miles, try to ship orders from the nearest store locations for home delivery.
Encourage shipping efficiency by combining products when possible. Offer discounts for bulk orders of replenishment items and sell smaller items in bundles to reduce the number of shipments needed.
Opt for eco-friendly packaging
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, contents and packaging make up a significant proportion of all the waste generated by consumers. Although paper and cardboard packaging have high recycling rates, only around 14% of plastic is recycled. Materials such as bubble wrap and plastic film wrap are not recyclable.
To lessen our environmental impact, merchants should switch to eCommerce packaging that is easily recyclable and clearly labeled as such. Mananalu, an online store founded by Jason Momoa to “plasticine” the planet, sells water in recyclable aluminum bottles and provides resources for customers to learn about sustainable practices.
Consider introducing returnable or reusable packaging. Give incentives to customers who bring back the packaging for either refilling or recycling. A great example of this is Nordstrom’s BEAUTYCYCLE program, which aims to recycle 100 tons of beauty product packaging by 2025.
Reduce preventable returns
More than one in five online purchases are returned, affecting the bottom line and the environment. Every item sent back necessitates another trip to the store or warehouse, increasing packaging and transportation costs. Additionally, up to 25% of returns are often thrown out rather than returned to the shelves.
The most effective way to reduce the environmental impact of returns is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Detailed product information should be provided ahead of time, specifically related to fit and size, enabling shoppers to make the right choices before purchasing.
Narvar, a logistics technology provider, reported that more than half of online customers engage in “bracketing” – buying multiple sizes or colors to return what doesn’t work. Using tools to help buyers choose the correct size and style could be helpful. For instance, Augmented Reality (AR) or 3D images can assist customers in imagining products in greater detail.
Access to size recommenders such as MySizeID and live chat/style consultation services can help shoppers make the right choices when purchasing apparel. Optimizing how-to videos, setup manuals, technical specs, and clothing care label information can further assist customers in purchasing.
Center Promotions and Loyalty Rewards
Encourage customers to select more sustainable solutions with promotional incentives and a well-conceived marketing plan. For instance, institute a “punch card” system that grants special rewards after a predetermined number of environmentally conscious shipments.
Shopiroller provides loyalty rewards to customers who select more sustainable shipping options. Customers are rewarded with bonus points when they return recyclable containers or choose eco-friendly packaging. Shopiroller offers a “punch card” system that grants special rewards after a predetermined number of environmentally conscious shipments. These rewards can be redeemed for discounts, products, and special offers. This can encourage customers to make more sustainable choices when purchasing products.
Merchants should also invest in eco-friendly packaging materials that are easily recyclable and clearly labeled as such. Additionally, merchants should consider introducing returnable or reusable packaging with incentives for customers who bring back the packaging for either refilling or recycling. By offering customers rewards and incentives for green choices, merchants can encourage their customers to make more sustainable choices and reduce preventable returns.
Long-term changes for making a long-term impact
Think about tackling some long-term sustainability goals that could lead to new customer engagement and income possibilities, apart from achieving short-term progress within your current business.
Sourced sustainably and transparently
Consumers increasingly desire assurance that the raw materials used in products have been sourced sustainably and that production practices promote social responsibility; this is evidenced by a survey of 29% of U.S. citizens.
If you strive to create more sustainable products, display your progress in your e-commerce business. Highlight artisans, show manufacturing processes, and demonstrate third-party accreditations from respected institutions that support your assertions. For instance, firms that meet numerous social welfare, sustainability, and responsibility requirements may be granted “B” Corporation Certification. Furthermore, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label signifies that fabrics have followed social and environmental standards.
Reach out to your customers by making it easier for them to choose sustainable items in your store. Not only does this help raise awareness about sustainability among shoppers, but it also builds trust and loyalty. You can distinguish yourself from the competition by being transparent about your processes and creating a more engaging customer experience. Ultimately, it will lead to a higher rate of returning customers and more referrals for your business.
Create products for a “cradle to cradle” lifespan
Another means to back sustainability is prioritizing endurance and reliability, i.e., choosing recyclable materials and constructing for superiority rather than the cheapest cost. This thought process substitutes a “birth to death” one-time merchandise life with a “birth to birth” cycle. The latter entices
Product recurrence, whereby items are expressly fashioned to lessen wastage and reuse as numerous recycled materials as feasible. While this concept may appear tricky to put on low-cost, standardized goods, the explosion in bamboo toothbrushes and lasting undergarments indicates that it is far from unfeasible.
Repair, Refurbishing, reselling & Recycling
Help shoppers get the most out of their purchases by encouraging them to keep what they buy for longer. Classes and workshops can teach customers how to use their products while offering upgrades, repairs, and refurbishment services that can further extend their life. Resale is an even more significant opportunity, as U.S. resale is projected to surge over 150% in the next decade, reaching $330 billion by 2030, as reported by Mercari’s Reuse Report.
Patagonia provides an exemplary example of how companies can support secondhand markets by offering repair services and a trade-in program through which customers can get store credits when they return used items. This encourages peer-to-peer resale while helping buyers manage to resell themselves with a stamp of authenticity and customer support.
Go green in stores
Explore ways to make your physical stores more eco-friendly, such as increasing energy efficiency, using sustainable materials for remodeling and construction work, and encouraging paperless transactions.
You can also use store locations as a platform to support local environmental causes by providing in-kind or monetary donations and engaging staff in restoration or cleanup projects. It subsidizes staff commuting to the store using more sustainable transport options. This is an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: How can Shopiroller help businesses become more sustainable?
A: Shopiroller helps to streamline the entire process from product selection to transaction processing. It offers features such as green shipping options, customer rewards programs, and data-driven insights that make it easier for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and increase efficiency.
Q: What sustainability initiatives can businesses implement?
A: Businesses can explore ways to make their physical stores more eco-friendly, such as increasing energy efficiency, using sustainable materials for remodeling and construction work, and encouraging paperless transactions. They can also offer repair services and a trade-in program through which customers can get store credits when they return used items. Finally, businesses can subsidize staff commuting to the store using more sustainable transport options.
Q: How can businesses encourage customers to buy second hand?
A: Businesses can help shoppers get the most out of their purchases by encouraging them to keep what they buy for longer. Classes and workshops
Upcycling or repairing can also be offered. Businesses can provide repair services and a trade-in program through which customers can get store credits when they return used items.
Q: How can Shopiroller help businesses minimize paper waste?
A: Shopiroller has eco-friendly payment processing options that help to minimize paper waste and encourage customers to support more sustainable businesses. By leveraging its vast array of tools, merchants can easily transition their businesses toward a more sustainable future.
Q: What other benefits does Shopiroller offer?
A: Shopiroller helps businesses maintain a successful eCommerce business with its intuitive user interface. It also provides data-driven insights to help enterprises optimize their processes and make better-informed decisions. It offers customer rewards programs to encourage customers to support sustainable merchants.
Q: What is the best way for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to
A: Businesses should make a concerted effort to reduce their carbon footprint, invest in eco-friendly technologies, and commit to ethical practices. They should also educate their staff on how to be more sustainable and inform customers of the positive impacts they are having when they shop with them. Businesses should showcase their commitment by joining initiatives like Shopiroller’s Eco-Friendly Merchant Program.
Shopiroller is a complete eCommerce platform that can help businesses maintain a successful and sustainable eCommerce business. Its intuitive user interface helps streamline the entire process, from product selection to transaction processing. It also offers features such as green shipping options, customer rewards programs, and data-driven insights, making it easier for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and increase efficiency. Shopiroller has eco-friendly payment processing options that help to minimize paper waste and encourage customers to support more sustainable companies. By leveraging their vast tools, merchants can easily transition their businesses toward a more sustainable future. Shopiroller can help you take your business to the next level – sign up today!