Eco-friendly buying options are increasingly important to consumers.
Meta Foresight (formerly Facebook IQ, a research firm) reports that post-2020 U.S. consumers are 1.3 times more likely to pay premium prices for sustainable products. So it makes sense for businesses to get up to speed with the green revolution.
Here are five ways to add sustainability to your ecommerce company.
1. Rethink returns. For businesses, returns are time-consuming, inconvenient, and expensive. But an efficient returns policy is a fundamental consumer choice influencer. Handle returns effectively, and you’re more likely to retain customers.
But implementing an eco-friendly returns policy is challenging. Here are three strategies to consider.
- Don’t make it too easy to return goods. Offering refunds on items but not on postage is often enough to dissuade buyers from initiating returns.
- Offer omnichannel return choices. Urge customers to drop off returns at a local company. Utilizing convenient return hubs will reduce your company’s carbon footprint while providing customers an alternative.
- Improve product descriptions. Accurate product descriptions help reduce returns. State dimensions, weight, colors, and other relevant details. Publish a frequently-asked-questions section, and amend product descriptions based on common consumer queries.
2. Use only essential packaging. Governments worldwide are implementing strict packaging regulations. Simple changes to your packaging methods will satisfy those rules, address customer preferences, and lessen the environmental impact.
Cut down on single-use packaging and plastic bubble wrap. Instead, use shredded cardboard for internal packing. Ensure that boxes are tightly packed, and test string as an alternative to plastic packing tape.
3. Evaluate vendor choices. Purchase recycled or recyclable goods whenever possible. (Recycled packaging materials are cheaper and more abundant than single-use packaging.) Try to source raw materials or inventory at home rather than overseas. Buy in bulk to reduce transit emissions.
4. Resell returned goods. Returns that are usable but no longer conform to the original condition often remain sellable at a reduced price. Be accurate and honest with descriptions of returned goods. Potential buyers will appreciate an opportunity for a bargain, and you’ll increase revenue while avoiding unnecessary waste.
5. Update your brand identity. Rebranding elements of your ecommerce company can communicate your eco-friendly bonafides. Begin by describing the changes to staff, partners, and stakeholders; explain how the changes will benefit them, the company, and your customers.
Your website’s About Us page is ideal for setting out your sustainability policies. Describe how they will improve customer experience. Spread the message on social media and in emails and blog posts.
Link the changes on your About Us page to other relevant sections of your site. Let shoppers know if you’re planning to consolidate deliveries and reduce the time your company vehicles are on the road. Emphasize your commitment to a greener, more sustainable business.
A simple slogan alongside your product descriptions, such as “We’re Working Towards an Eco-Friendly Future,” will help to promote your green priorities.
Greenwashing is the practice of falsely claiming eco-friendly priorities. Don’t make claims you can’t substantiate; it will only backfire on your business.
For example, in 2019 the fashion retailer H&M advertised its “Conscious” range of clothes as sustainable. There was no proof to back up this assertion, and the Norwegian Consumer Authority ruled that it was false advertising.