Not to give the cold shoulder to fears of global warming, but why should online sellers care about green ecommerce? Ecommerce as an industry is a costly affair with a lot of overhead and thin margins. The cost of environmentally friendly fulfillment at first glance can look like just another minus sign on the data sheet. What’s in it for you as a business owner? What’s the return on investment?
Ecommerce is a fuel-guzzling industry. Last year’s Cyber Monday saw Amazon processing about 500 orders per second. Each one must be obtained in procurement, packaged, and shipped to customers. That’s a whole lot of non-renewable resources getting used up, and it’s not even counting other major online retail platforms like eBay, Jet.com, and Sears. These are some high stakes, but if you’re just interested in dollars and cents, there’s plenty in it for you too.
Going Green Is Marketing Gold
The modern consumer is one that is socially conscious. Buyers want to know that the companies they give their money to are behaving ethically. The Guardian writes:
Issues such as equal pay, environmentally conscious manufacturing processes, prevention of counterfeit goods, human trafficking, responsible farming practices and overproduction of goods are all at the forefront of consumers’ minds when making these choices.
Entire brands have built their names on being socially conscious in their selling. For proof, look no further than the trendy shoe slingers at Toms.
Toms’ mission of providing a free pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased by their customers is a huge hit. Buyers feel as if they aren’t just getting a pair of great shoes, but they’re also helping make the world a better place at the same time. Toms is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Has anyone ever made so much money by giving products away for free? This is all thanks to Toms making social consciousness a cornerstone of their branding and marketing strategy.
Environmental protection is especially pertinent to this new breed of customers. A study from Dotcom Distribution reported by Adweek found that 64% of customers have taken the sustainability of a company’s supply chain practices into consideration when deciding whether to buy. Americans are more sensitive than ever to the effects our decisions have on the health of the planet. They want to buy green. If it comes down to you or your competitor, your commitment to environmentally friendly fulfillment could be the difference maker.
The ROI for environmentally friendly fulfillment is going to be in your branding and marketing. Ecommerce is a crowded space. Sellers are jockeying for position, at times on the same websites, or even the same webpages. How do you differentiate yourself? How do you stand out? One way is to present yourself as the environmentally friendly seller in your space. Here are three achievable ways you can embrace green ecommerce.
Display a Sustainability Pledge on your Website
Talk is cheap, but it’s a pretty good place to start. Highlighting a sustainability pledge on your ecommerce site will let shoppers know that you are at least aware of the importance of green ecommerce. This humanizes your brand and lets sellers know that you value the same things that they do.
And don’t worry about filling the pledge with complicated legalese or environmental science terms. Companies like Mattel and Yankee Candle have clear, effective pledges that you can use for inspiration. Keep it simple, honest, and easily understood for any customer that comes across it. Just make sure you hit the points below.
- Pledge to give preferential consideration to brands that focus on sustainability and environmentalism.
- Highlight how the brands you carry embrace green policies in their sourcing.
- Pledge to implement environmentally friendly supply chain workflows.
- Pledge to continue to explore new ways to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
Switch to Recyclable Packaging
The amount of solid waste created by excessive and imperishable packaging is massive. Stanford University found that the average American discards his or her own weight in packaging every 30-40 days. The continued boom of ecommerce means every online seller has skin in the game when it comes to reducing this number.
You can be a part of the solution by marketing your use of recyclable packaging. Experts in the field of sustainable packaging can find an environmentally friendly way to package just about any item you might sell on your online store. Buyers will love the feeling they get when their product arrives with a note that its packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
These three companies are leading the way when it comes to recyclable packaging.
If you’re ready to make the commitment to recyclable packaging, they’ve got you covered.
Reduce Fulfillment Errors That Lead to Returns
The environmental impact of shipping an order dramatically increases when that order is returned and a new item is shipped to the customer in its place. Automating as many aspects of the fulfillment process as possible and displaying this commitment prominently on your website has a two-fold benefit.
- Your customers will appreciate your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint.
- Your customers will expect fast and accurate fulfillment.
Ecomdash’s purchase order management software has two tools to help you out here. The first is our low inventory alerts that’ll let you know when your stock is running low, reminding you that you can create and communicate a purchase order from directly within your ecomdash dashboard. The second tool is the restock forecast report within our ecommerce reporting functionality. The restock forecast considers the average monthly sales and the average purchase order completion time for a product and suggests when (and for how much) your next purchase order should be.
This all allows your business to run lean, ensuring you only make purchase orders when necessary. Combined with automated sales order routing to reduce human error, ecomdash is a powerful ally in your new green ecommerce initiatives.
So, what have we learned? We now know that customers are willing to pick your brand over another based on your commitment to sustainability. We’ve learned three ways any businesses can implement green ecommerce. But more than just a marketing gimmick, your strides toward sustainability should make you feel good as a business owner. We only have one Earth, and Mother Nature needs every ally she can get. Find yourself on the right side of history and invest in green ecommerce initiatives in 2017.