Customers are making ever more eco-friendly demands of the products they buy, and that’ll likely have a direct impact on your eCommerce business. How long has it been since you’ve reviewed your store, website, and practices like fulfillment to see if they were still eco-friendly?
Whether you’re thinking about your Earth Day commitments or trying to reach more customers, going eco-friendly can be a significant help. With this infographic, we’ll look at some of the ways you can reduce your eCommerce environmental impact.
Not only does this help you do your bit for the planet, but studies also indicate that savvy shoppers are looking for environmentally friendly practices in their online stores and are more likely to reward those businesses.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
Is eCommerce eco-friendly?
Short answer: It can be.
In this post, we’ll explore how to be more sustainable by utilizing simple strategies.
We’ll start with your eCommerce fulfillment and shipping strategy to show how you can make improvements. These improvements include reassessing your packaging, streamlining paperwork, and finding a green shipping company.
Then, we’ll touch on your website and how to choose eco-friendly web hosting, increasing page speed, and providing more choices to customers.
Finally, we’ll explain what you can do in your office space to make sure your store is as eco-friendly as possible. From recycling to having energy-efficient equipment, these solutions are quick and easy to implement while also being super-efficient
Save the planet and your budget in eFulfillment
There are some eco-friendly activities you can do in your packaging and fulfillment efforts with minimal disruption. Thankfully, many of these also help operations. Leverage this eco-friendly focus for marketing promotions and let these elements better protect your products. You may even find some that cut your costs.
One core element to review is your package waste control. Consider switching your packaging and infill to similar materials that are recycled or recyclable. Switching to stronger cardboard will protect your products well.
However, like any warehouse, some boxes will break or get damaged, meaning you don’t want to put products in them. The eco-friendly option is to add shredded cardboard to your filler materials. This change would allow you to recycle and reclaim some materials in-house — like those damaged boxes — minimizing costs while still being environmentally savvy.
One other note is to tell your shoppers how to recycle the materials you use. Biodegradable peanuts have largely replaced Styrofoam peanuts. Your customers may not know the difference or how to process these properly so that peanuts avoid a landfill. A quick note in packaging materials or in the emails you send to customers can solve that can give you a green boost in their eyes.
And now, let’s look at some of the other options available to you.
Your tech can go green
There are eco-friendly options for most of the ways you do business, but some are easy to overlook. One of the significant opportunities for eCommerce comes in your website and the technical side of your operations. The aim is to reduce the amount of power your site needs.
Site elements like auto-play videos and having many ultra-high-def photos on every page require more power to host and visit. You can minimize these while still maintaining sales by using lower resolution options or trimming down the amount of content on your site. Prioritize the images that best present your brand and narrow your sales messaging. It’s also a proven way to help customers find products faster and move what they want to their carts more quickly.
Sometimes, seeing is greener than reading, too. So, here’s a look at some of our favorite eco-friendly options for your website and operations:
The eco-friendly office space
The COVID-19 pandemic sent many workers home and to remote locations, spreading out the environmental impact of traditional office buildings. Some of these are big wins for Earth Day, such as reducing emissions related to daily commutes. But, as offices slowly reopen and some new businesses try their hand at traditional models, keep “going green” in mind.
You can use many green best practices at the office and share them with remote workers to improve their locations. Some of our favorites include a “living wall” of greenery that can improve indoor air quality and give employees or people at home an uplifting feeling. An important part of this is to know yourself. If you tend to get absorbed in tasks, consider succulents or cacti as part of your mix to ensure everything keeps on living. Our green thumbs spend most of the day around packaging and order fulfillment, so here are some options from the experts at Good Housekeeping.
Many companies offer drinks and food to their staff directly or have things like vending machines at their location. Consider ways to remove non-recyclable items or to shift to packaging that’s easier to recycle. This may mean you upgrade to the new Sprite bottle when shopping. Look up your local recycling options to make choices suitable for you. Aluminum cans are easier to recycle while recycled plastics create more versatile materials, so ask your recycler what better fits their needs and capabilities.
Other great options include buying equipment that uses less power. Start with appliances in your kitchen, HVAC, and elements like lighting. Many new computers and monitors have low-power modes that save energy without impacting the ability to do work.
Here are additional eco-friendly tips you can take with you no matter where you work:
Get started on your eco-friendly journey today
By utilizing some of these efficient practices in your company, you could help drive more sales to your business. Your customers, operations, and the planet all deserve an eco-friendly approach. The journey starts with a single step, but you’ll quickly find many new practices to try. To give you a hand with greener packaging and fulfillment, here are some additional resources: