Companies, customers and leaders are pushing businesses to embrace sustainability – to go green, and leave the world a better place for future generations. Consumers are demanding more responsibility from businesses. They expect businesses to do better, to eliminate or reduce waste.
In fact, sustainability and green business practices are becoming a deciding factor in buying decisions. In a recent study, more than 80% of the consumers surveyed said it was important for companies to design environmentally-friendly products.
Consumers want to spend their money with businesses that share their values. They reward businesses that recognize the importance of going green, and will take their business elsewhere when a company doesn’t follow sustainable practices.
The Importance of Green Ecommerce
In recent years, companies are looking at sustainability as more than an expense, but an opportunity.
Smart companies see it as more than just an opportunity to protect our environment, but also a strategic business advantage. With the right plan and a little business savvy, going green can mean more green for the bottom line. Sustainable packaging can be a powerful tool for an ecommerce business.
Here’s how your ecommerce shipping business can go green by leveraging sustainability to strengthen the company, improve efficiency, and increase cost savings.
Five Strategies for Ecommerce Businesses to Leverage Sustainability
- Embrace sustainability.
As we have shown, consumers are more likely to buy from companies that offer sustainable products. By making your sustainable initiative a component of your brand, you can better connect with these consumers. Link the initiative to your company values. Don’t just talk and plan, but follow up with real actions. Done right, and with honesty, you will not only see better sales and higher profits, but also increased employee engagement and other benefits.
- Save money with reduced packing waste.
Packing material waste adds to the cost of every shipment. Over time, as your business ships more packages, this cost will increase dramatically. Poor packing is also a prime reason for returns. Better, more sustainable packing material will not only reduce waste, but in the long run dramatically reduce costs, increase shipping efficiencies, and reduce the number of returns.
Not only that, your customers will appreciate it also.
- Develop custom packaging initiatives and processes that incorporate sustainability.
As an ecommerce shipping business, every shipment is an opportunity to delight and amaze the customer. A little extra time and effort can turn a customer into an advocate. With planning and foresight, your sustainability efforts can strengthen that customer connection. Look at adding custom recycled tissue paper to an order, a label made of partially recycled materials, or improve shipping with an inner box made of recycled material that not only protects, but delights.
- Evaluate your processes.
Another way to implement green ecommerce and improve efficiency is by constantly re-evaluating your shipping processes. Can you eliminate or combine steps so your machines aren’t running as much? Can you use a shipping label/packing list form combination to remove extra materials, or reduce labor needs or the number of machines on your lines? These little tweaks can provide huge benefits for sustainability and the environment.
- Ensure right-size packaging.
Many businesses are forced to use ecommerce packages that aren’t sized correctly. Due to buying minimums, cost-saving measures, or the expense of stocking more package sizes, the company uses incorrectly-sized boxes and packages. This is not only hurts sustainability efforts and green initiatives, it annoys the customer. Who wants to deal with all that extra packaging? By adding a greater variety of package sizes and working with your supplier to ensure right-size packaging, you can provide better customer service and improve sustainability.
- Use Recyclable Packaging.
A new trend – packaging that is designed to be recycled – can increase packing and shipping efficiency. Look at how your choice in packaging, ecommerce distribution supplies, and even label adhesives, can not only reduce costs and jumpstart your green ecommerce efforts, but also increase shipping efficiency. Recyclable packaging is not only more sustainable, it’s consumer-friendly and is an opportunity to build your business brand with every order.
Getting Started with Sustainable Ecommerce Packaging
Sustainability and green ecommerce are no longer pie-in-the-sky, wish list business dreams, but are a tool for reducing costs, growing business and connecting with customers.
Getting started can be difficult. Making progress can mean adjusting the shipping processes that your business relies on. It can mean asking hard questions of your long-term suppliers. There may also be initial set-up costs that can hard to stomach.
We suggest taking it one step at a time, and coming up with a plan to roll out the initiative over time.
Look at your packaging sizes and packing material, then discuss opportunities for improvement with your supplier. Consider other opportunities to incorporate sustainable ecommerce packaging in an order, including the shipping label. If you aren’t satisfied with your current supplier, then reach out to other companies to see if they can offer better options.
Also consider how you will communicate the initiative to employees and customers. Open communication is just as important as a change in packaging material to making the most of your green initiatives. Don’t hesitate to consult with internal communication experts when it comes to rolling out and capitalizing on the program. It is vital to driving support not only from your customers, but employees as well.
If you have questions about getting started, or want to see how you can make green ecommerce a priority for your business, then contact GO2 Partners today to learn more.