Sustainability in e-commerce is getting more and more important. Here are 5 things environmentally conscious customers expect from online shops.
A higher focus of customers on environmental sustainability means decreasing sales of environmentally questionable products and services. For online retailers, this means taking their customers’ views seriously in order not to lose them. Therefore, a new approach is needed for online commerce to meet customer demands and be as cautious of the environment as possible.
5 things customers expect from sustainability in e-commerce
1. Fair prices despite sustainability
Many would like to support the environment, but living sustainably also has its price. For customers it is important not to go into financial ruin by buying sustainable products. Sustainability in e-commerce must therefore remain affordable in price an offer an ecological and affordable alternative.
2. Reduced packaging waste
A single order often contains lots of paper, plastic, polystyrene and bubble wrap. Consumers expect products that contain as little packaging waste as possible. For online retailers, this means delivering their products safely to their customers and at the same time being careful not to use fillers that are harmful to the environment. An example of sustainable filling material is biodegradable cornstarch chips instead of plastic chips.
Likewise, reusable plastic boxes gain importance so that the box in which the order was placed does not end up in the garbage. RePack already supplies online shops with reusable mailing bags. And Memolife.de offers shipping in reusable boxes.
The new German company everdrop, which sells tabs with sustainable cleaning agents, largely adheres to all rules. They deliver their goods in a windowless paper envelope. The product itself is in paper packaging.
In addition to avoiding waste, recycling is also important. Online shops are obliged to register their packaging with recycling systems. We have presented an inexpensive solution for the German packaging license. If you also deliver abroad, we can offer you our Europe-wide packaging compliance solution.
3. Manufacturing conditions
The manufacturing processes are also of great importance for sustainability in online trading. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to sustainable processing for the product selection. This starts with the individual materials and ends with their certification.
The supply chain is just as important. Online retailers should take care not to source goods from too far and stay regional if possible. This ensures shorter delivery times and greater flexibility. Many customers look for labels such as “from the region”.
4. Low CO2 emissions
Delivering parcels also means producing CO2 emissions. For sustainable e-commerce, it is important to rely on climate-neutral shipping and to neutralize the emissions that still arise through campaigns or donations. The absence of time window deliveries or multiple delivery attempts can also make a positive contribution.
Returns also have a negative ecological impact. Thus, it is important for both online retailers and customers to limit returns as much as possible. Instead, you should consider in advance what will be bought and shipped. Products that still come back with a return should nevertheless not be scrapped, but instead reused or donated.
5. Talk about sustainability
An environmentally conscious online shop is more attractive when it addresses its sustainable methods on its website and educates its customers about environmentally conscious procedures. Consumers want transparency and insight into existing and upcoming projects. This includes the accurate usage of certificates and recycling symbols as well.
You can even use your packaging to talk about sustainability to your customers. However, what’s most important is the truth behind your message. Always be honest and avoid greenwashing by all means, as it will diminish trust in your brand in the long run.
Zalando is a prime example.
The online shop Zalando reacted quickly to the global climate protests and is ahead of many online retailers in terms of environmental awareness. Its mailing bags are already made of 80% recycled plastic. The group even plans to completely dispose of single-use plastics in its packaging by 2023. Zalando has introduced sustainability labeling for the products themselves to draw attention to the fact that the product was created in an environmentally friendly manner and using fair manufacturing processes. The online shop also makes sure that it keeps educating its customers about sustainability in the shop.
Online trading should always go with the time.
A world without sustainability is no longer an option. That is why in the future every online retailer should make their business environmentally conscious. This puts less harm on the environment and meets the wishes of today’s customers.
PS .: If you are interested in this topic, here is a contribution about the circular economy and a new vision for e-commerce
The concept of a circular economy – Why a new vision for e-commerce is necessary
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