Going Green: TOP5 tips to Improve the Environmental Impact of Your Online Store

There’s no doubt about it - the online store business is a huge deal. 451 Research's recently launched Global Unified Commerce Forecast indicates that digital commerce transactions will grow globally by more than a 20% CAGR through 2022, reaching $5.8 trillion. Just think of all the extra orders that will be placed and products to be shipped and delivered to reach that figure. The environmental impact of the digital commerce growth will be huge.

Now would be a great time to make a statement for your online store and to act responsibly and strive to become green eCommerce.

The idea of going ‘green’ isn’t a new trend. The more the people become conscious about environmental issues, the amount of plastic, the amount of returned new items to be wasted, the amount of air freight and so on, the more people desire to buy eco-friendly products that represent green values. The increase of modern customers who are only willing to make purchases from responsible online stores that strive to improve the impact their stores have on the environment is seen in markets all over the globe.

It is time to Go Green.

Follow these 5 steps to improve your environmental impact

Going green doesn’t necessarily mean that it will cost you more money in the long run. In fact, it does wonders for your marketing to gain a positive image as a responsible online store. Green values appeal to a conscious group of consumers, of which 64% take into account the sustainability of a company’s supply chain and 55% consider an online retailer’s overall carbon footprint when deciding whether to make a purchase.

1. Sell Sustainable or Green Products

Are you selling products made from sustainably-sourced materials? Is your suppliers ethical? Is your products designed to be used over and over again? Do you provide info on how to recycle your products after use? Have you thought about your carbon footprint?

2. Use Recyclable & Efficient Packaging

The amount of waste created by excessive packaging is massive. You should consider how to pack your product in the most eco-friendly way. Go for the most green impact for customer experience you can make with the use of recyclable packaging materials. Buyers appreciate it when their product arrives with a note that its packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.

You might also think about reducing the size and amount of waste of the packaging. You can offer, for example, plastic-free packaging and use recycled materials. It is always good to pack tightly in order to minimize the volumetric weight in air freight. If your products need filling in the shipment, you should check out compostable filling materials and other green options. There is also a recyclable online store material called Re-Pack that you might want to use.

3. Offer Greener Shipping & Delivery Methods

Do you know which is the most eco-friendly way to ship out your orders? Green freight companies with carbon neutral shipping do exist. The best way is to use compensated freight options as often as possible. It’s best to offer a few delivery options to your customers. You might need to educate them on how shipping and delivery impacts the environment. This might also lead to the customer selecting a greener method themselves. If the ordered product is not urgent, then some customers may be happy to wait longer for it to be delivered if it is better for the environment.

4. Make sure your Return Handling is Green

First of all, you need to reduce order fulfillment errors that lead to unnecessary returns.

The environmental impact of fulfilling an order dramatically increases when that order is returned and a new item is shipped to the customer. Automating fulfillment process is always helpful for decreasing mistakes.

However, in the online store business, you can’t avoid all returns. But you can make sure that all returned items that can be sold again are sold again after the return. Read more about it in our blog on returns that go straight to trash.

You might also want to consider whether, when a customer is returning damaged goods, it is worth shipping back or is the damage possible to see in photos and your customer could recycle the damaged item rather than shipping it back to you.

5. Enhance the Green impact with Multi-Warehousing

Customers will appreciate fast delivery times. Consider whether you can store your goods in more than one location where you can fulfill orders fast and the order is shipped the shortest possible distance.

Full automation of the supply chain, from online store to picking, packing, and shipping in multiple warehouses, enables your orders to travel the minimum distance required. OGOship warehouse network is able to offer you wide capacity of all online store order handling, from automated warehouse to local, manual warehouse, with the aim to handle orders from the fulfilment center that offers the shortest possible distance to deliver the order to your customer.

Acting with environmental consciousness is an investment for your brand

Climate change is a global issue. Green consumption is a trend regularly considered to be led by the millennials, the generation driving the sustainable movement with their lifestyle and behavioral changes. Half of digital consumers say environmental concerns impact their purchasing decisions. This means that more and more consumers are willing to pick your brand over another based on your commitment to sustainability.

Implementing these five steps cannot be done overnight, but with the right 3PL partner, you can Go Green faster.