E-commerce is growing at a staggering rate with global digital buyers expected to hit a massive 2.14 billion people by 2021, meaning a quarter of the world’s population will be shopping online. With a click of a button, just about anything –groceries, clothes, personal care products, household items, and so on –could arrive at your doorstep whenever you want. Who wouldn’t want such convenience? But as the E-commerce world is booming, so is its environmental impact. E-commerce sites are, therefore, being challenged to transform their operations and become more sustainable. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Reduce Packaging Waste
It’s not unusual to find oversized packages surrounded by lots of paper and bubble wrap. This hurts the environment in many ways. First, you’ll only be able to fit a few into the parcel delivery vehicle, meaning more trips and more fuel consumption. Secondly, all those plastic packing puffs and cardboard boxes end up in the landfills or somewhere in the ocean where they end up causing harm to our planet. So, how can you reduce packaging waste?
- Switch to recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable packaging materials
- Use the right size box
- Reduce the thickness of tape used to seal boxes
- Go paperless by making receipts, order sheets, and invoices digital
- Give customers the option to return boxes for re-use or recycle
- Take actions to reduce returns: For instance, fragile goods should be packaged properly to prevent damage. This will reduce the number of returns and no broken items must be sent into the landfills. You can also use AR technology to ensure customers are satisfied with their purchase before checking out.
There are several ways to achieve sustainable shipping. First, use an SSI (Sustainability Shipping Initiative) affiliated company to meet your parcel delivery service needs. Ensure they offer collection points and delivery windows to eliminate the environmental impact associated with missed deliveries and wasted trips from multiple delivery attempts. If you do your own deliveries, update your delivery methods by using new energy vehicles instead of the conventional fuel vehicles to reduce emissions. You can also offer a click-and-collect service if you have a bricks-and-mortar store.
Harness Customer Engagement
Offerings such as fast and affordable delivery have become a necessity to remain competitive in a busy E-commerce market. But you can educate customers on how their shipping and parcel delivery choices affect the environment. You’ll be surprised how many will be happy to wait longer if it’s better for the environment. You can also offer sustainability-minded incentives like pledges to offset carbon emissions or donations to ecological organisations.
What of the products you sell? Are they made from sustainably sourced materials? Find greener companies to work with at every step of the way. You can encourage manufactures and suppliers to use more sustainable processes and create products with a smaller operating carbon footprint.
Consider Energy-Efficient Web Hosting & Design
Did you know that web hosting is energy-intensive? Well, data centres use high-powered computers that require a lot of electricity to process and store data. They also generate so much heat, requiring a massive cooling system to manage temperatures. Luckily, several Eco-friendly hosting providers are committed to reducing their carbon footprint.
Additionally, the amount of energy required to load a page varies depending on its design, functionality, and server needs. E-commerce sites with fewer resource-draining apps will need low processing power to load. Generally, many of the things that affect how fast your pages load are the same ones that influence their energy usage.