Being sustainable is more than just a popular trend but an essential goal for all businesses in 2022. As Earth Day approaches, let’s take a look at some ways you can shift your store’s focus towards being more environmentally conscious.


Consumers the world over are showing more and more concern for the future of our planet and the role that companies and consumption habits have to play in securing a cleaner, more sustainable outlook.


According to Nielsen, 72% of shoppers are buying more sustainable products and 73% have adjusted their habits to reduce their environmental impact. In other words: consumers are passionate about doing their bit for the environment. If your store has not adapted to these demands, it could actually be a barrier to sales – not to mention damage your reputation over time.


Being a sustainable seller means becoming aware of the environmental impact of the supply chain and how taking on new sustainability practices can help change the situation and improve brand perception amongst increasingly environmentally conscious consumers.

5 Sustainable eCommerce Practices Any Store Can Apply

You won’t find any Greenwashing here. Just good, honest advice on how to portray your store’s genuine care for the environment and our planet:

1. Transparent Commitment to Business Ethics

First off, your store’s stance on sustainability should be authentic and your practices should be totally visible to your customers. This will enable them to keep informed of your company’s values and the actions you are undertaking (or that you plan to undertake) towards sustainable goals.


By transparently showcasing your commitment to the sustainability of your business you can help customers analyse and purchase products that align with their values – with the added advantage of boosting your brand image.  


Note: conscious consumers can smell inauthenticity from miles away. It is essential that your real, actionable values be reflected in all actions taken by the company – from sourcing, production and manufacturing to communication and sales channels. Faking it, or failing to implement changes from end-to-end, may do you more harm than good.


2. Encourage Recycling and Reuse

A rising trend sees some brands encouraging customers to reuse the packaging materials from shipments – not only as a means of sending items back to exchange/return but by accepting the materials in exchange for an incentive to combat excess waste and recycling.


Adopting practices that encourage the circular economy helps to combat destructive mass consumption and shows that your business is committed to sustainability beyond the point of sale.

Another means of doing this is by making your packaging work harder by treating it as a means of delivering value at the point of unboxing. As packaging is becoming the only physical contact brands may have with their customer, innovative unboxing platform Penny Black helps to replicate the in-store experience through packaging for online customers.

Download Penny Black’s whitepaper on owning the unboxing moment and turning your packaging into a means of increasing customer lifetime value.


3. Minimise Product Returns

As fewer returns equal a decrease in carbon emissions from transport, making an effort to minimise product returns is as beneficial to the environment as it is to your bottom line. 

Making an effort to ensure product information is always complete, correct, consistent and relevant will help to answer customer questions, allow them to form a better idea of whether or not the product is a good fit for them before committing to purchase and will mean less dissatisfaction and misunderstanding in the long run. 

Keeping on top of your product information doesn’t have to be a dreaded task. Using a multichannel management platform like Expandly will give you a central place to review, update and optimise your product information that can be synced across all your sales channels. Try it for free today.


4. Sustainability Through Software

Various marketplaces and eCommerce platforms offer incentives and plugins to help sellers embed sustainable practices and enhance customer trust. 


For example, a Shopify or WooCommerce plugin can make it possible for a store to contribute to reducing the carbon emissions resulting from every purchase in an online store, or automatically commission the planting of a tree when an order is placed. 


Additionally, using a platform like Expandly helps to increase operational efficiency and reduce waste, in terms of both time and resources, by streamlining or fully automating workflows.


5. Eco-Friendly From End-to-End

In the buying process, the shipment of online orders has the greatest impact on the environment. Stores can mitigate this impact by using more environmentally friendly packaging and avoiding the use of:


  • Plastic 
  • Mixed materials that prove difficult/cumbersome for the consumer to separate and recycle 
  • Excessively sized packaging.


Sustainability includes more than simply the materials and production methods used in a product’s manufacture, though. 


Of course, it matters a great deal whether materials come from sustainable sources and it helps enormously if they are of organic origin, where possible. But sustainability also concerns such factors as:


  • Whether a company gives workers fair working wages and conditions
  • If products are intended for single-use or high-consumption and 
  • How goods are stored and transported between warehouses and to the end-user.


It’s more important than ever to know the morale journey your products have taken prior to landing in your warehouse and, if there’s any doubt in your mind about this, make enquiries with the manufacturer immediately.


Investing in creating a more sustainable business means you will save time and resources in the long run, bring about a positive impact on the environment and make your brand more appealing to your target audience.

Ready to take your commitment to change one step further? Activate your knowledge with The Unschool online learning platform; with classes designed to help you and your business make a more positive impact on the world around you.


Good luck with going green!


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