The e-commerce business occupies a huge part of the market and constantly expands its field. Every year more and more people get convinced to use this type of service and notice that it is indeed a convenient and safe way to shop. All solutions have drawbacks too. From this article, you will learn how you can make your business more sustainable. We’ll show you easy-to-implement steps that will not only affect the planet but also allow you to grow your business and give you a reason to be proud.

What is a sustainable business?

In the simplest terms, a sustainable business considers not only its well-being, profits and growth during its operations but also the impact on society, the planet and consumers. This is a rather broad concept, which gives everyone a chance to find their own way to fit in with the prevailing trend. It is important that it has to do with saving the earth’s natural resources. During all processes, owners following sustainable business should be guided by the idea of preserving the planet in such a state that future generations can also benefit from it.

This is a growing issue these days, mainly because the specter of environmental catastrophe is very real. Fortunately, more and more people are approaching this issue responsibly and are not thinking only about their interests and what is here and now, but are planning their actions so that they also have a positive impact on future generations. Naturally, responsibility considers not only the business owner but also the buyer.

4 tips to make your online e-commerce business sustainable ogolna 50sustainable business

Branding or environmental consciousness – which is more essential to consumers?

Many brands make the wrong assumption that since the mass of customers has been loyal to them for X number of years, their approach to the environment will not change that. However, the opinion of companies is somewhat different from that of consumers themselves. More and more people are paying attention to what a brand’s approach to sustainability is and what policies it preaches. Many can abandon their previous habits in favor of new products whose mission and vision are more in line with their views.

Depending on the branch of business, these important issues will differ. In the case of clothing, composition and material quality will matter more than low price and disposability, while in the case of cosmetics, the absence of artificial dyes and animal testing will win over past habits and brand loyalty.

Of course, these are just examples, but they help to illustrate what we mentioned at the beginning. A brand’s position is not unwavering, and the variety of products on the market allows consumers to make choices based on their guidelines. Therefore, any e-commerce company that has not yet implemented sustainability into its operations should develop a strategy as soon as possible. This is the only chance to stay in the market today.

Sustainability business in e-commerce – is it possible?

It seems to many budding entrepreneurs that slogans of sustainability and business cannot go hand in hand. After all, the main goal of any business is to make as much revenue as possible. Is this the case? In part, it probably is. This is not to say that one excludes the other. Company can be profitable business and sustainable business at the same time. What is key are the steps that e-commerce owners will take to achieve this. In the case of this business, the key issues that can bring real environmental benefits are:

  • Carbon footprint arising from logistics processes,
  • Materials used for packaging shipments,
  • Product quality – returns,
  • Efficient working environment.

One of the greatest drawbacks of e-commerce is packaging. It’s a nuisance not only for the recipient, who has to store it, sort it and get it to the right place but also for our planet. While it may sound a bit over the top, caring for the environment is not just a passing trend or a slogan of activists. For many, it is a way of life and an important consideration when making purchases. The choice of suppliers is so large that consumers can afford to choose the one that meets all their requirements, including an appropriate approach to sustainability. Surely, the issue of packaging is not the only environmental threat posed by e-commerce.

The first step to change concerns abandoning the belief that an individual is powerless. Regardless of the size of your business or the field you select to operate in, even a small change in the right direction makes a difference. What’s more, it’s something to be proud of and inspire others. Hence, if you plan to change your approach and implement a sustainability strategy – speak up.

What benefits can the implementation of sustainable development bring?

The benefits of these actions that can get credited to the planet are obvious. But by implementing sustainability into your operations, you can also gain something for yourself and your business. It’s the best possible combination of good and useful.

What will your business gain when you join the green revolution?

  • Financial concessions and privileges due to government regulations
  • Positive publicity
  • Ability to reach a larger group of loyal customers
  • Competitive advantage in an employee environment

I want to introduce sustainability business – how to begin?

It’s best to start by drawing up a plan that fits your business. There is no one specific scheme that everyone can implement. The activities will always look slightly different and have various scopes. However, remember that whether it’s a small change or a big metamorphosis, the crucial thing is that you start taking action. You don’t have to take big steps right away, everyone acts on the scale that their resources allow. Have no idea where to start? We hope the following tips will bring you inspiration!

Sustainable business in work environment

Start with yourself. Consider what changes you can make in your office or warehouse to reduce your utility consumption.

Perhaps you might want to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which use significantly less electricity. Introduce new rules and regulations that encourage people to turn off lights and electrical appliances when they leave the room. Or perhaps you could get your employees a water tank to reduce the amount of plastic? Remember that even buying eco-friendly office supplies is a step in the right direction. You don’t have to immediately decide to set up an alternative energy source that would allow your company to gain energy independence (although if you can do so, that’s a great idea).

Sustainable business in logistics process

While many people believe that e-commerce stores contribute heavily to producing a carbon footprint, research indicates that the opposite is true. Sustainable business in e-commerce helps lower it.

All thanks to the fact that from wholesale warehouses packages are brought in larger quantities to the company’s warehouses from where they go directly to customers. In the days when e-commerce business was not so widespread, customers ordered their products in retail quantities directly from the manufacturer. Ultimately, smaller quantities of packages traveled longer distances. Thus, local shipments and distribution centers help reduce the carbon footprint.

What changes can you make in your company? Check whether the carrier you have a contract with pays attention to environmental issues – many have electric cars. You can also offer your customers to combine shipping of all products. This is an exciting option for those businesses that bring their goods from different warehouses or have a temporary shortage in stock. A customer to whom you offer even a small discount is more likely to agree to wait a little longer.

Matching packaging

The first change you can make is to opt for biodegradable materials. It’s not always possible to eliminate them, but even a partial reduction will be of great benefit to the environment. You can also eliminate excess packaging by applying the right size for your order. Of course, it is important to carefully secure the shipment so that it arrives intact to the consumer, but we know very well that often too much filling is caused by the wrong size box. You can also encourage your customers to reuse the packaging or recycle it properly.

Reduce the number of returns

There are industries where returns are inevitable. One of them is certainly the clothing industry. In this case, the most common cause of returns is size mismatch. What can you do to reduce this number by at least a little?

Opt for a clear description, add video and photos showing the item on different types of figures, and add an accurate table of measurements. Additionally, customers need to know whether the item conforms to standard sizing or is slightly oversized or undersized. While these changes will reduce returns somewhat, they will not eliminate them. So you can additionally develop a clear returns policy, including generated codes to replace printed return labels.

As you can see, these are simple steps to help you start a green revolution in your business. These are just a few inspirations for a good start. As you implement them, you are sure to see your thinking change and more ideas emerge. Perhaps you will be the next green leader? Remember to speak out about your metamorphosis. In this case, there is much to boast about.

Read also: 4 ways to boost your resilience at work

If you like our content, join our busy bees community on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok.

4 tips to make your online e-commerce business sustainable andy nichols avatar 1background

Author: Andy Nichols

A problem solver with 5 different degrees and endless reserves of motivation. This makes him a perfect Business Owner & Manager. When searching for employees and partners, openness and curiosity of the world are qualities he values the most.