Sustainability is one of the most important issues facing the world today. Consumers are more interested now than ever in buying products that have been made in an environmentally friendly way. As online shopping becomes more and more popular, ecommerce sellers need to consider the environmental impact of their business. Customers are increasingly interested in sustainability, and they are more likely to shop with businesses that align with their values. If you are an ecommerce seller, it is important to find ways to introduce sustainability into your business.
In this blog post, we will discuss how ecommerce sellers can introduce sustainability to their customers and make sure they are doing their part to protect the environment with sustainable ecommerce.
Why sustainability is a big deal for ecommerce
Global ecommerce sales are set to surpass $4 trillion by 2021—and the best part is that we’re not even scratching the surface of all potential market opportunities. As we expand our shopping horizons and become more comfortable with making purchases online, it’s encouraging to see that sustainability ranks high on consumers’ minds when selecting a retailer. “Eighty-one percent of consumers surveyed said that they would be willing to spend more on a product if it had a better overall impact on the world,” says a Forrester report.
What this means for ecommerce sellers is simple: We have an opportunity to stand out from our competitors and give customers what they want—products with a lower, more positive impact on the world. It’s essential to implement sustainable shipping and consider sustainable packaging materials and carbon emissions.
The principles of sustainability
Sustainability is about using resources responsibly and efficiently so as not to diminish the ability of the earth’s future generations to provide for their own needs.
The main principles can be summarized as:
-Reduce what you use. This includes sustainable product design and reducing resource intensity.
-Reuse what you reduce.
-Recycle what you cannot reuse (e.g., waste treatment, energy generation).
-Change to renewable resources instead of those that are truly irreplaceable, like fossil fuels.
-Respect the limits of natural systems by not exceeding their capacity to renew themselves.
How ecommerce sellers can introduce sustainability to customers
In today’s world, maintaining a business is a challenging task. The ecommerce industry has its fair share of challenges, and one such challenge is to maintain the sustainability of the business in an ever-changing environment. Online sellers need to focus on building sustainable business models to survive in this cutthroat competition. Brands should develop sustainable and efficient business models to grow their businesses.
Shifting customers’ focus towards sustainability can help bring long-term benefits to the business. The current generation of customers is future-oriented. They want their products to be more sustainable in nature.
What are sustainable products?
Many retailers are now offering sustainable products beyond organic cotton t-shirts and free-trade coffee beans. Sustainable fashion, for example, is all about cutting down on waste and reducing our environmental footprint – making our supply chains as streamlined as possible so that nothing is wasted or thrown away.
Brands like Reformation, Patagonia, and Everlane are leading the way in sustainable fashion. They’re doing this by using sustainable materials like recycled plastics, sustainable fabrics like hemp and pineapple, eco-friendly dyes, non-toxic glues for our shoes… the list goes on.
What ecommerce sellers can do to promote sustainable products
For ecommerce brands, there are many ways to promote sustainability. There are a variety of sustainable initiatives your brand can implement to deal with different issues, such as packaging waste and excess materials.
Here are our top tips for promoting sustainability to your existing customer base.
1. Have a sustainable product focus on your website
Customers who come from search engines or referrals to your main page will want to know that your brand focuses on sustainability. Moreover, be sure to feature any sustainable products prominently across your main shop page, so customers do not doubt that they’re buying from a sustainable brand.
If you sell individual pieces, display them in a carousel or slider underneath the banner image at the top of your shop page. Companies that know about the carbon footprint of their products must take the necessary steps to get sustainable solutions and communicate those solutions to potential customers.
2. Use product descriptions to highlight sustainability
An important part of selling any product online is the product description. If customers can’t see what they’re buying upfront, it’s even less likely they’ll make a purchase.
For example, if you sell sustainable clothing or home decor, be sure to talk up the eco-friendly aspects of your products in your product descriptions. If you have a team member who will be handling this write-up, be sure to give them specific instructions with regards to what you want to be included in the description.
3. Promote your sustainability initiatives on social media
With over 2.46 billion active users, it’s no secret that social media can be a powerful tool for promoting products and ecommerce brands in general. So why not use the biggest social networks out there to help promote your sustainability initiatives?
Be sure to utilize your social media channels to showcase your efforts and dedication. You can do this by creating Pinterest boards, Instagram hashtags, and Facebook groups where customers who are specifically looking to purchase “green” products can find you easily.
4. Invite your customers to join the conversation
If you’re selling sustainable products, it’s important to let your customers know that you care about their impact on the world.
Offer customized social media posts that they can share with friends and family. For instance, if you offer carbon neutral orders with EcoCart, offer a customized graphic that your customers can share on their social media that highlights their impact with your brand. Tell them to take action by sharing their favorite sustainable product each month, suggest that they list why they’re choosing to shop sustainable, etc.
Another way to get your customers involved in the conversation is by sharing user-generated content on social media. We all want to shop at companies that are proud of what they do, so make sure you let all your customers know that you’re proud of them too by sharing their photos on Instagram and Facebook. This will earn you the support of your consumers, word-of-mouth promotion about your business, and additional visibility on social media.
For example: If you’re a sustainable apparel brand that just launched organic cotton jeans and want feedback from consumers, post photos of customers who buy them. Ask for their opinions on how they feel about the fit, how they style them, etc.
Incorporating customer reviews into your social media marketing strategy will help you gain a better understanding of what products resonated with consumers and which ones didn’t meet their expectations. It will also give you the opportunity to improve future products’ design before going through the trouble of releasing them to market.
What do you know about sustainable business practices?
Sustainable business practices is a term used to refer to the actions taken by businesses to reduce their environmental impact. There are several ways for brands to reduce and mitigate their environmental footprint. For example, brands can use recycled materials in their products or implement sustainable alternatives, such as using eco-friendly packaging and utilizing carbon offsets. A company that implements sustainable initiatives invests in practices that help it create long-term value instead of short-term benefits.
More and more brands are trying to do their part for the environment. This is why many brands have opted to donate a small percentage of their profit or have started to work with organizations that help the environment. These initiatives are usually well-received by customers because they showcase the steps that the brand is taking to be more eco-conscious.
Ecommerce brands are responsible for introducing customers to sustainable products and practices. Sustainable living is no longer just a trend—it’s the norm as people become more aware of their lifestyles’ impact on the environment.
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for consumers. People want to know that the products they are buying are not harming the environment, and they are dedicated to brands with sustainable initiatives.
If you are an ecommerce brand, it is important to work to implement sustainable programs and options that your customers will love to support.
As a marketing expert with over 15 years of experience in ecommerce, Andrew Maffetone (Maff) has not only owned and managed multiple marketing companies in the ecommerce space but has also worked in-house at multiple online selling companies, driving brands to new heights. With his knowledge of marketing and business strategy, love for staying ahead of the curve, and ability to execute effective marketing solutions, he created BlueTuskr, a team of specialized experts dedicated to the growth and success of ecommerce sellers.