Convenience combined with changing shopping habits has e-commerce sales poised to double over the next decade, indicating a rise in opportunity for online businesses of all sizes.
However, this also means businesses will be faced with the difficulty of finding more ways to differentiate their brand as competition increases, and the e-commerce space grows increasingly crowded. One way that online businesses can grow and differentiate their brand is by implementing sustainable business practices.
Consumers, especially young millennials and Gen Z, are becoming more environmentally conscious of where they invest their money. They want to feel good about how their purchases impact the world by researching and becoming more educated on environmentally friendly business practices. According to Business Insider, people feel proud knowing that they’re offsetting potential environmental impacts while shopping.
Here are three major reasons why you should incorporate eco-friendly practices in your online business:
1. Encouraging Customer Loyalty
Showing your customers that you care about the environment not only puts you ahead of most businesses, it also encourages your customers to repurchase from your store. In a recent survey, 88% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company that cares about the environment. It can be anywhere from 5x to 25x more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer, so customer loyalty should be high on the list for your business to pursue. Letting your customers know that they’re helping the environment when shopping with you will make them feel better about their shopping practices, which will encourage them to buy from you again.
Being more sustainable will help you generate a stronger, more loyal, and more consistent customer base, which will only help you in the long run. Customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product specifically. Instead, they stay loyal to companies due to the overall customer experience these brands provide. By working towards being a sustainable business, you are altering the experience of your consumers, as they now can feel good and empowered about their purchases.
2. Building Your Brand
Investing in sustainable practices allows you to better shape the value proposition of a brand towards key emerging consumer segments. Data shows that 92% of consumers are proven to be more trustworthy of companies who support environmental causes. Brands who care about social issues are seen as less “corporate” and more “human,” which attracts a wider range of audiences.
Sustainable businesses are the future. Many larger companies are starting to invest in sustainability efforts, suggesting that sustainability standards for all businesses will rise in the future. By investing in sustainable practices today, you can help secure your company’s stake in the e-commerce world tomorrow.
3. Benefits the Environment
Caring about the environment and how our actions impact it is not something we should solely leave up to individuals, otherwise, there will never be any significant change realized. It can be easy to forget how quickly our carbon footprints add up, especially when we’re behind a computer screen.
Freight trucks used for shipping alone, contribute to 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions. If you consider all the packages that get shipped globally, the incremental amount of pollution a single package creates adds up to a sizable amount that negatively impacts Earth.
There are government regulations in place, like the carbon credit system, which incentivizes large companies to emit less carbon dioxide by giving them a certain amount of carbon credits they can use. However, it’s up to small business owners to make sure that that change is seen on a local level.
While it may be difficult to control and change every aspect of your operations and supply chain to be 100% eco-friendly, any actions taken to offset your business’s carbon footprint is a step in the right direction. If every online business takes a few small steps toward being more sustainable, the overall impact would be tantamount to corporate behemoths implementing the same practices.
So, how can you start incorporating sustainable practices within your business?
EcoCart specializes in helping Shopify stores become more eco-friendly. EcoCart is a free Shopify app that empowers customers to offset the carbon emissions generated from manufacturing and shipping their online order, for pennies on the dollar. It can be easily installed in your store with no additional fees and is highly customizable to fit your shop’s aesthetic.
The money your customers donate funds a variety of independently verified projects around the world that actively work to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. For example, EcoCart is currently funding an organization that installs wind turbines in Turkey to provide renewable energy. By installing EcoCart on your Shopify store, you and your customers will see a positive, lasting environmental result from their purchases.