Fifty Shades of Green
Is a sustainable ecommerce business for you?
One week after Earth Day, much of its symbolism may be lost among the general public. But increasingly, consumers are listening to the growing wave of concern with respect to sustainability, climate control, and all red flags pointing to a devastating forecast for the planet’s well-being.
Whether or not you are personally committed to the cause, incorporating its elements into your business is not an unwise move. Following an unusual drop in interest in environmental conditions, Americans have expressed a sharp increase in concern for the planet’s health over the last decade. Many direct that concern beyond their personal habits and straight into purchasing decisions. This also holds for many European countries.
Meet their challenge in your ecommerce business by evaluating your operations from the ground up. Visible efforts range from sustainable packaging and shipping materials. Often resellers hone in on actual products that represent a respect for the environment. Beyond that, proactive messaging can express an honest concern even if an immediate switch to sustainability may be a fiscal nightmare in the short term.
The gradual move to online shopping, which accelerated in the pandemic year of 2020, made cardboard boxes a household staple. To many, that opened eyes and raised concerns.
Real life stories
High-profile shoe retailer TOMS went all in with a comprehensive focus on environmental advocacy reflected in its packaging (made of mostly recycled waste material and printed using soy ink). TOMS shoe products incorporate sustainable materials including natural hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester as an alternative. Other fashion and home-related sellers followed suit, realizing not only the PR benefits, but the ability to recruit excellent employees, and to minimize expenditures on graphic design that typically target high-end art with a range of vibrant colors. As it turns out, the fave shades of the day are brown and green.
Followed by a litany of fellow merchants, the TOMS approach demonstrates the power sellers still hold in making marketing decisions. Consumers who are on the fence about spending a bit more than planned may be convinced if a business has an honest and enduring commitment to sustainability. On the flip side, those not necessarily passionate about conservation are also not offended by green-friendly packaging. It’s a win on both counts.
So where do you start? First, you are the best judge of how much you can afford to devote to running an eco-friendly ecommerce business. Newcomers or low-margin stores may not realistically sustain sustainability, but words count. Formulate a message and make it clear in your marketing, on your page, and in personal messages to customers.
Adopting environmental-friendly business operations is a goal within reach to merchants with a solid customer base and decent revenue stream. If so moved, consider the following to begin putting your passion into practice:
It’s no secret that consumerism mirrors culture, and vice-versa. Proudly focusing on an honest desire to contribute toward a healthy planet will be more than just personally fulfilling. It will be a show of integrity that will at very least impress potential customers, and at most will earn a loyal base.
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