Half the battle of ecommerce is getting the product to the consumer’s doorstep, mailbox or designated fulfillment center. From a seller’s perspective, the real challenge is balancing cost with carbon footprint, speed and consistency.
While your first instinct might be to prioritize your bottom line above all else, it’s important to remember your customers are increasingly interested in eco-friendly options. In fact, 61 percent of consumers have factored in green packaging when shopping and 57 percent consider green packaging important, according to Dotcom Distribution.
Here’s the nitty-gritty on greener packaging materials for ecommerce to help lessen your environmental impact and impress customers with your eco-awareness, while keeping an eye on cost at the same time.
It’s easy to overlook ink as an unchangeable given. But did you know many types of ink are petroleum based and contain volatile organic compounds harmful to the environment? Soy-based ink is the natural solution. This vegetable-based alternative is often cheaper and it’s great for printing bright colors—who said going green has to be dull?
Does the thought of Styrofoam peanuts give you the heebie-jeebies? Do you want your customers to see you’re conscientious about your impact on the earth? Opt for sustainable packaging materials. As The Guardian reports, some companies choose to use compostable materials made from corn starch or sorghum, while others (like Dell, Crate and Barrel and Puma) use fungus-based packing materials from Ecovative.
Smaller Is Better
While boxes are the backbone of fulfillment, every product doesn’t need to have one. As a customer, it’s often disconcerting to receive a large box with a small product rattling around inside. In addition to being awkward, it’s mighty wasteful. Creative shipping options like mailer envelopes solve this issue—even for larger items like apparel. Choosing an unpadded mailer envelope for a soft item is a no-brainer; while you can still customize the outside to your heart’s content, the snug fit is efficient and cost saving in the end.
Bundling is a two-fold solution: you send fewer parcels and can possibly eliminate the need for packing materials altogether. If customers tend to buy multiple, smaller items at your online store—like books, cosmetics, decorative trinkets or toys—bundling is an efficient way to get a handful of products (or more) to one destination in style. Plus, your buyer will be very excited when all of their products show up at once to maximize the unboxing experience.
Customer Choice Is Key
In conjunction with green packaging materials, giving your customers a choice of shipping options is another environmentally friendly thing you can do. The more choices you can offer your customers over the course of enterprise ecommerce checkout, the happier they will be (and more likely to associate your brand with eco-consciousness).
As Entrepreneur writes, “To avoid shopping cart abandonment and upset customers, retailers should think about adding additional delivery choices such as local pickup, carrier-specific options, same-day shipping and more.” While fast and free (or low-cost) shipping is important, outlining a shopper’s options can help them choose the best fit for them and for the earth. But they’ll only know what’s available when you provide them with more choices than just standard or expedited shipping.
Learning more about the nitty-gritty on greener packaging materials for ecommerce makes it evident that you too, as a seller, have plenty of options to explore to make your business more environmentally responsible. In addition to petroleum ink, appropriately sized packaging and varied shipping choices, there are plenty of other simple and cost-effective ways to “greenify” your online brand.