April 13, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

How Your eCommerce Store Can “Go Green” (and Its Surprising Benefits)

Remember Kermit the Frog singing, “It’s not easy being green?”

Here’s the video clip to make you warm and fuzzy all over:

And while it may not have been easy for Kermit to be green, it IS easy (and beneficial) for your online storefront to go green.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this article and then we can talk.

Why Bother Going Green?

If you feel passionate about environmental causes and taking care of the planet, live these values out by creating an eco-friendly eCommerce presence. Even if you’re not passionate about “going green” on a personal level, creating an eco-friendly brand and eCommerce presence can have some great benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:

  • Your brand can appear more trustworthy to customers – A study by Cone Communication found that 87% of surveyed customers “will have a more positive brand image” of a company that “supports social or environmental issues.” Being eco-friendly is a great way to add trust and value to your brand quickly.
  • You could make more sales – According to the above-referenced study, 68% of millennials, one of the biggest consumer markets, have purchased a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months.
  • You could benefit from higher profits 55% of consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay higher prices for products that are eco-friendly – and if you include only millennials, this jumps to 73%.
  • The market for eco-conscious products is growing According to data gathered by Nielsen, the U.S. Sustainability Market, which includes sustainable, eco-friendly products, is expected to grow to $150 billion in 2021– up from just $107.3 billion in 2014.

Whether you decide to go totally green and sell eco-friendly products, or just make a few changes to help reduce your environmental impact is completely up to you. But if you do make positive changes that are eco-friendly and advertise them as part of your brand, you’re sure to benefit from it! 

How Can I Make My eCommerce Store More “Green” and Sustainable? 

So, we’ve convinced you that it’s worth selling eco-friendly items, or taking steps to reduce your store’s overall environmental footprint. How can you actually take action, and make your business more sustainable? Here are a few simple ideas.

  • Sell sustainable products when possible – If you operate a store that can sell sustainable products, such as a skincare store, for example, it’s a great idea to partner with other small businesses that are creating environmentally-friendly products. However, even if you can’t easily partner with wholesalers of sustainable products, there are a few other ways you can cut down on your environmental footprint.
  • Use recycled boxes – If possible, you should use recycled boxes for your shipments. If you frequently receive shipments of wholesale merchandise to your home, warehouse or storefront, you can re-use these boxes to fulfill customer shipments. Or, if you need more boxes, you can purchase once-used or brand new boxes that are made out of recycled and post-consumer materials. A quick search for local partners who sell recycled boxes will offer several options.
  • Include information & reminders about recycling packaging – You can’t control how the products you sell are packaged – so it’s likely many of them will come in plastic, and with non-reusable packaging that’s not environmentally friendly. A great way to deal with this is to include a paper in each of your shipments instructing customers on how they can deal with various recyclables – metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, and so on. This will remind them to recycle, and prevent product packaging from ending up in a landfill.
  • Shop for “green” web hosting – Did you know that you can find web hosting providers for your website that use renewable energy? It’s true. GreenGeeks is probably the most well-known, but a few larger hosting companies like HostGator and InMotion also have eco-friendly hosting services. Partner with an environmentally-responsible hosting company to minimize your carbon footprint!  
  • Choose eco-friendly packing materials – When possible, you should opt for eco-friendly packing materials for your shipments. For example, you can use undyed, recycled paper to stuff boxes and prevent items from moving around, instead of using foam packing peanuts or plastic air pillows. These can be recycled in some communities, but are not always recyclable – and they usually end up in the landfill.
  • Include a donation option at checkout – You can consider partnering with a local or national eco-friendly charity, such as the World Wildlife Foundation, (WWF) to add a widget on your checkout page that will let customers add a dollar to their purchase for charity, or round up to the next dollar and donate that amount. This is a low-impact way to make a difference – since customers have the option to donate if they want, and can simply continue to check out if they would prefer not to donate.
  • Consider changing your return policy for low-value items – Free returns cause a lot of emissions. It’s estimated that returns cause 15 million metric tons of pollution per year – as much as 3 million cars. If you can cut down on returns, you can cut down on your carbon footprint. You can consider allowing customers to keep low-value items ($5-$10) even if they want to make a return, and send a replacement item to them for free. Considering the logistical cost of receiving such low-value returns, and the fact that they are often thrown away anyway if they are damaged or defective, this is a great way to reduce your environmental impact.

With just a few simple steps, you can dramatically reduce your environmental impact – and build a more eco-conscious brand and eCommerce store. 

Consider How Your eCommerce Store Can “Go Green” – Take Your First Steps Today! 

Being green is good.

Even Kermit the Frog realized that. 

After all, later on in the song, he says:

But green is the color of Spring.

And green can be cool and friendly-like.

And green can be big like an ocean.

Or important like a mountain.

Or tall like a tree.

So you see, green can be delightful. 

And building an environmentally-friendly online brand easier is easier than ever, and can have some major benefits for your eCommerce store as well. 

So start thinking about what you’ve learned in this guide now – and how you can implement it in your own shop.

Looking for more tips and tricks about eCommerce and Magento? 121eCommerce is always here to help. Take a look at our blog here, and get more tips, tricks, and guides that you can use to boost your bottom line!

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