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How to Make Your Online Store More Sustainable

9 min read

Creating an eco-friendly online store helps attract customers, even though being sustainable is not necessary… Yet. As customers become more eco-conscious, stress on companies will continue to build through regulations and social pressure until incorporating sustainability into your business is mandatory. Ecommerce will not and should not be left out.

Dans cet article, we explain what sustainability is and why online stores need to incorporate it into their business models. The eco-conscious trend is likely to become the norm, so it is better to adjust to it early.

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability focuses on creating social and economic systems that benefit all life, including those currently living and future generations. Sustainable practices aim to support ecological, Humain, and economic vitality.

Here are some sustainability principles businesses should follow:

  • Control and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption, and waste production;
  • Create reasonable working conditions for employees and pay adequate wages on time;
  • Strive to create new jobs.

Dans cet article, we will focus on the first principle, the one most focused on environmental protection. Let’s find out how you can make your own online store environmentally friendly and compliant with sustainable practices.

Why Some Online Stores Aren’t Eco-Friendly

Shopping online is fast and convenient. Malheureusement, this convenience often comes at the expense of the environment. Par exemple, Amazon emits 44.4 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year while transporting orders. That’s more emissions than from the countries of Sweden or New Zealand! En fait, more than half of the world’s solid waste comes from packaging.

The main ways ecommerce affects the environment are:

  • Shipping and return of products. Shipping leads to a huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • L'excès d'emballage. When small items are delivered in huge boxes, or a single order is delivered in multiple packages, that leads to unnecessary waste.

A huge box just for some gum (Image: chap1stick/Reddit)

How to Make Your Online Store More Eco-Friendly

The sustainability issue in ecommerce is closely related to brand values. A company’s commitment to environmental preservation attracts loyal customers who share those values. The main challenge is to combine sustainability with profitability.

So how can a business owner make online shopping in their store more sustainable, while making a profit? Here are a few ways to start:

Offer More Eco-Friendly Delivery Options

Some carriers are increasingly focused on eco-friendly ways of transportation. Examples are delivering via hybrid and electric cars, electric scooters, vélos, and drones. Is there a way for you to provide carbon-neutral delivery to customers?

Give Up Plastic Packaging Whenever Possible

Par exemple, Zara has completely abandoned plastic in favor of paper. It has also launched a cosmetics collection in recyclable and budget-friendly packaging made of recycled cardboard. There’s even now packing material made from mushrooms!

Use Refillable Packaging

Voici comment cela fonctionne: a customer buys a product in refillable packaging, say a bottle or a jar. When they run out of the product, they buy a refill (usually at a discounted price) and replenish the bottle or jar with that refill. This reduces waste and promotes reusing goods, the often ignored sides of the sustainability triangle. Online stores like Bite have implemented a program that reuses packing and ultimately reduces waste.

Bite toothpaste bits come in a refillable glass jar and refills come in compostable packaging

Keep Returned Items

Products returned to the seller are often sent to a landfill. Dans le meilleur des cas, returns are repackaged and resold, at least at a discounted price. Companies like REI and Patagonia have programs that not only resell returned items but take gently used items and sell them. If that doesn’t work for your company, vous pouvez également give returned products to a charity, or recycle them.

Give Up Free Returns

Online stores often offer free returns. Shoppers take advantage of that and order more than they planned. If there is nofree returns” option, customers will be more thoughtful and responsible when shopping online.

Don’t Use Large Packaging for Small Products

Online stores often buy standard-sized boxes in batches and fill the empty space with packing materials when shipping products. That increases the amount of solid waste. Even if you are using sustainable materials, it is always better to use less.

Write Detailed Product Descriptions

Detailed descriptions and high-quality photos help businesses reduce the number of returns. The more accurate the description, the higher the chance that a customer will be satisfied with their purchase.

Plus: Comment écrire les descriptions de produits qui se vendent

Ship Orders in Bundles

Eco-conscious shoppers might be ready to wait for their order a bit longer if it helps to reduce their carbon footprint. Instead of shipping orders separately, ship several orders in bundles.

Deliver Orders on the First Try

Deliver orders when a customer is guaranteed to be home, or arrange a pickup option. You can also ask customers to enter a “backup” address in case they are not at home when their package arrives (par exemple, an address of their neighbor who’s always at home). This helps reduce the carbon output from having to drive to the house over and over again to deliver the customer’s package.

Sell Eco-Friendly Products

Some examples are: recycled products, items made from natural and renewable materials (such as natural fibers, Liège, l'argile, or flowers), previously owned clothes, or cosmetics made of natural products. All of these are popular with eco-conscious shoppers, and will reduce the impact of your business on the planet.

Héros d'hibiscus clothes are made with plant based fabrics and dyed in colors extracted from plants, fleurs, graines et écorces

Plus: 15 Eco-Friendly Hot Idées de produit à vendre en ligne

Avoid Greenwashing

Greenwashing is when a business uses marketing to deceive customers into believing that a brand’s products and policies are eco-friendly when they are not. Au lieu de cela, be transparent and share your sustainability plans with your consumers.

Here’s an example of greenwashing: in the 1980s, the oil company Chevron launched thePeople Do” programme with the message that it was committed to leaving nature untouched. Dans le même temps, the company was illegally dumping waste in wildlife habitats.

Let customers know how shopping in your store affects the environment. Consumers are more well-versed in eco-friendly practices than ever. If they find out that your claims aboutnatural” et “ecoproducts or practices aren’t true, they will choose the more eco-friendly option. And your reputation will be damaged.

It can be hard to switch to being eco-friendly. But there’s no doubt that online businesses need to become more sustainable. The changes won’t happen overnight, but implementing a sustainability strategy should be a priority. Consumers will ultimately be impressed that you have a plan to become environmentally friendly, even if your business isn’t perfectly carbon-neutral.

Companies that become more sustainable are also more likely to make a profit. More and more shoppers care about the environment, and the trend of choosing eco-friendly online stores will only increase. Maintenant, it’s time to make a sustainability plan for your online store! Or maybe you already have one?


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A propos de l'auteur

Anastasia Prokofieva est un écrivain de contenu à Ecwid. Elle écrit sur le marketing en ligne et de promotion à de sensibiliser les entrepreneurs routine quotidienne plus facile et plus gratifiant. Elle a aussi un faible pour les chats, chocolat, et de faire Kombucha à la maison.

Ecommerce that has your back

So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Facile à utiliser, abordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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