There has been considerable pressure over the last few years for companies to make online shopping more environmentally friendly. The main concerns focus on packaging, delivery and return emissions and the material that goods are manufactured from. As wealth passes to younger generations, sustainability becomes an increasing opportunity and responsibility for businesses. 28% of consumers have stopped buying certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns.
Retailers have a great opportunity to realise and endorse sustainability in their production, packaging, and messaging, as well as in their delivery methods.
Returns processes and reducing returns
Returned products have some of the biggest impacts on the environment within the e-commerce space. Every product that is returned is shipped twice and has the potential to waste packaging, all for no actual utility.
PIM Systems can have a huge impact on reducing returns. If companies provide more accurate and transparent product information, consumers are less likely to order something they don’t want or that doesn’t suit them (sizing, colour, etc).
Many couriers now offer carbon-neutral or reduced-carbon shipping. While it may not be possible to completely offset the environmental effects of shipping, it is important to offer the option to reduce them. Consumers are often willing to pay more for greener shipping and this can be factored into your company’s prices.
Excess packaging causes a huge amount of waste. 64% of UK customers want brands to commit to better schemes to remove plastics and packaging. In fact, 34% of UK customers would even be willing to pay more for businesses to produce sustainable packaging and adopt circular practices.
Examining the supply chain
There are several things you can consider within your own supply chain that affect the impact your business has on the environment. How environmentally friendly are your products themselves and their components? How much transport is involved in getting the components or goods to you? Specialised packaging, refrigeration, etc. can also have harmful effects on the environment.
Being honest with customers
One of the key things a PIM system can aid within your sustainability efforts is being more transparent with customers. Your customers can make more informed choices with accurate and up-to-date product data provided. Furthermore, if your company is really sustainable, it is great to promote this and provide rich detail on your practices and distribute this information across all of your platforms - something PIM specialises in!