Sustainability in online shopping: What consumers pay attention to while shopping online
Environmentally friendly shipping options
A commendable development is emerging in sustainable shipping options. If they had the choice, 86% of Germans would rather choose environmentally friendly shipping. However, for the two thirds of the respondents, shipping price is an important factor. Cost-cautions consumers see additional costs for environmentally friendly shipping unfavourable and would rather opt for standard “free shipping” option. On the other hand, more than one in five Germans is willing to pay more if it helps to protect the environment. According to the respondents, the surcharge, though, should not be more than 5%. Climate neutral shipping solutions are offered by DHL GoGreen, DPD Total Zero or GLS ThinkGreen, for example, with whom we are also working together.
Even though it is important to offer express delivery for some product categories, as an online retailer you should know that it is not ecological. By doing so, you show your customers that you are paying attention to this topic and thus additionally strengthen your brand.
Avoiding packaging waste
Besides using sustainable and recyclable materials for the packaging and opting for climate neutral shipping options, e-commerce businesses can also optimize their waste management – by completely eliminating packaging waste. In the light of this endeavour it is important to note that almost all online shoppers from Germany already pay close attention to packaging and are waste-cautious. Therefore, using renewable materials and reducing the packaging waste to minimum, is the new standard and brands need to address this if they wish to appeal to their consumers.
Many of us grew up with the terms “reduce, reuse, recycle” in our vocabulary. Nowadays, it’s important for your business to reflect those same values. Not only to help the environment, but also to increase brand loyalty among environmentally conscious customers. This can be achieved, for example, by using recycled material.
The implementation of sustainable packaging requires some research. You have to find out which packaging design can best represent your brand. An example would be Sheyn, a Vienna-based jewellery studio specialising in simple but elegant design. For shipping, Sheyn uses an eco-dispatch box that is made of 80% recycled material. This transfers the unique design to the packaging and in return the customer has an unforgettable unboxing experience based on environmentally friendly packaging. A sustainable packaging design that emphasizes reusability can positively influence the brand loyalty of your customers.
Another example for stationary retailers would be to design your packaging with a different purpose in mind.
For example, H&M has a shopping bag that turns into a clothes hanger. These bags not only consist of less material than the traditional plastic bag from H&M, 80% of the paper used is recycled. H&M is aware that its customers are people between the ages of 18 and 35 who care about the environment and appreciate reusable packaging solutions. Therefore, sustainable packaging design that focuses on reusability, increases their audience’s brand loyalty. To find out more about the science behind the sustainable packaging and examples of best practices, read Packhelp’s article on the topic.
Managing deliveries and returns
If your customer is not at home a lot or does not have a neighbor to accept the deliveries, orders are often returned directly back to the store. To avoid repeated delivery attempts, you could, for example, reroute your deliveries to a packstation.
In addition, you should also raise your consumer’s awareness to approach individual returns and act responsibly. To avoid returns, the information in your online shop should be as clear as possible: Fashion colours should be translated into clearly understandable language, size specifications should be more detailed. Taupe turns light grey, nude into beige or skin tones, the words “is larger” or “is rather tight” really work amazing for clothing. Technology becomes more accessible for customers through the explanation of functions and any faults that occur.
Using descriptive and understandable terminology also has useful side-effects on your SEO – search engine algorithms have more information to work with, meaning that the results lists of customer’s queries become more varied and the “grey jacket” also appears when searching for “blouson in taupe”.