There was a time when businesses weren’t as concerned with how their practices impacted the longevity of our planet. But now that we’re seeing the detrimental effects of neglecting our responsibility to preserve the world, individuals and businesses make a conscious effort to turn things around.
Sustainability is a prominent topic in every kind of business across all industries. Especially the eCommerce industry. Ecommerce businesses can find profound value in implementing sustainable practices.
Sustainability is valuable for our planet and future generations and on a company and customer level. Here are four sustainability practices and their value in eCommerce operations.
Automated Assembly Lines and Other Smart Manufacturing
This first sustainability practice is all about automation and smart technology. Automation tools help with efficiency, while smart technology reduces energy use and harmful emissions in the world.
A great example of the use of automation is in data science and business analytics. Data science is defined as “The way digital information is collected, interpreted, and processed to make critical business decisions.” And business analytics is defined as “The solution that uses data mining strategies and predictive analytics to assist in the analysis and transformation of information.”
In other words, data science collects, analyzes, and interprets data, while business analytics takes this data and uses it to make business decisions that better the entire company. Each of which can be put on autopilot.
In addition, smart technology is often used in manufacturing plants and fulfillment centers to make better use of energy, materials, and time. For example, robotic arms operate actual machinery, and automated assembly lines label, sort, and organize faster.
Putting this sustainable practice to use in your eCommerce business benefits your customers by minimizing the impact of human error.
Additionally, it helps your company streamline repetitive processes and reduce the amount of energy you use each day in your warehouse or the harmful emissions given off by your equipment.
While smart manufacturing technology and automation tools help reduce harmful emissions, businesses are also looking for ways to reduce waste with their sustainability efforts.
Rigid Recycling and Other Efforts to Reduce Waste
One of the easiest ways to start on a path to a primarily sustainable operation is to focus on reducing waste. Many businesses are doing this by:
- Implementing a rigid recycling practice so the waste that they do have can be reused
- Choosing vendors and other partners that are also committed to reducing waste
- Using ethically sourced, organic, and recyclable materials for products
- Using sustainable packaging
Lots of waste can be accumulated in an e-commerce business if you aren’t careful. For example, ordering too much of the toxic materials used in the production process and being unable to discard them responsibly. Or using a vendor that doesn’t use sustainable packaging, leaving you with the burden of trying to get rid of it without harming our environment.
So, an intentional effort to reduce waste within your eCommerce business can help reduce costs associated with excess waste. Also, your customers will be happy that the products they get from you can be reused and recycled instead of added to the island of trash in the ocean.
In addition to reducing harmful things like emissions and waste, eCommerce businesses are also increasing the use of good green stuff in their sustainability efforts.
Using Green Office Products
Another popular sustainability practice is using green office products. Businesses aren’t just focused on making the big sustainability transformations. They understand how even the smallest practices influence the health and longevity of our planet.
So, they’re using green cleaning products that get the job done without harsh chemicals and pollutants. They’re buying pens, Post-It notes, paper, and other office supplies from companies committed to sustainability. Furniture made from recyclable materials fills the office. And one-use products are replaced with reusable ones.
All of these things can and should be a part of your eCommerce warehouse or office space. Your company can confidently walk the walk of sustainability with the daily use of eco-friendly office products. And any customers who visit your warehouse or office space will be encouraged by the fact that your sustainability commitments go all the way down to the pens and paper you use in the office.
Many businesses are also practicing sustainability in the behind-the-scenes work of running a business. And that brings us to our last sustainability practice.
Incorporating Sustainability Commitments into Marketing
Sustainability practices are easy to see in smart manufacturing technology, rigid recycling systems, or green office products. But they’re also used in the parts of a business that aren’t recognized on a day-to-day basis, like marketing. Businesses incorporate sustainability commitments into their marketing strategies through the vehicles they use for their tactics and in the content they share.
For example, many businesses use digital marketing tactics like social media, email, and video marketing to further their sustainability commitments. Although digital marketing is said to use quite a bit of energy in the software and tools used, it’s better for the environment than offline marketing strategies like posters, flyers, and billboards. Also, businesses talk about their sustainability efforts in blog posts, social media posts, short videos, and so forth to deepen their customer relationships based on this shared value.
So, incorporating sustainability commitments into your marketing efforts for your eCommerce business can eliminate waste accumulated through traditional or offline marketing tactics. It also makes your brand more attractive to millennials who have millions in buying power and lead the sustainability movement and other environmentally conscious consumers.
Ultimately, the above sustainability practices are popular with businesses because they positively influence customer relationships and company processes. And eCommerce businesses can leverage these practices for operational and customer-related benefits as well.