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Sustainable eCommerce is practising online retail in a way that natural resources are not exhausted. It aims to satisfy the needs of the current and next generation of consumers who are more and more focused on social and environmental responsibility.

But why is sustainability important for eCommerce businesses in 2023?

It comes down to your customers – 64% of consumers feel sustainability is important when making purchasing decisions. With consumers having all the power and ability to choose where they shop from, the future of eCommerce focuses on online retail businesses doing their part to combat environmental issues. Consumers are eagle-eyed, paying close attention to how businesses conduct themselves and deciding if they deem them to be ethical and sustainable. The consequence of not being an ‘eco-brand’ could be huge, with 79% of consumers willing to switch to a brand that is more environmentally friendly. As a result, there is an increased demand for sustainable business resources across marketing, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution.

Consumer behaviours reflect the need for businesses to adapt their methods, as 73% of global consumers say they would change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. Gen Z’s 11-year-old to 26-year-old demographic is labelled as the most environmentally conscious consumer group and makes up 40% of the global consumer demographic for eCommerce businesses. There is a clear need for B2C eCommerce Businesses to adopt more sustainable processes, however it’s important to do this in a genuine way or risk being accused of greenwashing.

What is greenwashing?

Consumers can see when brands are authentically adapting their processes to become environmentally aware, and when they are just joining the trend. Greenwashing refers to brands that increase expenses to appear environmentally friendly, such as through campaigning to be an eco-brand, rather than actually working to reduce their environmental impact. When executed well, sustainability strategies help strengthen your brand, build trust, and encourage customer loyalty.

To serve the modern consumer and keep up with competitors, B2B eCommerce businesses need to be sensitive to shopper concerns and needs. Brands need to adapt to the new consumer who is environmentally conscious and show that they too hold sustainable, environmental, and responsible values. It is vital to understand what being sustainable means to your consumers and to your business, and then reflect this in your business activities.

How can you do this?

Manufacturing: Switch to recycled materials and products, invest in wider initiatives that promote and support climate change education, or utilise carbon offsetting measures.

Marketing: Network with other sustainable businesses, promote a change in materials, or launch a sustainability campaign.

Operations: Utilise AI and automation technologies that allow businesses to streamline their processes, reduce their environmental impact and optimise their supply chains.

B2C eCommerce businesses are facing a growing need to adapt their operations to address climate issues. By investing in sustainable resources and practices, businesses can save money in the long run while reducing their environmental footprint and creating greater connections with their customers, turning them into loyal brand ambassadors.

Save the planet, save your sales.

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