Starting a Sustainable E-commerce Business
These days, many entrepreneurs are starting online businesses. It is a great idea because you can work from the comfort of your home, enjoy a good work-life balance, and easily communicate with people around the world. If you really want to make an impact, then consider starting a sustainable e-commerce business. This is a fantastic way to give back to the world that has given so much to us, and your customers will appreciate your efforts.
If you are in the planning phase of your new business, then there are many ideas that you should consider as far as how to set up your office, produce your products, and ship them out, all while staying eco-friendly. Below are a few great ideas to consider.
When you are thinking about starting a sustainable business, you can make a big difference by selling regular products that are produced with eco-friendly processes. So, that might mean that you sell pottery, clothing, or art prints that are made with recycled materials. Another idea is to research and partner with a supplier or manufacturer that also uses proven sustainable methods to produce your products, so you know that the items you sell are being produced without causing excess waste.
Once you get up and running, you can also keep up your sustainable efforts by only producing the inventory that you know will sell. If you go overboard and produce too much, then a lot of the stock could end up sitting around. If it doesn’t sell, and you throw it away, then it sits in a landfill, and you erase the good you have done.
While helping the planet is enough of a reason to start a sustainable business, an added benefit is the extra money that you could make in the process. These days, more customers than ever are excited about the idea of helping our planet thrive, and many will choose a company based on its sustainability efforts and even pay a higher premium for eco-friendly products.
That is why it is a great idea to mention that you are a sustainable company in your marketing materials, especially when you advertise online. In your ads, mention that you are an eco-friendly company, that your products are made out of 100% recycled materials, or any other points that you think will make an impact. You could have an even better chance of success through modern social media marketing. You can get your green e-commerce business in front of more eyes by taking out paid social ads. These allow you to target the post to a certain audience, which could include people interested in sustainability. Once you get the attention of those customers, they are more likely to refer their friends.
Setting Up Your Home Office
Another serious business sustainability consideration that you will want to make is how you set up your home office and the choices that you can make to eliminate waste and reduce your use of excess electricity. In order to produce that energy, fossil fuels are burned, which produces harmful greenhouse gasses. The less electricity you use, the better.
When it comes to lighting your office, consider the use of energy-efficient LED bulbs that will use less energy and last longer as well. What you really want to do is take advantage of natural light. Place your desk near the windows so you can see your work without needing to turn on the lights. Natural light is also known for increasing productivity so you will be running on all cylinders while helping the planet.
The next step is to go completely paperless. Even if paper can be recycled, there is no point in producing extra waste. You can save and email your messages whenever necessary. It is a wise idea to upload all of your files to the cloud. When you do, you will be able to access your data from anywhere, even if you work outside of the house, and you’ll produce a smaller carbon footprint.
Shipping and Operations
Even if you cannot produce eco-friendly products, you can still remain an eco-friendly company by shipping your items out in sustainable packaging. When it comes to your boxes, consider options other than cardboard, including cornstarch, mushroom, and seaweed. You can also secure your items by using corrugated bubble wrap or recycled paper. Finally, consider sending your products out to customers in smaller packages that are form-fitting to the item, so you don’t waste unnecessary cardboard.
You can also look into offering eco-friendly shipping options to all of your customers. Many of the major mail carriers promote their own sustainable shipping initiatives. FedEx vows to lower its emissions, DHL has its GoGreen plus program, and so on. Advertise that you use those services in your marketing materials to get your customers excited.
Finally, you can eliminate a lot of waste by doing your part to reduce the need for customers to return their items. You can do that by posting high-quality pictures on your website, so customers know exactly what they are buying. You can also add a quick chat option to your website that allows customers to reach out so you can help with their concerns and try to convince them not to return.
As you can see, there are many different ways that you can start and maintain a sustainable e-commerce business. Consider these tips, and you can make a good living while making the world a better place.