Environmentally Friendly Retailers: How This is Changing E-Commerce
Going green is just one of the many ways that companies are starting to make waves in the shifting e-commerce landscape. It gives back to the planet, improves the lifestyles of people, and differentiates your brand in a market that seems to be built only for profit. Let’s take a look at how companies can be environmentally friendly. We’ll show you a list of 5 companies that have captured our hearts (and often our clothing) with their missions and gorgeous e-commerce websites.
How to Be Environmentally Friendly
Some companies make products in ways that reduce carbon-footprints, encourage people to live more ecologically friendly lives, and don’t add waste. Others, like Microsoft, do some of those things but also give back massive amounts of their profits to green initiatives and offset productions to a net carbon-neutral state. Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012.
Companies can look internally at their own products, procedures, and buying practices. If those things can be made greener and more eco-friendly, then the company is improving the environment. But, companies should also look externally, to see how they can give or participate in movements that help reduce global warming and the destruction of our planet’s resources.
There’s a huge opportunity for green businesses to begin to win the search engine games. Use a search engine optimization solution to begin to figure out how to capture the dollars and clicks of people who are looking for companies that are doing good in the world.
Environmentally Friendly Retailers
Patagonia started as a small company that made quality tools for climbers, and has expanded into a massive active- and granola-wear brand that has captured the hearts of a generation through their branding and environmentally friendly mission. Patagonia wants you to buy less and use more, so they create products that last a long time and have created repair centers where they will fix your old Patagonia clothing, free of charge. If you’re starting an ecommerce business from scratch, be encouraged that the right mission and message can really connect with people and grow a company from climbing gear to a brand name and industry leader in eco-friendly products.
They want to help people connect to the environment, and they also want to save it. They build fashion products that last and are used for a lifetime, have donated millions to grassroots environmental movements, and are constantly working to reduce their footprint and to get others to care about the environment.
Part of being an “environmentally friendly retailer” means that you do a lot of good for the world out there. Seventh Generation extends that mission to do a lot of good for the world in here, the world in our homes. It’s no secret that cleaning chemicals can be damaging for both the environment at large and the small ecosystems of our homes. They can irritate the skin, cause the air to feel artificial, and leave your house feeling unnatural.
From baby products to home cleaning products, Seventh Generation is making products that are good for us and good for the planet.
As the people at Impossible Foods recognize, meat is a great thing, but the meat industry is destroying the planet. Animal agriculture for the production of meat occupies a ton of space, consumes massive amounts of water per pound of meat, and takes far more food to produce than the amount of meat that is produced. It’s a wasteful process. But then again, late-night burgers and hot dogs at the sports complex are great traditions.
Impossible Foods is making meat using plants, and along with related companies like Beyond Meat, they’re helping reduce the destruction that the world’s meat appetite causes. And these companies aren’t just darlings of the eco-friendly landscape, they also have huge earning potentials.
Cosmetics brands have an infamous relationship with sustainability, from the production techniques to the products used, there have been wasteful and chemically dangerous practices in the industry from product to face. But that is turning, and Lush Cosmetics is poised at the front of that turn with natural products. They are outspoken about social issues and back those issues with charitable giving.
They don’t use animal testing. They use fresh ingredients, are 100% vegetarian, and repackage makeup so it doesn’t end up in landfills. Lush is a green e-commerce brand that has committed to its values, and quickly gained a following who agrees with them.
The clothing and fashion brand Everlane is primarily an e-commerce retailer and has built a brand off of the principle that you should make great clothing in ethical ways that last a long time. Resisting a lot of fast-fashion’s destructive trend hopping practices, Everlane makes classics and makes them well.
They tell the stories of where they get materials. They use ethical factories and ethically sourced materials and tell you exactly how much everything costs at every step of the way. They make sure that the factories use good hours and fair wages, and build relationships with those factories to make sure that the standards are maintained.
Advice for Retailers
You may not be able to change your entire business overnight, or completely switch the factories that you source goods from. But here are two ways that you can begin to make practical changes in your e-commerce brand, immediately.
If you take a good look at those 5 companies, you’ll realize that they do more than just give back, they also get people excited about their eco-friendly brand. It’s great to do things for the environment, but it’s also great to get people excited about what you do for the environment so that you can sell more products and do more things for the environment. Today’s consumers are starting to really care about who makes their products, where it comes from, and how it impacts the world. They care about the images of the companies that they buy from and hold stock in. Branding green changes the way you run content marketing, because it gives you a new mission and new way to connect with consumers.
The companies on our list above know this and have made efforts to not only do things that help but also to generate excitement around those eco-friendly programs. Talking about how your product or company cares about the environment might help to differentiate your content on Amazon. Use the companies above as examples of how to do that. You don’t want to preach and you don’t want to give negative statements. Be positive and succinct. You won’t convince people of climate change or the need for ethical products--if they already care about those things, then simply connect your product to the solution.
Honesty and Authenticity
All five of the companies on our list have a certain level of honesty and authenticity. In a world where consumers are beginning to distrust the practices and procedures of larger companies, a level of honesty is key to building and maintaining a relationship with eco-conscious consumers.
Companies like Everlane give a point-by-point breakdown of price metrics to show exactly how much it cost them to make the product and exactly how much they mark it up by. Keep in mind that Everlane is a semi-luxury brand, and so they’re still selling t-shirts for $150 on a $100 markup above the $50 creation price. It seems like that kind of honesty could cut profits, but in fact, it can be a great strategy to help you price your product as an online seller.
Stay consistent and authentic with the branding of your eco-friendly products. Sending a message of honesty and authenticity through your branding, pricing and product information is a great way to build trust in your brand and target consumers who are also jumping on the environmentally friendly bandwagon.