Does ecommerce have the power — or at least the potential — to change the world for the good? To become a positive force for sustainable and environmentally-friendly growth?
The answers hold lucrative keys to unlocking greater growth and building stronger brand loyalty. In one survey 88% of respondents wanted brands to help customers become more environmentally friendly and ethical in everyday life. And when asked whether these values of green business and good ethics matter more now than a year ago, 56% of respondents agreed.
And the moment in which we are living in is particularly pertinent to these questions. Because ecommerce has spiked since the pandemic and continues putting it foot down on the accelerator — meaning more trucks and vans and other transportation it takes for our packages to reach our front doors.
Much like Kermit and Shrek, being green has a lot of value, and is increasinging a win-win-win: a win for customers who feel better buying from brands that are committed to being green; a win for brands that benefit from the increasing demand from customers to do so; and ultimately a win for Mother Nature who is exposed to less destruction and damage.
A commitment to sustainability and doing things green is thus a competitive advantage. But rolling out a green strategy can be complex. Working with a standard ecommerce platform is going to make implementing and managing things a whole lot more complicated, because simple platforms weren’t built for complexity. The most robust platforms that provide the powers of personalization, customization, and smooth integration of other cloud-based platforms, like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, were built for such a task.
Growing greener operations
Here we outline six points of the business process that may benefit from a green injection. And with each one, there is no huge pivot or large-scale disruption. It’s more of a spring clean operation, removing the excess and getting it in better shape.
1. Cleaner supply chains
Most businesses can only be in business with the cooperation of other businesses. Assess the relationships within your supply chain and parallel them with your declared green goals. Do your suppliers set out their own sustainability goals? Are they making an effort to limit any environmentally negative consequences of their own business? If you’re unsure of the answers, sit down and talk with them. And become aware of alternative suppliers that do focus efforts on limiting their environmental impact.
2. Organize the order management
All of your inventory, all of your shipping, all of your delivery capabilities are managed in your order management system. Organizing this section can clean up a lot of waste. Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s order management system, called Lightning Order Management, was built from the ground up and designed to provide efficient and personalized data that includes real-time inventory status.
3. Different deliveries
Lockdown measures have meant that companies have had to experiment and expand alternative delivery options. One of these includes curbside pickup — or buy online and pick up in-store. If things remain much the same, then this option is going to be fundamental for the holiday season. Yet in terms of environmental impact, curbside allows you to reduce the amount of packaging, for example by placing all items into one basket or with no plastic bags.
4. Sealed sustainably
The plastic problem is of major concern for consumers, who in one recent poll found that 92% of them would prefer a plastic-free option to package their goods. And so alternatives such as paper packaging will provide consumers with the products they want inside the packaging they want.
Be open with your customers about your supply chain in order to strengthen trust and build loyalty. What are your product materials? What is the manufacturing process? Be open with them on your website and include where your material is sourced, the production process, working conditions at worksites, whether your products are recyclable or cruelty-free, plus any initiative or project that your brand has in promoting or practicing sustainability.
6. Keep up communication
Ensure that the transparency that you provide on your website is communicated prominently through your dispersed social media channels. And enforce them on product pages as well as at checkout.
As mentioned before, rolling out a green strategy can be complex. Fortunately there are top-class Salesforce Commerce Cloud integrators that are intimately acquainted with the platform, and have carried out projects for some of the most well-known brands in the world!