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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
There’s no doubt that eCommerce leaves an environmental footprint.
Worldwide eCommerce sales have steadily climbed, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, they experienced an even bigger rise.
The result? By 2019, eCommerce sales hit $26.7 trillion (up 4% from the previous year). Add to that consumer expectations of next-day delivery, and you have an industry whose transport systems are groaning with strain.
So much so that in 2021, several retail industry groups representing 65 million transport workers wrote an open letter to the UN heads of state, stating that if eCommerce sales continue at such levels, worldwide transport systems will collapse. Needless to say, the environmental impact of deliveries is significant.
Not only that, but there's also the CO2 emissions from packaging plastics to consider. Just 14% of the 86 million tons of plastic packaging produced yearly is recycled!
Other environmental factors worth noting include CO2 emissions from shipping and returns, with estimates showing that by 2030, the number of delivery vehicles needed will rise by 36%, leading to a rise of about 6 million tonnes of CO2.
With so much doom and gloom, it begs the question: Is sustainable eCommerce possible?
Continue reading as we explore what eCommerce entrepreneurs can do to reduce their carbon footprint.
But first, let's take a gander at the consumer response to eCommerce's environmental impact:
Several reports suggest that consumers are waking up to the impact of their shopping habits, with one stating that 47% of internet users worldwide have stopped using products and services from brands whose values don't align with their own, particularly where protecting the environment is concerned.
A further analysis found that 84% of shoppers felt that a company’s poor environmental practices would put them off a brand.
Eco-friendly eCommerce practices are rising, with 75% of businesses making sustainable packaging commitments.
Not only that, but a few big names, including Nike, Garnier, and Patagonia, now use recycled materials in their manufacturing. Smaller brands often follow suit when influential names like these set the standards. So, we predict these changes will have a positive trickle-down effect - and entrepreneurs using dropshipping are no exception.
For example, large and small sellers utilizing the dropshipping fulfillment model can commit to using suppliers with robust environmental practices and ethics.
In addition, they can choose to work with dropshipping platforms that connect them with suppliers closer to their customer base, ergo reducing carbon emissions from deliveries.
For example, Spocket enables you to filter for products produced by suppliers based in the USA or the EU, and each product listing has a flag on it, representing where the supplier is based. This makes sourcing suppliers closer to your customers a breeze!
Now we’ve seen the consumer demand for brands adopting eco-friendly practices, let’s explore how dropshipping businesses can focus more on sustainability:
Pro Tip: You can find ethical dropshipping products like this in Spocket's product catalog. Just type “eco-friendly” into the search bar to produce these kinds of results.
To further demonstrate your commitment to running a green dropshipping business, you could work with suppliers with recognized eco-certifications and make this known on your website.
Examples of sustainable certifications include:
Needless to say, adopting eco-friendly business practices is the right thing to do for our planet. However, there are a few other benefits:
If you’re entirely green to sustainable eCommerce (pardon the pun!), you may face a few hurdles in implementing new practices. To help overcome said challenges, below we’ll look at some of the most common stumbling blocks, as well as their practical solutions:
Solution: Work with a dropshipping supplier platform like Spocket that connects you with suppliers all around the world - there’s a good chance you’ll find suppliers closer to your customers, reducing delivery distances.
Spocket also provides a range of eco-friendly products from US and EU suppliers. For example, reusable nappies and phone cases made from biodegradable materials.
On top of that, Spocket integrates with AliExpress via its AliScraper tool. A cursory glance at AliExpress tells us you can access eco-friendly suppliers offering products in a multitude of categories, including natural brushes, reusable bags, and more.
Depending on the kinds of eco-friendly products you want to sell, you might have to store them in a temperature-controlled environment - for example, beauty products.
Solution: Work with a dropshipping supplier that takes care of warehousing and shipping on your behalf. That way, you don’t have to worry about managing heat-sensitive products.
Solution: Use storytelling to sell to customers. In other words, tell them the story behind your products, such as where the ingredients come from, what materials are used, how the products are sustainably sourced, what your suppliers do to align with your eco-friendly values, etc.
Use this technique to flesh out your ‘About’ page and product descriptions, peppering in keywords to read naturally. Not only does this kind of copywriting engage readers, but when done well, it can be great for SEO, too!
Before leaping in and selling eco-friendly dropshipping products, it’s essential to do your research before committing to your niche.
Solution: Use Google Trends to pinpoint popular products. Similarly, you can see what’s trending on your chosen dropshipping platform’s product catalog and cross-reference them to see if they’re eco-friendly. For example, Spocket has a ‘best seller’ filter you can use to view its top-performing products.
To provide some inspiration for your own sustainable eCommerce endeavors, here are a few examples of companies leading the way in eco-friendly dropshipping:
Last but not least, we’ll wrap this blog post up by looking to the future. What are the trends in sustainable e-commerce? Let’s take a look at a few examples:
The statistics mentioned above tell us that consumers are looking for and are happy to pay more for sustainable products. Aside from millennials, 75% of Gen Z shoppers consider sustainability more important than a brand name.
In light of these preferences, it’s predicted that a circular economy centered around manufacturing, consuming, and re-using products to minimize or reduce excessive waste will thrive.
A few big brands are already facilitating this. For example, IKEA plans to be fully circular by 2030 by creating a product buyback and resale system and only creating furniture made from waste materials.
Other trends include the rise in popularity of particular eco-friendly products. For example:
Hopefully, this blog post demonstrates the importance of adopting eco-friendly dropshipping practices, namely selling environmentally friendly products, implementing more sustainable business operations, and marketing to consumers keen to easily access more sustainable products.
One of the easiest ways to introduce greener eCommerce into your business is to work with eco-friendly dropshipping suppliers.
This is where Spocket can lend a hand. Spocket makes it easy to source suppliers close to your customers, which can considerably reduce your carbon footprint. There are also plenty of eco-friendly products listed on Spocket’s product catalog that you can sell on your store!
Once you’ve adopted more sustainable practices, tell customers about them. Make it known on your website and marketing collateral that you’re adopting greener practices. It’s crucial to actively demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
For example, using recycled packaging, selling products made from natural materials, going paperless, recycling materials, etc. Whatever you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint, make it public!
That’s all from us, over to you. Are you ready to work with Spocket’s eco-friendly suppliers? Try us for free!
Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.