28/02/20224 min

6 things merchants are doing to make ecommerce greener

The ecommerce industry is quite profitable, but it’s far from eco-friendly. However, rising concerns about global warming and climate change have led many merchants to take steps to make ecommerce greener as a whole.

Want to join them and draw the eco-friendly crowd to your brand at the same time? Let’s break down six things you can do to make ecommerce greener for your business starting today.

Green Shipping Choices for Customers

One of the first things your ecommerce brand can do to become more eco-friendly is offer green shipping choices to your customers. These days, many consumers are looking to reduce their carbon footprints.

By giving them a choice for slightly more expensive but eco-friendly shipping, you’ll please your target audience and potentially make more money by getting them to return to your business again and again.

The key to this business proposal is not to force green shipping on your customers. Just give them the option instead of standard shipping. In many cases, people will pay a few extra bucks to feel better about getting products shipped to their doors in the first place. Depending on your products and location, you can look into green shipping companies like Green Courier or DPD.

No More Plastic Packaging

Naturally, you can also boost your eco-friendliness by removing plastic packaging from your manufacturing cycle. Instead, invest in paper or recyclable materials, such as wax packaging.

Not only does this green packaging look and feel novel to customers (thus improving the customer experience), but it’ll also reduce the plastic that ends up in landfills. Be sure to extend this philosophy to every part of your packaging process, from individual product wrappers to boxes and more.

Remove Free Returns

Free returns are a staple of the e-commerce industry, but they don’t have to be. Indeed, you should consider removing free returns with a major announcement through an email marketing campaign or on your e-commerce brand website.

Odds are some customers will be upset about this, but if you explain that it’s all for the good of the planet, many more may flock to your brand to shop sustainably. Returns cost most retailers billions of dollars per year, but the US sees about 5 billion pounds of landfill waste created from returns alone.

Explain this to your consumers and break down why returns now cost them money. Include the shipping cost breakdown on your easy-to-understand invoice template and highlight your goal of reducing waste. If many customers in your target audience are still unconvinced about the benefits of this approach, read on – there’s a way to minimize this pain point.

Make Detailed Product Descriptions

A lot of e-commerce returns come from the clothing or personal product industries. You can minimize the need for returns by offering extremely detailed product descriptions, especially for clothes. Make sure that every conceivable detail for your consumers is included in the descriptions of your key offerings.

For clothes specifically, you can add more model photos or even a 3-D interactive preview feature so customers can see what articles may look like on their bodies before they buy.

Ultimately, e-commerce vendors going the extra mile to reduce the need for returns will lead to happier customers and less plastic waste poisoning the planet.

Use Packages for Product Sizes

Many e-commerce brands use the same size box for all their orders, regardless of what’s inside. This is supremely wasteful, even if the boxes in question are made of cardboard or similar recyclable materials.

Instead, you should ship your products to your customers with packages sized properly for the orders. For example, if a customer only purchases one small item, send them a small box. You can consolidate your packages by sending multiple orders in the same shipment if need be. Once the shipment arrives at the courier service you chose, they’ll be responsible for distributing smaller packages to individual customers.

This saves time, money, and the environment all at once – even when shipping internationally!

Don’t Destroy Returns

Lastly, don’t do what Amazon has become infamous for doing and destroy the returns you receive. Instead, take a look at the returned items and see if they can be refurbished or resold. In some cases, you can even sell the returned item for a discount and may still walk away with a slight profit in the process!


It’s up to all of us to save the planet and do our part for the environment. E-commerce merchants like yourself can make a huge difference and make the online shopping industry greener one step at a time. Follow the tips above, and your customers might reward you with increased patronage and profits!

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