Fashion for Eco and Bio, healthy lifestyle and growing social awareness about taking care of the natural environment – these are the trends that are gaining popularity in recent years. They are also reflected in consumer behavior. The e-commerce market follows the customers’ demand and is increasingly proposing nature-friendly solutions. And the form of e-commerce is conducive to ecological solutions.
Statistics show that the main group, interested in ecology, are “young adults”, most often parents, for whom the motivation to care for the environment is the future of their children. Women and people with good material status prefer organic products. This group also includes people with higher education. The group of 45+ and even 65+ consumers who consider ecological aspects while shopping is also growing significantly. According to statistics from the public opinion survey “Attitudes of Europeans towards building the single market for green products”, 77% of Europeans are ready to pay more for a product, if they are ensured about the ecological nature of the product and service. In countries with high economic development, more and more frequent are practices based on corporate social responsibility (CSR) – these are actions aimed at convincing clients to pro-ecological attitudes and limiting the demand for products that have a negative impact on the environment.
Ecology and economics – can it be combined?
Consumers are increasingly perceiving the negative impact of some shopping choices on the environment. The biggest players, in the world of commerce, have already noticed this relationship and are trying to convince customers, e.g. by offering environmentally friendly packaging. More and more companies are decreasing the use of plastic in their service. Global brands joined this movement, such as Ikea, who declared to eliminate all one-use plastic from there sales. Another example is Adidas, who is planning to produce all their shoe line from recycled plastic. This is not only a wise marketing move but also a financial calculation. In the long run, nature-friendly solutions bring real savings and also build a positive image of the company. In surveys carried out on behalf of the European Commission in 2012, 80% of respondents indicated that they prefer services and products of companies that care about ecology.
You do not have to be a market giant to join the pro-ecological activities. Alternatives to plastics are widely available and do not require much investment. It is worth, for example, replacing bubble wrap with recycled grey paper, or styrofoam with a biodegradable dropper. Instead of the usual foil tape for securing parcels, you can choose the paper one. Product packaging and parcels should be made of recyclable or biodegradable raw materials. Cardboard boxes, cardboard, wood wool – there are many options. However, remember that such a change does not have to be a complete revolution in your business – start at least by optimizing the use of materials.
However, it does not stop on the packaging. Some companies are beginning to introduce “ecological policy” to present themselves to their customers as an ecologically aware brands. Declarations on minimizing exhaust emissions in the logistics process, recycling, minimizing the number of sales documents printed, or using ‘green’ energy sources – those are popular steps. It is a commendable attitude to offer in the store the products, which were produced in an ethical way, and are sourced from reliable producers. Many brands informs about reducing water use in their production. Some companies also engage in charity support for ecology. An example is the Swedish Fjällräven, which a few years ago actively engaged in the protection of polar foxes. An example from Polish market is action led by bottled water producer Żywiec Zdrój, who in the campaign “On nature side”, together with National Forests planted 6 million trees.
However, it is worth being honest in such activities. There were also companies that used the pro-ecological attitudes of consumers only for their own profit – raising prices but only pretend to care for the environment. This type of manipulation, known as “greenwashing”, mislead the recipient, offering only the illusion of an “eco-friendly” solution. Such behavior is not worth duplicating.
Whether it’s a temporary trend or a sincere concern for the planet – being eco pays off. In addition to the obvious reason for caring for the future of the environment, this is also a positive message for customers. A brand that is socially aware and respects nature has positive associations. It is worth considering implementing these suggestions in the life of your e-business.