With the digital revolution in full swing, internet retailing has become the business of choice for many entrepreneurs. Amazon, eBay and ASOS are a few of the leading names in the industry, and with the low start-up costs and overheads, it is something that everyone should consider.
By sharing some creative ideas to make running your e-business greener, I can help you become a super player in the industry without destroying world. Hopefully, these four little snippets will make you feel good about your business and your bank balance!
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs do things that others before them didn’t. We have all had that ‘why didn’t I think of that’ feeling, when someone makes a huge amount of money from the most simple idea.
With your business, could you offer your customers or clients something with less packaging? With less materials? Digital form instead of physical? If you can find a little niche area that you can exploit you can undercut your competition and take advantage of your innovation. Examine new digital industries and see if you can use any of the lessons and utilise them in your own trade.
If you could offer your customers something that will save them money, or enable them to save money, they will be very interested. With the internet making ‘perfect competition’ less of an economists day dream, people will constantly compare prices and more often than not, the decision to purchase online will be solely based on price.
Start looking at “eco-friendly” as an opportunity, not a threat and how it can help your business grow into something new, not a copy of something else.
It is likely that you will have a lot of cardboard and packaging coming in and out of your business and one of the most simple ways you can ensure your business is more green is by using eco-friendly packaging.
Try to re-use your boxes where and when you can. It’s understandable that you may not be able to send your high value coat in an old fruit basket, but taking a realistic approach can save you money and save the earth.
Packaging retailers such as Rajapack offer low-cost green wrappers and packages for everything from bonsai trees to mobile phones. Buying in bulk will save you even more. There really is no reason not to go green with your boxes!
Do you employees all drive to work in separate cars? Encourage carpooling, and maybe reward/ bribe them for their efforts by taking them out for dinner. It sounds bizarre but this is almost like a team building exercise, encouraging your employees to spend time together outside of work will build their relationships and encourage a more creative and collaborative workplace.
Another popular option is encouraging bike schemes. Many countries offer tax breaks for people buying bikes to use for commuting. Why not have annual events where you take the afternoon off and go for a bike ride or picnic?
Many people don’t think green is fun, but more often than not it is. It doesn’t mean everyone has to become a green dictator, but offering gentle pushes towards a more sustainable way to get to work will be rewarded by a happier workforce.
Be known for green
If you are a small or medium sized business, you are likely to be looking for ways to increase your brand awareness and how to market yourself successfully. By combining your green ethos with your marketing budget, you can really stand out.
I personally think that the “our business is green” mentality falls on deaf ears to consumers. Anyone can claim to be green and usually it isn’t tangible so your customers can’t see what you are actively doing to be environmentally friendly.
Why not buy a big green delivery van, and call it that? Delivery is likely to be a big cost to your online business, especially if you sell large items. Buy an environmentally friendly van, pain it green, put your logo on it and customers who are not on the internet will see your brand and how you are making a difference first hand.
This is a great way to get some PR, and really boost your marketing with something that will help your business. Give it a go!
Hopefully these four simple steps will help you or give you some of your own ideas to make your business green. I would love to hear about any other creative ways to encourage a green e-commerce business, so get in touch!
Written by Jonathan Dempster who studied Economics and is interested in how technology can be used to make workplaces more environmentally friendly.