Sustainability is here to stay - three factors shoppers care about

4 minute read

Every consumer has a little bit of green in them.

Eco shoppers are no longer a fringe subset of your shopper base. Many of the concerns of those early adopters are now reflected in shoppers from every walk of life.

For some, that might mean they are concerned about excessive packaging. For others, reducing their carbon footprint might top their list. From ethical sourcing, to shipping practices and even organizational values – the factors are numerous. While few might care about all of these; research shows shoppers are increasingly concerned about one or more.

As ecommerce continues to accelerate, sustainability will grow increasingly important to Canadians – and that means pressure on your brand to respond in a meaningful way or risk losing their business.

Through our exclusive insights, you’ll gain an understanding of what shoppers care about when it comes to sustainability. We’ll offer tips for how you can look inwards at your own operations to see what you can do to be more sustainable throughout the ecommerce journey.

Here are three sustainability considerations shoppers are watching closely:

1. What your brand says about its values

Shoppers expect brands to stand for something and articulate their brand purpose from the first time they interact.

Footnote 1: 52% will shop more with retailers that operate sustainably.Footnote 2: 43% will shop more with retailers who promote an environmental cause. Footnote 3: 51% will shop more often with retailers that offer environmentally friendly products.
This means they’re evaluating your brand beyond the products you offer and instead they’re looking for a brand that they’ll feel proud to support. Leveraging your owned channels like your website, social media and shopper touchpoints can be a great way to help articulate your purpose and what defines you as a brand.

Discover how Cheekbone Beauty weaves a lofty goal of zero waste through its operations.

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2. If you pack with care and concern

Packaging waste is a key priority for shoppers when considering the environmental impact of their online purchases. Research shows that shoppers are looking to reduce shipping waste and are willing to wait longer for shipping that is more sustainable.
Footnote 4: 45% will choose a retailer if they make an effort to reduce shipping waste.Footnote 5: 56% prefer retailers ship all items at once to reduce packaging, even if it means waiting longer. Footnote 6: 63% are upset when retailers use excessive or unnecessary packaging when shipping purchases.
Two big ways to make a difference: More environmentally friendly packaging and more strategic use of your packaging to limit excessive use.

Increase recycled content with your packaging and fillers or consider testing reusable packaging with companies like RePack or Quil.

When it comes to pick-and-pack, it’s all about using the right sized boxes and sending one complete order in one package. To better manage your orders, have different box sizes on hand that work best for your top sellers and products that are usually bundled.

3. How you travel the final mile

Shoppers care about the final mile and how you work with your shipping partner to keep emissions low.
Footnote 7: 46% will shop more often with retailers focused on reducing their carbon footprint.Footnote 8: 32% will shop more often with a retailer that uses a delivery company with a lover carbon footprint.Footnote 9: 38% are concerned with their personal carbon footprint.
You can start by offering a range of speed options, allowing shoppers to select a slower option for less urgent deliveries. Make sure to offer flexible returns options to your shoppers that encourage local returns through in-store or carrier drop off points. Choose a carrier committed to the same sustainability objectives as you are. Ask for their current sustainability impact and their future plans for improving sustainability.

No longer a nice-to-have

Shoppers, including many younger generations of shoppers, are evaluating retailers beyond product, price and availability. Every aspect of your business’ sustainability will be closely watched – from product and promotion, to packaging and shipping, to the size of your footprint and the genuineness of your public positions.

No longer a nice-to-have consideration, sustainability has become a key influencer for shoppers and a necessary part of your business plan. An important first step comes in understanding how your shoppers feel about the sustainable impact of your business.

As ecommerce grows in prominence in the lives of Canadians, so too will their concern for its impact on the world. This is not a passing fad – it’s an exciting opportunity for your (sustainable) future.

1-4 Canada Post/The Strategic Counsel. Canada Post Fall Omnibus Report, November 2021.
5 Canada Post. 2021 Canadian Online Shopper Study, April 2021.
6-7 Canada Post/The Strategic Counsel. Canada Post Fall Omnibus Report, November 2021.
8 Canada Post. 2021  Canadian Online Shopper Study, April 2021.
9 Canada Post/The Strategic Counsel. Canada Post Fall Omnibus Report, November 2021.

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