3 misconceptions of sustainable ecommerce - busted!

3 Common Misconceptions About Sustainable Ecommerce

By Cat  • 4 April 2021

A huge part of the MindfulCommerce mission is education and awareness – we want to get the ecommerce industry up to speed and really well-versed in all aspects of sustainable online retail.

There are a few common misconceptions that we come up against time and time again. So with that in mind, we thought we'd take the opportunity to bust a few myths when it comes to ethical, eco-friendly ecommerce.

If you've ever held a few preconceptions about adopting a more mindful approach to selling online, this one's for you.

1. Sustainable Ecommerce is only for "eco brands"

"But we're not selling an eco product!" We hear this a lot, and we understand why, with the fear of accidentally "greenwashing" and getting called out for it. But we're here to bust this misconception and tell you that you're allowed to celebrate the small wins, whilst you work on the bigger wins in the background.

You might not be selling bamboo toothbrushes or stainless steel drinking bottles – but there's still a lot you can do to make sure your operational impact on the planet is reduced. Similarly, if you're offering a product or service which helps online brands to save time, money or accelerate growth, you might not be selling a carbon offsetting app, but there are still things you can do to help small, conscious brands.

There's nothing hypocritical about selling a mainstream product and still taking steps to improve your sustainability and positive impact. We're not going to hound you with accusations of hypocrisy – quite the opposite. And if someone does, tell us - we've got your back.

Small steps towards a better future. Little changes that add up. Would we like you to address the sustainability of your products and supply chain? Yes, absolutely!

Do we think you could look at building a new feature for your app which specifically solves a sustainability issue in ecommerce? Sure! But we understand that this kind of change takes time, and when it comes to moving the needle here, progress over perfection is the way to go.

What are the smaller, quicker wins you could focus on whilst you're working on the bigger things? For example, could you start donating a % of your profits to a charity close to your heart? Could you consider offsetting your shipping emissions?

Key takeaway: You don't need to be selling an "eco" product to adopt an "eco" attitude.

2. Sustainable Ecommerce is expensive to implement

Deviating from the path most commonly taken in business usually suggests additional cost. We all understand how economies of scale work, and to go against the flow of common retail practise might carry an extra expense.

But choosing the more planet-friendly approach could actually help boost your bottom line. Many of the positive changes you can make to your business will benefit the environment and your budget. For example, working on reducing return rates with a customer review app lowers carbon emissions and saves you paying out for additional shipping, packing and processing costs. Making your office more energy efficient will bring down your bills, as well as your carbon emissions.

Nail your sustainable marketing, and you'll also find that your good deeds are rewarded with increased custom! Consumers increasingly want to "catch brands doing good" and this has lead to the rise of buycotting practices (the opposite of a boycott, where money is actively spent with a brand whose values a customer wishes to support.)

Key takeaway: You don't have to choose between saving the planet and saving your budget.

3. Sustainable Ecommerce is a niche vertical

Finally, let's address sustainable ecommerce as an outlier. This is categorically no longer the case. With leading platforms such as Shopify taking well-publicised steps to push this issue into the public spotlight by actioning campaigns like offsetting Black Friday emissions, sustainable online retail is a hot topic, that's only set to get hotter.

Sustainability and a reduction in consumption represent growing concerns for the general consumer. A more mindful approach to our purchasing patterns is increasingly apparent, and this is already impacting the marketing strategies of some of the world's biggest brands, all keen to ...?

Sustainable ecommerce is no longer a niche vertical. As with all shiny, new concepts in ecommerce, it won't take long for the public to acclimatise. Just as some form of personalisation is now a baseline expectation when it comes to customer experience, brands who haven't taken steps to improve their operational impact will soon be the ones standing out, for all the wrong reasons.

Key takeaway: Sustainable ecommerce will become the new norm. Get ahead of the curve.

Hopefully this article helps dispel a few fears that you may have with regard to getting started in the world of sustainable ecommerce. Starting to make your business a little greener doesn't have to be costly, or turn you into a reusable hemp loincloth retailer overnight.

The really good news? MindfulCommerce are working flat out to help make making changes even easier for you. Join our free online community for support and free advice from your peers – or download the MindfulCommerce Sustainability Framework for step by step advice on all of the improvements (both quick wins and bigger changes) that can help you tweak your business into better, greener shape.

Join the MindfulCommerce Community today!