First, evaluate your goods. For those who have a choice of providers, pick the one which uses less plastic (assuming the cost is equal ) and explain why. Think about cutting back on single-use or limited-life goods and focus on items which will last longer or may be recycled. That’s not a gimmick. Consumers will probably proceed in this direction and will seek items that last longer. The era of planned obsolescence is finished.
The era of planned obsolescence is finished.
Some suppliers provide a choice in packaging. When I began trading 20 years back, products were created for physical stores. They tended to be encased in plastic and hung from hooks or placed on a shelf.
With the development in ecommerce, some providers now provide warehouse-friendly packaging where things are stackable. This helps optimize storage space and may also reduce fulfillment costs because the things are easier to consume. See if your providers have considered this.
Another obvious area is in postage packaging. Many companies use standard-sized boxes and void fill to compensate for the dimensions of the product and the dimensions of the box. I try to not use void fill since it’s a waste. I prefer to cut down the box to size.
Recently however I have begun using recycled boxes. Each week I go to a local shoe store and receive a few sacks of boxes. Many clients leave the boxes after purchasing the shoes. Shoe boxes work well for many items I sell. They’re free, and I am reducing waste.
Likewise, I try to reuse delivery boxes, including from other neighborhood shops. This, again, reduces waste and enhances my packing expense.
There are drawbacks, but to reusing boxes. They aren’t standard sizes, so it can take more time to find a suitable box and therefore pack an order. Also, some clients complain!
When I first began using shoe boxes, a small proportion of my U.S. customers complained. One U.K. customer called, confused, demanding the sneakers with the box. Finally, I started adding a paragraph in the bottom of each receipt describing our coverage of recycling, reducing waste, and doing what we can to help the environment. This appears to be working.
Lately Amazon has begun using plastic bags rather than boxes. There’s a growing backlash to this. Independent merchants can benefit from it by encouraging our use of recycled boxes, or, if needed, recycled cardboard.
Volume vs. Price?
Selling environmentally friendly goods, however, could indicate a change in company strategy. Better equipped, longer-lasting products will inevitably mean lower sales volume. To endure, merchants will need improved margins and higher prices.
The food sector has experienced a similar problem with customers who seek organic, healthy choices. Grocers have improved their marketing of these products and succeeded in persuading customers to pay more — providing higher margins and greater earnings.
Sooner or later all retail customers will search for quality products that last more . As merchants, we have to follow this trend by changing our product lines, marketing, and indeed our whole ethos. We’ll earn money by selling fewer items at a greater profit.
Retail has changed in the last couple of years. Firms are moving away from physical stores and migrating to the net and ecommerce. Whilst this trend will last, it’s approaching saturation.
The massive box shifters such as Amazon will continue to focus on large volumes, low margins, and squeezing costs. However, the requirement for quality, and environmentally-friendly products is growing. It’s likely the biggest growth industry. So join in.