Ever wanted to get into drop shipping but worried about your impact on the environment? Perhaps you have a winning eco-friendly product, but the shipping method doesn’t align with your greener image.
Well, read on and find out how you can begin your journey as an eco-friendly drop shipper.
Is dropshipping eco-friendly?
In a nutshell, not really, since the goods still have to be flown or sent by sea to customers. Furthermore, the products will likely have passed through numerous middle persons, adding further transport.
To claim to sell an eco-friendly product, you have to also factor in the product’s journey.
For example, selling a bamboo toothbrush, which is shipped 7,000+ km from China to the US, seems counterintuitive in the grand scheme.
Why consider eco-friendly dropshipping?
Let’s start with the brass tacks; from a business perspective, it makes perfect sense. The principles of eco-friendly dropshipping are to reduce the number of middle persons, travel, and packaging, which saves you, the seller, money.
Furthermore, a study released in 2020 found that 74% of consumers prepare to pay more for environmentally sustainable packaging, of which 25% prepare to pay an additional 10% more.
The research above indicates that we are becoming more environmentally conscious in our buying habits; cheaper is no longer taking precedence.
This outlines that the cost of sustainability needn’t come out of your profit margins but can factor into the price, and your would-be customers prepare to pay extra for it.
10 Ways to be an eco-friendly drop shipper
Let’s take a look at some examples below but don’t worry too much if you can’t achieve every single one of them; any change is a step in the right direction:
- Use minimal packaging
Ensure your product is sold in as little packaging as possible, preferably the same size as the product itself. This will cost less money to ship, cost less for packaging, and reduce the need for unnecessary waste.
- Use reusable packaging and products.
The idea here is that your customer doesn’t throw away the packaging as it has another use to avoid ending up in landfills.
Take a look at your products and packaging to see where you can improve on this.
- Clear instructions for recycling
Sometimes, your customers may need a gentle reminder to recycle the materials. Give your customer clear instructions on how to recycle the product or packaging.
- Reduce paper use
Try to reduce the amount of paper you use in your store and offer recycling options. This may also include removing the need for promotional material and invoices shipped with your product; these can always email over.
- Use less ink
The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals in ink can lead to soil and even water pollution when left in a landfill. Try selecting more biodegradable options if you need to use them.
- Find green companies
This involves finding an eco-friendly dropshipping supplier. Choose a company that clearly outlines its commitment to the environment.
Ideally, you also want to source a more local supplier; there’s little point in finding a green supplier that will ship your product to the other side of the world, as this is equally harmful to the environment.
- Give back to the environment.
This is a fantastic concept that numerous companies are getting on board with. In most cases, doing business on a carbon-neutral basis is not possible.
For this reason, companies choose to contribute to environmental regeneration projects to lessen their effect on the environment. You, too, can do this by committing to plant a tree or donating to a cause, for example, for every sale made.
- Minimize customer dissatisfaction and returns
Selling a good quality product reduces the likelihood of returning or replacing it. Poor quality products need replacing more frequently and can cost you, the seller, more money in the long term on returns.
You can get a few sample products for yourself first to test their quality to combat this. This is good practice even if you aren’t going down the eco-friendly route.
It can also help to be very clear in your product descriptions and images to avoid disappointment, which would increase the chance of being returned. Again, this is something that you should be doing anyway.
- Sell sustainable products
Getting people to buy a sustainable product is an easy sell. As we mentioned earlier, people typically prepare to pay more for a less harmful effect on the environment.
For example, take the bamboo toothbrushes; a plastic one would typically sell for $3-4, but it is common to find them sold for up to $10 each in some places. People are buying them too, providing the quality is consistent.
Before you start dropshipping bamboo toothbrushes, please don’t; this market is ultra-saturated now. The point remains that you can sell these for a higher margin while still doing your bit for the environment.
In most cases, sustainable products can save the customer money in the long run as they are reusable or partially replaceable, so if applicable, make this your selling point.
- Sell fairtrade products
Certified fair trade products can encourage environmentally friendly production methods, safeguard humane working conditions and reduce poverty.
Another requirement of fairtrade products is they must also free of genetically engineered ingredients. They must also produce with limited pesticides, fertilizers, and environmentally friendly waste management.
We’re now going to go through a few more tips to get you started on your journey to being a greener drop shipper.
Save money with eco-friendly dropshipping.
There are numerous opportunities to save money with each of the ten ways to start with eco-friendly dropshipping provided above.
This can be by minimizing the travel involved, the packaging used, or reducing the overall number of returns; either way, it makes perfect business sense.
Not only are your customers prepared to pay for a greener product, but being able to save money by going green will genuinely boost your profit margins and your store’s image.
Cover all of your bases
Think about your product first and foremost, is it produced in an environmentally way? If not, can it be? Speak to suppliers; perhaps they have a greener alternative to suggest.
Secondly, look at your packaging, is there single-use plastic use, and is it essential? Again, please speak to your supplier, nowadays it is common for an environmentally friendlier alternative to be available.
Finally, consider your product’s journey to your customers. Can this be reduced? There is also a possibility to save money here as you reduce the number of middle persons involved.
Make it your selling point.
If you are going down the green dropshipping route, then shout it from the rooftops! Make sure your customers know what you’re about and why your product is environmentally better than competitors.
As the environment is quickly approaching the tipping point of no return, people have become much more conscious of the current situation. Align your values with this audience, and the sales will naturally come flowing in.
Involve your community
Getting your community involved through social media and mailing lists is a great way to drive interest and momentum to your store’s growth.
Encourage dialogue with your community and welcome ideas to improve your common environmental goals.
Promoting your values is key to letting your customers know your cause; this should always include in your ‘About us page.
Adding a donation button to your store and then offering to match that donation (to a limit, of course) is another fantastic example of how you can involve your community.
Make the transition
Don’t be afraid to make the first step to a greener way of drop shipping; start small, and keep going. It can be easy to see the overwhelming amount of waste and redundancy and put off from doing anything at all.
What is essential is to view every wasteful aspect of your store as an opportunity to save money and make money, all while helping the environment.
To summarise what we learned in this article, eco-friendly dropshipping needn’t be an expensive venture; it can save you money.
The public mindset gradually becomes more eco-conscious, with the most engaged younger populace. A majority prepare to pay more for a less harmful product to the environment.
We provided you with ten ways to begin your journey as a green drop shipper. With each method, you have another opportunity to both save money and reduce redundancy.
It’s essential that if you are taking all of these steps to become a greener ecommerce store, make sure you tell your customers about it and get them engaged to do the same. This is a great way to engage with your customer base and build rapport.
Last but most certainly not least, cover all of your bases, think about your product’s journey, from start to finish, and look at ways to improve on this. Have fun with it, get your customers involved, and don’t forget to let us know how you get on!
Think globally, act locally