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5 Environmentally-Friendly Online Sales Strategies to Grow Your Audience and Boost Sales

Ten years ago, you wouldn’t often hear words like “sustainability”, “clean”, or “toxin-free” but lately, those buzz words are everywhere. “Global warming”, anyone? What do these words have in common? They are all connected to people and the environment. Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that humans need to be more careful with how they live their lives as there has been a detrimental effect on the environment. 57% of customers expressed their willingness to start shopping more mindfully to help reduce their carbon footprint. Companies have taken notice and are pivoting their efforts to become environmentally friendly both to improve the environment and to also attract customers to their green company. How do they do this? Two words: green marketing

Green marketing essentially refers to when a company utilizes current environmental issues in their marketing in order to illustrate that they are conscious, care about others, and more. While some companies may be all talk when it comes to green marketing, many reputable companies are nailing their green marketing strategies. Let’s dive in below to explore these strategies even further.

Choose Your “Why” and Be Authentic

Businesses are only going to succeed with their green marketing efforts when they truly care about the environment. Environmentally friendly marketing strategies should start from advertising through the delivery of the product. A great example of this is the company Beautycounter. The mission of Beautycounter (with their social media hashtag #BetterBeauty) is to get safer cosmetic and skincare products into consumers’ hands. As of 2011, the United States only bans 30 ingredients from personal care products (whereas the EU bans 1,400 ingredients). This didn’t fly with Beautycounter’s founder, and that’s how the company was created. Beautycounter fully discloses all ingredients in their makeup and skincare (and keeps their products “clean”), which is an uncommon practice in the beauty industry. Their promise is clean beauty, and they deliver just that. 

Overall, you may have noticed that more and more products (especially in the beauty and skincare industries) have been adding the “cruelty free” or “not tested on animals” symbols and verbiage on their products, which is an eye-catching way to show you care. 

Update Your Brand Ethos

Once a company determines its approach and stance around green marketing, it’s time to update its brand ethos. A brand ethos tells customers who the company is as a brand and what the company values. If a company truly wants to aim to be environmentally friendly, they need to take a clear stance on sustainability. They also need to undertake environmental or social practices to support that. For eCommerce companies, brand ethos should be reflected across their site and channels. Toms and Thinx are known for their solid messaging across the brand, but others are beginning to follow suit.  Let’s take Beautycounter again, for example. Their brand ethos is consistently conveyed through their website and social media content. The screenshot below highlights the company’s mission and also goes into the sustainability around packaging, sourcing, and the safety of their products.

Go Green with Marketing aka Digital Marketing

There are many benefits to digital marketing outside of saving trees. It costs less, works faster, and lessens your environmental impact. Companies should have a marketing team that specializes in email marketing campaigns, social media, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If a marketing team isn’t an option for small businesses, that’s okay! Utilizing an email database is huge when it comes to communication – it gets the message across and still reduces direct mail. Small businesses can also offer coupon deals, discounts, or sales via email, which can be a great way to encourage shoppers to sign up for an email list (and save money on printed mailers).

Eco–Friendly Packaging & Sustainable Shipping

There’s nothing worse than plastic bags flying around in the air and getting stuck in trees, am I right? Many businesses are attempting to distance themselves from materials like this and go down more environmentally friendly routes. Cardboard, paper, and recyclable plastics are what businesses should be using, and eCommerce companies should think about how they’re currently packing and sending their products. For example, Beautycounter has promised that by 2025, 100% of its packaging will be recycled, recyclable, refillable, reused, or compostable. Now let’s talk shipping. Present-day, there is nearly 165 billion packages shipping in the U.S. alone, the majority of it caused by online shopping. 165 billion packages are a huge environmental impact between packaging, printing labels, and delivery. eCommerce can improve on delivery by leaning on major carriers like FedEx, UPS, or USPS that can offer paperless print and other green options. eCommerce companies can also partner with fulfillment companies that integrate with eCommerce marketplaces such as Deliverr,

Donate with Every Sale

A donation with every purchase is a great way for any business to make a positive environmental change. If there is a specific cause a business wants to donate to, especially one that supports green causes, make it known on the website that the company donates money from every purchase to the cause or organization. This should also be mentioned on the website not just once, but a few times. An example could be the “plant a new tree with every purchase” motto, perhaps donating .25 cents per sale to a new tree. A company can also promote campaigns instead of donating to every sale. For example, during the holidays, a business can say “Purchase (item) during this time frame and we will donate (item or money) to (organization or cause).” Companies can donate to environmental advocacy charities, environmental protection and natural resource conservation charities, environmental health and justice charities, or environmental education charities. Any donation can make a giant impact on customer satisfaction (not to mention returning customers), and both the customer and the company are helping to contribute to a better environment. 

Now more than ever, the environment needs some love from humans all over the world. Companies taking their marketing “green” will help the environment out and make it cleaner by following the steps outlined above. Not to mention, customers are satisfied and will return knowing that a company is helping the environment out and becoming greener!

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