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Sustainable eCommerce – An ongoing negotiation between retailers and consumers

Customers are expecting more from retailers and brands selling online when it comes to environmentally friendly, sustainable practices. PFS’ recent report on the state of Conscious Commerce, The Green Dilemma: The Disparity Between Consumer and Retailer Perceptions, confirms that retailers are feeling the pressure. In fact, the majority (60%) of retailers stated they feel they fall behind the competition when it comes to sustainable operations.

Consumers desire to shop with retailers who actively support their values, yet for 32% of consumers price remains the top consideration. Considering the current economic challenges, meeting the needs of the cost-conscious shopper while increasing sustainability (often at an added cost) makes prioritization of eco-friendly practices a difficult undertaking at best for many retailers.

Still, reducing carbon footprint is undeniably becoming more of a focus for the consumer. Baseline expectations for sustainable practices are increasing and retailers must fine-tune their solutions to appeal to current and future shoppers and inspire loyalty.

Key research findings include:

  • Over half of consumers (61%) surveyed in the US and UK were found to expect that retailers would use sustainable packaging. However, only 54% of retailers support sustainable packaging options free of charge;
  • Since 2020, 50% of retailers have seen an increase in customer queries regarding sustainable products;
  • Consumers are invested in eco-conscious practices across the U.S. and the UK:
    • 65% of UK shoppers expect sustainable packaging from retailers, with 56% in the U.S.; and
    • 69% of UK consumers were willing to wait for items to be delivered in one package instead of multiple packages, 62% of U.S. consumers said the same.

Our findings suggest that retailers need to not only offer sustainable options throughout the post-purchase journey, but also find cost effective solutions that don’t hamper their businesses model. Currently, only 54% of retailers support sustainable packaging options free of charge. If retailers enabled their customers to ‘opt in’ to more sustainable packaging methods, this could be a way of empowering the consumer to keep making decisions with sustainability top of mind.

Retailers need to find smart solutions to appeal to this growing focus. A sustainability negotiation needs to occur between retailer and consumer. For example, if retailers adapt their business model by incorporating paperless options like QR codes as well as taking steps to educate customers on best practices when it comes to ensuring their purchase journey is sustainable, then businesses are well on their way to appealing to and retaining their customer base.

Download our latest Conscious Commerce research today.

To learn more about PFS’ support of brands’ sustainability objectives, click here.

Zach Thomann, Chief Operating Officer

About PFS

PFS is the premier eCommerce order fulfillment provider. We facilitate each operational step of an eCommerce order in support of DTC and B2B retail brands. Our scalable solutions support customized pick/pack/ship services that deliver positive brand experiences with each package. A proven order management platform, as well as high-touch customer service solutions reinforce our operation.

With 25+ years as an industry leader, PFS is the BPO of choice for brand-centric omnichannel operations. Grow your brand with eCommerce fulfillment services designed to keep your spirit and values front and center.

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