A business trend that has been steadily growing in the past several years is the move from working in a brick and mortar location to working online. It makes sense on a financial level for small businesses to do away with a physical retail or office location if the majority of their business can be conducted online. Chances are you already do a fair bit of your own shopping online and understand the convenience that it entails. Yet this move to a virtual workplace is also good news for the environment. If you’ve been thinking about opening up an ecommerce business, this is another reason to consider making the switch.
One of the first ways that ecommerce can help save energy is by eliminating the need for employees to commute to and from a physical workplace. The fossil fuels that would have been burned by these cars on the road add up to a significant amount over the course of a year. According to a study conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, telecommuting saves an average of 1.4 gallons of petrol a day and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 23 kg each day. Although shipping products to customers still uses up fuel, the items would have been shipped to the physical retail location anyway. By conducting an online transaction, fuel that both the customer and the employee would have used to get to the shop has been saved.
Reduce Paper Trails
In a traditional business setting, a huge amount of paper waste is created throughout the day. Coupons, bills, receipts, and memos to employees are all daily uses of paper. All of this is eliminated by using digital files instead of paper printouts. When a customer visits a website that uses Shopify POS software, he or she can purchase their items and receive an electronic receipt delivered directly to their inbox, rather than being handed a paper receipt that will be tossed into the rubbish immediately. This is not only more convenient to the customer, but it creates a more permanent record of the transaction and eliminates waste all at the same time.
Some of the most popular ecommerce websites sell used goods. Rather than being tossed into a landfill, used clothing and household items are given a second lease on life. Consumers are interested in finding unique items online, which is why online stores that sell books, clothing, and antiques are so popular. It used to be necessary to visit charity shops or garage sales to find used items, which many consumers weren’t so keen on. Now items are handpicked for quality, cleaned up, and even restored or up-cycled into completely new creations, making them more appealing to a mainstream audience.
Overall, telecommuting or running a business online can have a significant impact on the environment. Brick and mortar stores simply require more energy, water, and resources to operate than online shops do. If you want to save money on retail costs while doing your part for the environment, ecommerce may be the wave of the future.