Online & Digital

83% of shoppers concerned about environmental impact of online shopping

The most common concerns about the environmental cost of online shopping are waste generated by excessive packaging (32%) and emissions from increased number of delivery vehicles (22%)

Some 83% of consumers across all demographics are “concerned” about the environmental impact of online shopping, according to a survey of over 1,000 British shoppers by omnichannel marketing and customer experience consultancy CPM.

Almost all of those born between 1997 and 2012 feel concerned (96%) by the impact that online shopping has on the planet. Even among the least concerned demographic, over 55s, almost three quarters (73%) had issues with unsustainable practises tied to online shopping.

The most common concerns about the environmental cost of online shopping were waste generated by excessive packaging (32%), emissions from increased number of delivery vehicles (22%), and goods being manufactured in places with poor environmental credentials (20%).

Shoppers said they were also unhappy with fast fashion and the disposable nature of products (19%) and the increasingly common practice of making excessive returns due to wrong or unneeded purchases (18%).

The survey also indicated that shoppers believe brands are falling short when it comes to transparency and messaging. Most shoppers (86%) believed that brands should do more to publish the environmental details of their products.

CPM added that shoppers want this information to be available wherever they may be buying, including on the brand’s website (27%), on the product’s packaging (25%), on the product’s online listing (24%), and near the in-store point of purchase (22%).

The most common things that cause consumers to question a brand’s environmental credentials are poor quality or easily broken products (28%), excessive packaging (27%), the use of non-environmentally friendly materials (25%), and poor reviews from fellow customers (25%).

Negative press (23%) and word of mouth (20%) also contribute to people’s views on a brand’s sustainability.

Colin Clark, MD, CPM International Contact Centre, saID: “Our data has a clear message for retailers: consumers want to shop online, but they also want to know that the process has a minimal environmental impact. There’s a lot more that brands can do to clarify the measures they’re taking to make their products and operations sustainable.

“Brands that are doing a good job on sustainability need to be shouting about it from the rooftops, and the key is providing customers with the right information at every touchpoint. Shoppers want transparency, and they’re likely to spend a little more if they’re confident a brand and their supply chain partners are doing their part for the planet.”

He added: “More can also be done to ensure that the buying decision is right the first time, every time, especially when it comes to more complex, high-value purchases. This limits the risk of additional shopping trips, returns, or the need to raise multiple orders, all of which can add to a brand’s environmental impact.

“Simply by having more engaging, personalised conversations with consumers about their specific buying needs, whether in-store or through digital channels, brands can simultaneously enhance the customer experience and their sustainability.”

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