Retailers that Don’t Offer Eco-Friendly Deliveries is a “Strategic Risk”

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 21 Oct 2021

Australian consumers are asking for more sustainable delivery choices when purchasing online, a new report has found. 

Sustainability has long been an important factor for retailers and consumers, and a new study is showing that sustainable deliveries are the next priority for consumers, even if it means waiting a little bit longer for a delivery or paying a higher fee.

A study from the Manhattan Associates, Shippit and Greener, in partnership with NORA and the National Retail Association – ‘Sustainability in the Australian Retail Supply Chain’ – has shown that the majority of Australian consumers (60 percent) would be open to receiving their parcel at a later date if it means that the delivery was more sustainable.

Home delivery remains the leading option for Australian shoppers (69 percent), as lockdowns and work from home measures remain across parts of the country. “However, consumers are not prepared to just accept the convenience of delivery at the cost of the environment, and they are increasingly aware of the growing impact the e-commerce sector is having on CO2 emissions,” said Raghav Sibal, the MD of Manhattan Associates ANZ.

Of course, sustainability is not the only reason why Australian consumers would wait longer for delivery. A further 64 percent of consumers said they’d be happy to accept a longer waiting time if their delivery fees were discounted or removed entirely.

Consumers that receive their orders in multiple packages can have a massive impact on the planet. A whopping 81 percent of consumers say that they believe this is an ‘inefficient and unsustainable’ way of delivering goods. The overwhelming majority (81 percent) said a longer wait time would be acceptable if all items were consolidated into a single package.

“For many years now, the predominant consumer pressure on retailers across the globe has revolved around how they can deliver goods even faster, leading to massive gains in same or next day delivery windows,” Raghav explained. “Yet, what this research is showing, is that the issue of sustainability might be gaining traction as a circuit breaker for this consumer obsession with delivery speed.”

Power Retail has highlighted how much Australian consumers are leaning towards a more sustainable future when it comes to shopping online. Research suggests that 45 percent of consumers would check the retailer for sustainable practices after they’ve made their order. This indicates that retailers need to be upfront and transparent about their sustainable practices so it is easily accessible for consumers.

“As online shopping delivery rates and the corresponding impact on the environment continue to rise, while at the same time the issue of sustainability continues to move to the forefront of consumer’s minds, retailers will need to make sustainability a bigger priority,” said Tom Ferrier, the Founder of Greener. “he next few years presents an unprecedented opportunity for brands that are taking genuine action to reduce their emissions. For those helping their customers do the same, it’s a competitive advantage. For those who aren’t, it’s a strategic risk.”

What Can Retailers Do About It?

Power Retail has partnered with The Purpose Agents to create the Power Retail Sustainability Index, to drive awareness and encourage sustainable practices throughout the entire retail industry.

The Power Retail Sustainability Index consists of a questionnaire, derived from the triple bottom line theory, whereby companies should be working toward achieving positive results with regard to three bottom lines:

Profit: The traditional measure of corporate success

People: The measure of social responsibility when doing business

Planet: The measure of environmental responsibility when doing business

The 28-question benchmarking survey opens the opportunity for retailers to thoroughly assess and discuss their social responsibility and sustainability initiatives. This will be done across three topic areas – Company Ethos; Business Operations and Value Chain; and Business as an Agent of Change.

Responses to each question are rated on a scale from one to five. Scores will be tallied to determine the ranking on the Sustainability Index, and Power Retail will revisit these rankings continuously to chart the movement of sustainable practices in e-commerce.

So, does your business deserve recognition for its sustainable practices? If you think your company works towards a positive impact, this is your moment to recognise your hard work. To take part in the Power Retail Sustainability Index, submit your company’s practices today.

The e-commerce landscape is changing. With a Power Retail Switched On membership, you get access to current e-commerce revenue and forecasting, traffic levels, average conversion rate, payment preferences and more! 

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