What You Should Know About Offering Sustainable Packaging

From website performance to packaging, everything plays a role in the experience a customer receives when shopping online, as well as his or her likeliness to buy with a company again or even share their experience with peers.


Over the years, Dotcom Distribution has released some telling studies about shoppers' propensity to share the products on social channels when it is delivered in premium packaging. Most recently, Dotcom Distribution revealed information on the benefits of "green" packaging. The study found that 61 percent of consumers have considered green packaging when deciding where to shop, and 57 percent of shoppers said that green packaging is important. 


Website Magazine caught up with Dotcom Distribution CEO Maria Haggerty to learn more about this trend, as well as the services her company offers. 


What makes it a good operational decision to offer more sustainable packaging?


Maria Haggerty, CEO of Dotcom Distribution: Typically, ecommerce retailers worry about green packaging from an operational standpoint, but they shouldn't necessarily do so. Retailers know that going green is good for their image and the environment, but concerns about a negative impact on the bottom line often slows their adoption of sustainable practices. This doesn't have to be the case. Ecommerce retailers can see two financial benefits when they transition to sustainable packaging.


In light of dimensional pricing going into effect earlier this year, brands need to be cautious of how they package orders. In the past, cost to ship via most major carriers was determined solely by weight.


Brands could use large cardboard  boxes to ship any size order. This method was easy to implement, but also incredibly wasteful. Now, brands need to pack shipments efficiently into more dense packages.


Using less packaging makes your brand both sustainable and less susceptible to dim pricing costs as the major carriers favor dimensions over weight in determining pricing.


Going green also extends beyond the packaging itself to how the package is delivered. Ecommerce brands can examine their delivery partners and their processes for improvement. If delivery times and routes can be altered to make them more efficient, that decreases fuel cost, and results in a lower bill for the retailer and a greener supply chain overall.


What marketing effects can sustainable packaging have for a company?


Haggerty of Dotcom Distribution: Sustainable packaging is about more than just cutting costs for materials and shipping -- it also affects marketing spend. Sustainable packaging, when communicated clearly to customers, is something they will notice and share with their immediate circle. In our most recent packaging study, Dotcom Distribution found that consumers are 45 percent more likely to tell friends and family about a brand that is outwardly sustainable. This word-of-mouth marketing is the best money can get and extends the value of your green packaging far beyond basic operational costs.


What type of ROI would you expect a business to have by offering more sustainable packaging?


Haggerty of Dotcom Distribution: With more sustainable packaging, ecommerce retailers can use the opportunity to broaden exposure to their brand through the word-of-mouth marketing. On a more tangible level, we've seen businesses that successfully adapt to dim pricing see costs increase slightly. Even the most prepared brands that we work with saw their overall cost per package go up an average of 9 percent after dim pricing went into effect. So when brands who are sustainable still see increased costs, it's critical that they makes those changes in order to avoid even higher shipping rates.


How can DotCom Distribution reduce the operational costs (and manpower) for a business to offer more sustainable packaging?


Haggerty of Dotcom Distribution: As a third-party logistics partner, Dotcom can help ecommerce retailers implement sustainable packaging without massive costs or headaches. While an ecommerce retailer is an expert in their brand and their products, we're the experts on how to package and ship those orders. Bringing us in allows the retailer to focus on what they do best - leaving the details to us as we still partner to improve their business. 


Through our contacts within the industry, we also help online retailers revamp their packaging materials. Being sustainable doesn't mean using only boring, brown cardboard boxes. Packaging can still be attractive and green. When 49 percent of online shoppers said premium packaging gets them more excited to open a package and 61 percent said it makes the brand seem more upscale, appealing packaging is crucial to customer satisfaction. Dotcom and its partners can also make sure that the way the retailer packages their goods is the most efficient and most sustainable way possible, whether this means using polybags instead of boxes or different ink to highlight their unique brand.


At Dotcom, we have a wide network of smart shipping partners with which we regularly work. We know who is committed to sustainability and can help retailers select which shippers will help them meet their goals to be eco-friendly while delivering packages on time and in good condition to eager shoppers.