As we move further into the digital age, consumer groups are increasingly composed of millennials and Gen-Z buyers.

These generations not only bring with them a switch to online mass consumerism but also an environmentally conscious target audience. This audience looks for brands with eco-friendly and sustainable ethics. It’s not enough to be aware of general e-commerce trends — you need to dedicate time to becoming eco-friendly.

A study conducted by Nielsen revealed that 75% of millennials believe they are actively changing their habits so to become more sustainable, compared to just 34% of baby boomers.

Growing an ethos of sustainability to build an eco-friendly business doesn't have to be a costly hindrance. In fact, it is a great way to set your brand apart from any competitors — especially with the use of green tech.

What is green tech and how can it help?

Technology nowadays is often regarded as the antitheses of environmental sustainability. As the world becomes increasingly connected through technological advances, the damage to ecosystems is becoming irreversible — or so the theory goes.

Well, with green tech it doesn't have to be that way!

Green tech is essentially any technology that takes short and long-term environmental impacts into account. Thus, the use of green tech can aid the creation of an eco-friendly and sustainable brand.

What exactly can green tech help with?

Building a brand sustainably can seem like a task that requires an overwhelming number of tough decisions.

However, some easy adjustments can be made through the use of green technology innovations. These are easy ways that will guarantee a greener business model and sustainable growth. We’ll look at three key methods:

  • Reducing storefronts
  • Limiting waste
  • Working remotely

Reducing storefronts

In the past, going into shops was viewed as the best way to ensure the goods or services purchased were exactly what the consumer was looking for.

Yet, due to the gas, electricity, and water needed to run each establishment, this consumption method brings with it an environmental detriment. Moving sales online can prove a brand to be acting sustainably while simultaneously reducing its running costs.

One way to achieve this is to create the experience consumers expect with better item data.

Using automatic systems to manage the item data on specific products takes human effort and error out of the equation. The consumer is given the exact information they need, reducing the need to see the product in person.

It has the added benefit of increasing the chances of a good review. Online reviews are hugely important — 82% of customers state they would only buy a product with a 3-star review or above, so this is a surefire way to grow your business.

Image: BrightLocal

Limiting waste

As an online business that wants to act responsibly, returns need to be top of the agenda Despite how proud you are of your product, things can always go wrong — so having a good returns policy is vital for customer satisfaction.

If you want to be sustainable, using an environmentally efficient warehouse return process is a must.

Combining the use of an authorized return policy and inventory management software can help reduce the volume of returns and streamline warehouse operations. By doing this, you can limit waste resulting from the returned inventory.

Image: Statista

A major issue related to online sales is the packaging waste it creates. One simple way to reduce packaging waste is to use less outer packaging, or swap which materials you use. Another method is to streamline warehouse operations, limiting the volume of packages sent, returned, and discarded. By reducing packaging waste levels, your brand will be acknowledging the worries of consumers who believe companies use far too much excess packaging.

Working remotely

2020 has been the year of remote work. While many may be getting tired of living room offices, it is actually an important way to grow a business sustainably.

Order management software can provide a better consumer experience online, all while being run from home. This automatic online sales management system will drastically reduce the emissions of office upkeep and travel for employees, while maintaining a strong consumer base through an integrated point of sale.

Working remotely widens your available talent pool, which is helpful for business growth. You may need to invest in IT specialists to oversee green tech developments, or customer service staff in multiple time zones. Of course, you don’t necessarily need to hire a completely new team. Instead, take advantage of remote work and use online courses on Coursera to train existing employees.

Think about consumer satisfaction

Satisfying your target audience is essential for growth at any business, and this is no different for an eco-friendly and sustainable brand.

Green tech can be utilized to match the growing demands for eco-friendly online consumption. It can help you offer streamlined services and improve the consumer's online experience, while also managing the waste produced by online return processes.

By applying green technology appropriately, a brand's growth can remain eco-friendly and sustainable as it reaches widening e-commerce markets. In fact, it can even become an alternative that’s less harmful to the environment than traditional storefront based shopping.