Use your website more cleverly, and walk more lightly on this planet
We need to be thinking about ways to improve our green footprints. It is not easy. Every green thing we do seems to be more expensive, and we need to protect your margins.
To make you and your customer believe your shop is a low impact business you need to engage, and communicate, a more holistic view of what you can do for your customers.
Here are 7 ways to improve your footprint you probably haven’t thought of
1) Make you supply chain more efficient
Right now retail means retailers buying a whole bunch of stock, putting it on shelves, and hoping customers make the journey to their store, buy it and go back home again.
Now imagine customers shopping on the website of their local food hub (you), and buying from the underlying producer or wholesaler, and having that product click and collect from your store or sent directly to their home. That is less product waste, less product journeys, less customer journeys.
2) Don’t hold so much chilled goods - let your customers order them online
“The UK’s 40 largest shopping centres consume £40m worth of energy a year and the top 15 alone emit 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year.” (the Telegraph). Chillers are carbon heavy, and they spit out heat which means you may need aircon to compensate and make your shop cool again. Taking more of your shop online means less product being chilled, while offering your customers more choice.
3) Be Green – Pre-order
Efficiency is essential to reducing waste. You can cut your waste and energy usage by only making what the customer wants. Bringing an online pre-ordering system into your business streamlines your customer relationship and makes your stock flow more efficient and allows you to buy in bulk, reducing packing.
4) Be local – get your customers walking
You are perfectly positioned to be a local food hub. By selling products from partner businesses, not just your own stock, your website can become a magic door that gives your customers access to a wide range of goods. Your customers popping into your shop has the least environmental impact, so help them get the most out of it.
5) Diversify your offer online so we need less retail parks
Making your premises a one-stop-shop is lower impact than customers going shop to shop, town to town, browsing from large stores on acres of out of town retail space. You can put a mall online without displacing a single badger. Work with partner businesses like Delishops to offer your customers big ranges online and keep the fields for birdsong.
6) Low impact expansion
Expanding online has no green footprint compared to bricks and mortar expansion.
50% of a car’s environmental impact is the making of it, only 50% is the fuel it consumes. Taking on extra square feet when you expand has a hard environmental impact. Expanding online is as close to carbon neutral as you can get .
7) Choose the right products.
Offer green alternatives such as bees wax wraps, refill stations, offering your customers greener alternatives that are non food can offer greater margins with no shelf life.
These ways to do your bit might be less sexy than building your own wind turbine. But they count, they are cheap and they are doable today.
Do them and tell your customers you are doing them.