Mention the term sustainability to just about anyone, and they’ll quickly think of an earth-friendly product, practice, or philosophy. Recycling. Conserving water. Using less packaging. Personally, I think about hiking in the Canadian wilderness as a child and how I was taught to leave nothing behind but footsteps.
While we hear every day about what we as individuals should or shouldn’t do, sustainable commerce—how businesses can help conserve the environment—is just beginning to get the attention it deserves.
The urgency behind this issue just continues to increase. The pandemic-based explosion in the demand for goods, and, as a result, the digital transformation of B2C and B2B commerce only intensified the impact commerce has on our environment.
The good news is many organizations now make sustainability a corporate priority and B2B buyers are better aligning buying practices with organizational values. In a recent Amazon Business study, 69% of B2B buyers said their organization established sustainability related goals and as a consequence, 63% of buyers now say improving sustainability in purchasing practices is a top goal.
Also, the EU issued a Corporate Sustainability Supportive Directive to expand existing requirements for sustainability reporting. Similar initiatives in Canada and the US promote adopting new reporting standards. The University of Guelph in Canada now offers an MBA in Sustainable Commerce. Progress, definitely.
Unfortunately, 55% of B2B buyers say it’s hard to find suppliers that maintain sustainability practices. While troubling, it’s also a huge opportunity for organizations that wants to better align with their customers’ values and stand out from the competition at the same time.
Not sure where to begin? We can help. Sustainable commerce has so many facets that there are many ways to make a profound impact.
Richer product data
Provide B2B buyers with more (and better) product data and information up front and you’ll make it easier for them to purchase. This translates to faster decision-making and buying, but it also reduces the number of touch points required to make a buying decision and lowers product return rates since buyers know more before completing the sale.
Giving customers the opportunity to handle more on their own is better for everyone. Automating manual processes cuts costs and increases efficiency. This may be as simple as adding more FAQs or as complex as self-service invoice payments, but reducing the burden on your sales team and customer service reps, reduces your impact overall.
You know your products, your customers, and their objectives well enough that you already have a good idea of what they need and when. Using your insight to offer AI-driven recommendations, like order replenishment or product suggestions, will optimize their buying decisions.
Your buyers are already used to seeing the B2C brands they love promote opportunities to reuse and resell products and materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Look across your organization for opportunities where you can support existing re-commerce programs or start your own.
Sustainability and commerce go hand in hand. And in the process, you’ll not only build a better future but a better brand that creates more engagement and loyalty, which in turn drives more profits.