Customers today not only want faster delivery. Many also want that delivery to be easy on the environment. Reducing the carbon footprint of delivery (especially in the expensive last mile) is a pressing environmental challenge for retailers. 

According to a report by Metapack, 32% of shoppers value sustainability over cost and speed when it comes to delivery. But, at the same time, overall consumer demand for fast shipping continues to grow. More than half (61%) of consumers say they prefer to shop with brands that deliver their goods the fastest.

It may feel like an impossible task, but offering ultrafast, sustainable delivery is critical to winning and retaining customers. So how do you get your products into customers’ hands quickly while reducing your last-mile carbon footprint?

Offer sustainable delivery choices 

In general, customers want the fastest delivery option, but that’s not the case for every order. For example, a customer ordering home improvement items from a major retailer may choose to receive their multi-product purchase in fewer boxes and even wait a few days for delivery, rather than shipping each item separately to arrive faster. Some retailers offer incentives for choosing the sustainable choice, such as discounts or earned credit for future purchases. 

The crucial piece here is giving your customers plenty of choices. This is true for all orders — customers want freedom of choice with when and how they receive their delivery. But when you’re trying to reach sustainability-minded customers, choice becomes even more important. The same customer may want a different delivery method for different purchases. Add sustainable options to your delivery menu, and let customers decide which orders they want to be more eco-friendly and which they need today.

Buy online, deliver from store 

Fulfilling orders directly from your retail stores brings a few advantages for retailers looking to green their final mile while keeping up with customer demand for faster fulfillment. 

For one, store delivery helps get deliveries to customers faster, cutting down the time from click to delivery by shortening the distance the order must travel. It also adds a sustainability benefit. An Accenture report predicted that by 2025, companies using local fulfillment centers could cut final-mile emissions by 17% to 26%.  

Use more sustainable packaging and reduce waste

Reducing the overall amount of packaging materials you use can have a big impact. It’s a big concern for consumers, too. Nosto, a commerce experience platform company, did a survey and found that three in four (75%) environmentally -conscious customers want brands to reduce the amount of packaging they’re using.

Rather than filling a box with foam and plastic, consider switching to recycled (and recyclable) materials to protect orders in transit. Another way to make your packaging more eco-friendly is to use smaller packaging or design them to fit more orders in each truck so you can cut emissions. For products that already come in a box, consider eliminating the secondary packaging to reduce waste.

Some companies use a packaging return system to reduce their carbon footprint. Roadie’s crowdsourced delivery platform can help companies collect packaging, such as empty medication bottles, used propane canisters and meal delivery kit boxes.

Another impactful way to reduce packaging is to use Roadie’s crowdsourced delivery platform when sending big and bulky items. Since drivers using Roadie use their own vehicles, you won’t have to overprotect packaged items to keep them from incurring damage in a crowded truck. Roadie’s algorithm will automatically pick the right vehicle for the job. An added bonus: Crowdsourcing saves you time and money over traditional courier services since your order goes with a driver already headed in your customer’s direction.

Batch your deliveries to reduce trips 

Batched delivery combines multiple orders into a single, streamlined route that travels in one vehicle. By reducing the number of trips from your facility to customers, you’ll also be lowering emissions, saving money and improving productivity. 

Reducing the carbon footprint of your final-mile delivery is crucial both for the planet and for your company’s bottom line. Diversifying fulfillment options by adding crowdsourcing can help you give customers choice, allowing them to consider the environment along with their need to receive their order. 

Ready to learn more? Read on to learn why crowdsourcing your big and bulky deliveries is a sustainable option to make your customers happy without slowing you down.

Don’t sweat the big stuff: Crowdsourcing makes delivering large items easy