With the UK having been in lockdown for much of 2020, 51% of Brits say they feel more reliant on having products delivered to their homes. As online shopping increases, so does carbon footprint caused by deliveries. Is the future of e-commerce looking green?
Online retail sales in the UK
Overall it’s been an awful year for fashion sales – unless they’re online. ASOS, an online fashion retailer based in the UK, said sales in the four months through June 30 climbed 10% despite the pandemic. Whereas Boohoo reported a 45% rise in sales in the three months through May 31.
Experts predict the pandemic and the behavioural changes it’s causing will only accelerate buyers ordering more of their clothes online. It’s also likely to push traditional retailers to invest more in building up or improving their e-commerce operations. “In the post-COVID-19 world, the unparalleled growth of e-commerce will disrupt national and international retail frameworks,” said Carlo Terreni, President, NetComm Suisse eCommerce Association.
UK’s online retail sales are expected to grow to 20% of all retail sales by the end of 2021. Placing it as second in the world (when it comes to the percentage of online sales vs total sales), behind China and in front of the US.
Carbon footprint of deliveries
Competition between retailers is growing and customer preferences are shifting towards next day deliveries. As online shopping is increasing, so is the amount of carbon dioxide that delivery vans are releasing into the atmosphere. Road transport vehicles are responsible for around 20% of the UK’s entire carbon footprint.
Consumers care about climate but often won’t compromise on convenience
Mindful consumers expect brands to be environmentally sustainable – 83% would always pick the brand with a better record of sustainability. However, they are not willing to sacrifice in other areas to buy sustainably. Convenience often takes priority. When it comes to online fashion sales – next day deliveries are hugely popular and free returns are often the deal breakers for consumers who are not able to try clothes in-store since the Covid-19 outbreak.
The rising numbers of people now shopping online, whether for necessity or convenience, has thrown retailers’ logistical issues into the spotlight.
A Citizens Advice survey of more than 2000 British consumers, has found that nearly half of UK’s customers have had issues with the delivery of orders since the first lockdown in March.
The e-commerce sector relies heavily on logistic delivery providers. The “last-mile” of e-commerce where drivers drop off packages at individual consumers’ doors is the most critical link of the chain as the efficiency of this link ultimately measures customer satisfaction.
The future of e-commerce is looking green
With companies all over the world aiming for carbon-neutrality within the next 30 years and online retailers assessing the environmental impacts of their supply chain, many are focusing on the vehicles that deliver their products to the customer. The massive technology shift from IC engines to battery-powered vehicles is happening globally.
We’re witnessing the real uprising of the electric transport industry, and rightly so. With lower emissions, cheaper running cost, and less ongoing maintenance, electric cars and vans deliver big wins in every category.
By engaging electric vehicles to deliver their products to customers, companies are able to tick all the necessary boxes:
- Fast delivery of products to demanding customers
- Environmentally sustainable solution
- Low cost
If this sounds like a great option for your e-commerce business, but you don’t know where to start, you can book drivers with their own electric vehicles from TempTribe, who offer flat hourly rates without long-term commitments.