Posting in Environment
If your company supports e-commerce options for its customers, you have doubtless explored the idea of offering more than one shipping option th...
If your company supports e-commerce options for its customers, you have doubtless explored the idea of offering more than one shipping option that is priced differently depending on how quickly the item makes it into your hands.
I personally love the Barnes and Noble service, which gives me free shipping if I delay the shipment of new books until all of them are available. I save money (because who doesn't love free stuff), while Barnes and Nobel also cuts its shipping costs -- and helps out the environment with a couple fewer packages.
Which brings me to the point of this blog: the virtues of green shipping.
I was actually pitched on this idea more than a year ago by RedPrairie, a company in Waukesha, Wis., that sells supply chain and retail applications. So I'll provide a brief synopsis, but mostly I'm going to point you to their white paper so you can read more on you own.
It is RedPrairie's contention that retailers can help cut their costs by guiding customers to shipping options that are better for their own bottom line AND that make customers feel better about buying from them. Suppose the following message popped up while you were buying something online:
"Your order is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. However, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 pounds of carbon dioxide, click here and your package will arrive on Thursday instead."
Of course there are times when people desperately need things overnight, but chances are many people would accept that offering if it was related to an item they didn't need right away.
There are definitely investments that a company would have to make in order to make this promise: For one thing, you'll need to know exactly how much carbon will be offset by recommending one shipping option over another, which means you'll need to use a transportation company or service that help you figure this out. This sort of process would also require changes to load balancing and it would mean getting smarter about delivery scheduling, bundling several in one area or even delivering a package outside of business hours.
This is definitely an instance where green can also be smarter. Way smarter.
Aug 4, 2009
One of the biggest problems with ability to offer green shipping has been the difficulty of measuring the footprint of a shipment. There are a number of carbon models that have been developed, but they all require analysis of a package's journey and the weight of the package. There's a new website called greenshipping.com that will calculate your shipment's carbon footprint if you simply enter your tracking number. They have business accounts that let businesses calculate and offset their footprint automatically.