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Woman unboxing a sustainable delivery of beauty and cosmetic products

The Beauty of Sustainable Delivery Options

  • Patrick Lowe

In eCommerce, Sustainable Delivery and Sustainable Beauty Should Go Hand in Hand

The demand for sustainable beauty products and processes is increasing rapidly. Clean and sustainable beauty has become big business, but does sustainability end at the virtual checkout?

The modern consumer has grown to expect elevated packaging and fast delivery times, which can present challenges when it comes to being sustainable. Unboxing videos have never been more popular. Considering these often act as free advertising, it’s understandable that presentation and brand awareness needs to be a key feature.

However, there are many ways to implement a sustainable approach throughout the post-purchase experience, without compromising on branding. So how can we find the balance between creating that personalized and branded experience, while embracing sustainable delivery options?

Personalized and Branded Packaging

Sustainable delivery options don’t have to come at the cost of losing brand awareness. For example, at PFS we have clients who utilize branded paper padding and printed cardboard packaging, all recyclable options. There are many packaging options that include branding and customization. Who is to say that sustainable can’t still look chic?

Beauty products are often synonymous with luxury, and that doesn’t have to change just because a brand has opted for recycled cardboard. Consumers are highly likely to appreciate your empowering them to be more eco-friendly, while still ensuring they receive their favorite sustainable beauty items.

As Simple as Ticking a Box

Retailers can include a simple tick box option at checkout, allowing their customers to opt for more sustainable delivery and packaging options.

Most customers will appreciate the transparency and honesty of a brand that is trying to improve the sustainability of its operation. Providing information at check-out regarding your efforts concerning the environment, even just a short message about your strategy – will educate and inform your customers and increase their connection to your brand. This will also go some way to creating a holistic approach throughout the brands’ online shopping process.

Right Size Packaging

By making a conscious effort to reduce packaging, brands can make a major difference, to the environment and the bottom line.

Benefits of Right Size Packaging:

  • Reduction of packaging waste
  • Better protection during transport – resulting in fewer returns
  • The ability to fit more packages onto the delivery trucks
  • Minimizing the required storage space for packing material – less is less
  • Increasing the sustainable delivery options they provide to customers

QR Codes

By placing a QR (quick response) code on a branded box, brands can encourage further engagement without the need for additional marketing materials, thus improving upon sustainable delivery credentials.

How best to use QR codes to engage with customers:

  • Ensure the QR code is unmissable, by making it easy to scan the code and placing it in an easy-to-spot place.
  • Make sure the web page that the code links to is fully up-to-date and functional. Provide all information needed to allow the customer to dispose of the packaging in a sustainable way.
  • Use the extra click-through as an opportunity to leave a review, offer promotions and more.

Pick Up and Drop Off

As their customers go about their daily lives, brands can provide them with the option of including parcel pickup with another journey.

Benefits of Pick up and Drop off Locations:

  • Reduce carbon emissions – Trucks can drop multiple items from local addresses to one location rather than multiple stops at many homes.
  • Eradicate failed delivery attempts – This includes the cost of re-delivering at another time.
  • Create more flexibility with delivery – No more waiting around the house all day for a package.
  • Simplify returns – Items can simply be dropped back to the location, once again reducing the need for multiple pick-ups.

The Right Information Can Limit Returns

Returns can be a tricky subject. It is all too easy to over-buy knowing that what is not suitable can be returned, especially with buy now, pay later schemes as customers often aren’t even parting with any cash while they make up their mind.

But returns are not exactly eco-friendly, they mean more traffic on the roads, more logistics and processing, and often, those products don’t even make it back onto the shelves. It is often cheaper for retailers to simply destroy returns altogether. So what options are there?

  • Helpful imagery – Ensure that beauty products are shown on a wide range of skin tones and that the color and tone are accurately portrayed.
  • Information is key – Product descriptions should include as much detail as possible. Fewer surprises result in fewer returns.
  • Product reviews – Include reviews on your product page with prompts to share size, color, etc. Allowing your customers to be honest shows consumers you have confidence in your products.

Through reducing the volume of returns, sustainability initiatives will see improvement, costs will be reduced and if the above strategies are implemented, then customer experience will also remain positive.

Improving upon sustainable delivery is ultimately a team effort. Consumers can make sustainable choices if brands offer suitable and achievable options.


Patrick Lowe

Patrick is Area Vice President of Business Management at PFS. Applying his extensive knowledge of end-to-end eCommerce solutions across verticals, Patrick leads our Business Managers in fulfilling our company mission to create exceptional client and customer experiences.

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