Do customers want speedier deliveries? Or do they need greener ones?

Faster shipping is always better, right? I mean, why else would every major fulfillment company on Earth be pushing so hard to reach the coveted, holy-grail of online deliveries—the same-day delivery?

It’s something consumers are willing to pay a premium for. It’s the main selling point for Amazon Prime memberships.

Does that mean that it’s consumers’ most important factor when it comes to shipping?

Maybe not, according to a new survey by consulting firm West Monroe Partners. The survey, as reported in Modern Materials Handling, states that the majority of consumers may actually place sustainability ahead of speed when it comes to fulfillment orders.

Speed vs. Green

According to the Need for Green or Need for Speed Survey, “more than half of e-commerce consumers (54%) are willing to pay at least 5% higher prices for products ordered online if they are delivered sustainably, and 76% would wait at least one extra day for climate-friendly transport.”

This finding flies right in the face of our current conventional wisdom on shipping. Weren’t  price and speed supposed to be the two most important factors when it comes to shipping? It seems that not only do consumers want more sustainable deliveries, but over half of them are willing to spend more and wait longer for them.

The problem is that right now, most consumers aren’t even presented with that option. The managing director of Supply Chain at West Monroe Partners, Yves Leclerc, says that the carbon footprint of shipping a next day order may be “as much as 30 times greater than if the consumer simply drove to the store to buy the same item.”

What do we do with this information?

It seems to me that there is a fairly large market segment of e-commerce customers right now that is going completely unserviced when it comes to shipping—this segment could be classified as environmentally conscious, and could be larger than 50% of the current market. They want to know that their packaging and shipping are delivered with as little impact to the environment as possible.

I’m pretty sure there’s some good PR for the first companies that can adequately service this environmentally conscious segment of customers. And it’s probably for the best that we all start looking for greener shipping solutions sooner rather than later, because Leclerc says that “regulatory impacts in coming years will likely force corporations to pursue greener logistics, perhaps including electric- or natural gas-powered vehicles for last-mile delivery.”

That may be scary for some fulfillment managers, but it’s not for me. When consumers, businesses, and the government all agree that more sustainable supply chains are in the country’s best interests, we have the potential to make some revolutionary changes to the way we ship products.

We try to do our part at Packsize by making sure that each box shipped is as small as possible. Smaller boxes means that more packages can fit on each delivery truck and airplane, which in turn means that less trucks are needed to make the same amount of deliveries. This reduction in transportation carbon footprint is just one of the many ways that Packsize’s On Demand Packaging® can help you achieve a more sustainable supple chain.

Want to know what On Demand Packaging® can do for you? Our latest infographic white paper seeks to answer that question. You can download it by clicking the button below: