Paazl Blog

E-commerce delivery trends 2023: Sustainability will rule.

Time to embrace the inevitable. Sustainable delivery is the rule rather than the exception.

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword in e-commerce delivery. Without a circularity strategy in 2023, merchants will be left behind, suffering from declining conversion and reduced brand equity. 57% of consumers are ready to boycott brands which don’t appear to share their social beliefs. That research also found that consumers are now more likely decide on a purchase based on a brand’s beliefs than they were three years ago.

The trends we wish to highlight all have one thing in common. They revolve around sustainability.

  • 1. Sustainable delivery will beat fast delivery
  • 2. Sustainability will sustain commercial results & brand equity
  • 3. Sustainable Logistics: Recycled and Reusable Packaging will be a key differentiator
  • *Bonus Trends (Scroll for more)

1. Sustainable (delivery) will beat fast (delivery)

Everything is moving fast. Fast-fashion, fast delivery, fast payments, fast returns. None of which are sustainable or responsible.

We start our list of e-commerce delivery trends 2023 with the signing of the European Green Deal, in which brands and retailers alike have been encouraged to invest in sustainable shipping options and packaging. This will likely also lead merchants actively encouraging the choice for greener, and sometimes slower, delivery services.

More brands are offering very clear information about the environmental impact of deliveries at the selection of delivery options in the checkout, including ETA’s to let consumers understand when slower delivery is the greener option. Research has also shown that Pre-selecting the most sustainable option is best, helping consumers to make a greener choice.

There will always be a market for fast, same or next day delivery, especially for those ’emergency’ situations, but for the most part, the expectation for ‘fast’ delivery is slowing down, while the urge for environmentally friendly options is certainly hotting up.

“Brands are offering very clear information about the environmental impact of deliveries at the selection of delivery options in the checkout”

2. Sustainability will sustain commercial results & brand equity

Nearly one in two consumers either do not know what commitments businesses have made that they can trust or simply do not trust businesses on climate change and sustainability issues. The above 2022 study by Deloitte shows a sharp increase in the number of people who have adopted a more sustainable lifestyle in the last 12 months.

Even with staggering financial fears, consumers are willing to spend more to buy from sustainable brands. 52% of consumers say the pandemic made them value sustainability more.

How we expect brands to boost their visibility and brand equity through sustainable delivery:

  • Communicating the option for sustainable delivery before the checkout phase
  • Investing in more environmentally-friendly packaging materials
  • Actively encouraging users to choose more sustainable shipping options during checkout (e.g., “Ship all items together in one package, rather than sending them as they become available”, prioritising and pre-selecting more sustainable delivery options, making sustainable delivery options cheaper or free.)
  • Making it easy for people to return items for recycling or to shop pre-owned items directly from their site
  • Using hyper-local and recognisable sustainable delivery services in each market that they operate in.

3. Sustainable Logistics: Recycled, Reusable & Smart Packaging

Our third items on the list of e-commerce delivery trends 2023 also covers, you guessed it, sustainability. A billion trees are used to produce the cardboard used In the 165 billion packages shipped in the US each year. With larger items becoming more popular online purchases (think furniture, home appliances, and mattresses) and with large package shipping becoming more common, the average size of packaging is increasing.

That is not the only challenge faced: Reusable items by definition need to be returned to the retailer or to some sort of provider, which adds more logistical complexity. Loop is an online shopping platform where brands sell products using packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused by the platform. Brands using the Loop platform are attracting a new conscious audience, as well as promoting responsible consumption.

Finally, effective packaging plays a significant role in the future of sustainable delivery. Using smart packaging solutions to package orders in a way that effectively removes as much room for air as possible means that carriers are able to use vehicle space more efficiently. This also reduces packaging waste, and in some cases, enables retailers to ship products via a cheaper method, like post-box delivery vs. door delivery.

Brands that invest in packaging, re-using and recycling may incur higher costs initially, but this is almost certain to repay itself in satisfied, loyal, environmentally-responsible customers for a longer lifecycle.

“Even with staggering financial fears, consumers are willing to spend more to buy from sustainable brands”

4. Bonus Trends: Shipping Data & using delivery to boost CRO.

Carrier performance and delivery data, as is available when using Paazl’s multi-carrier shipping platform, is enabling merchants to drill down into their shipping strategy and save significant costs. By basing your shipping decisions on actual, real-time shipping data, you are able to quickly pivot during times of capacity issues, or when carriers are not performing optimally.

In terms of optimising conversion rates, this is where you you book huge results by optimising the delivery phase of your checkout. We’ve been saying it for years: “single-carrier is dead”. And this could not be more true when it comes to improving conversion. But multi-carrier shipping only becomes interesting when your consumers are offered choices in the checkout that convinces them to buy with you. Think of things like:

  • Recognisable delivery services per region
  • Sustainable Same or next-day bike services
  • Parcel lockers that consumers can select on a map or by postal code
  • Pickup points or in-store pickup
  • Clear communication about CO2 emissions

2023 e-commerce delivery trends – recap.

We’re convinced that sustainable delivery will be the biggest driver for change in e-commerce organisations in 2023, and we’re excited to play our role in enabling this. Paazl will continue to roll out products and services that make it easy to improve your sustainable delivery offering, and make the delivery phase of your checkout an easy-to-use, conversion-boosting enhancement.

Are you ready to get started with (sustainable) multi-carrier shipping in 2023? Let’s talk:

Paazl is a leading shipping service provider (SSP) for brands & retailers in e-commerce. Its all-in-one, multi-carrier platform unburdens the delivery process across webshop, warehouse, customer service and returns. Paazl enables logistical flexibility, consumer loyalty, cost transparency and (inter)national growth. Customers include industry leaders such as G-Star Raw, Rituals, VanMoof, Tag Heuer, Leenbakker and Under Armour.