Need Some Extra 'Green?' Starting An Eco-Friendly E-Commerce Business Is Easier Than You ThinkU.S. e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion and is steadily climbing. That’s largely due to the fact that current statistics show that more than half of Americans — 51% — are now choosing to shop at online retailers as opposed to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. What’s more is that shoppers are becoming more conscious of eco-friendly business practices, with one-third of consumers buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact, according to an international study by Unilever.

With these fascinating statistics in mind, it’s easier than you might think to get started with an e-commerce business of your very own. You’ll have the freedom to set your own hours — within reason — as well as hone your craft, whether it be sewing, jewelry-making, woodworking, or just about any other type of art. About 67% of professionals agree that working remotely is productive, and if you feel as though you’re ready to start your own e-commerce centered business, here are a few steps to help you get started while keeping both productivity and eco-friendliness in mind.

Finalize Business Name And Type

First and foremost, you’ll want to finalize both the name of your business and what products it sells. If you’re having trouble figuring out these major details, think about what’s popular now. For example, the U.S. apparel market is expected to grow to an estimated value of $385 billion by 2025, and selling organic cotton and other materials can serve as a major selling point for eco-conscious consumers, who are becoming more and more aware of the chemicals associated with heavy pesticide use. Considering that cotton has long been considered as the ‘world’s dirtiest crop,’ clean cotton is often associated with increased sustainability and can even come with some health improvements, such as fewer allergy symptoms and attacks.

Register Business And Domain Names

Once you’ve decided on a catchy and appealing business name, get it registered as the proper business entity as soon as possible. Then, you can secure your website’s domain name. Ideally, it should be the same as your business, but if not, be creative and settle on a close alternative.

If you’re having trouble deciding where to host your site, consider some of the many web design and management solutions dedicated to e-commerce businesses, such as Shopify, which enables business owners to establish a custom domain name and virtual storefront.

Get Licensed

After you register your business as either an LLC or corporation, it’s time to get an EIN (employer identification number) so that you can open a business bank account and file your business taxes next tax season. Even if you don’t plan on having employees, you’ll still need an EIN.

Choose Vendors Carefully

When it comes time to choose vendors, local vendors are typically associated with eco-friendliness due to the reduced travel expenses. However, with the endless competition that you’ll inevitably face from other e-commerce businesses, it’s important to do as much as you can to help your business sell itself. This means investing in high-quality supplies from reputable vendors. Don’t hesitate to take your time researching vendors until you come to a solution that meets your budgetary and eco-friendly needs.

Opt For Eco-Friendly Packaging

Finally, it’s important to keep green packaging in mind if you’re marketing your business on the fact that it uses sustainable practices. Sustainable packaging comes in many forms, but it has to meet a few requirements in order to officially be considered eco-friendly. Your main goals when looking for eco-friendly packaging should be to reduce the overall amount of packaging needed, use more renewable materials, forego the use of hazardous materials or toxins, and prioritize ease of recycling. Corn starch, paper and cardboard, and bubble wrap made from polyethylene, for example, are all suitable forms of eco-friendly packaging.

This isn’t a complete guide to getting your e-commerce business of the ground; you’ll still have the creative challenges of social media marketing and overall brand development. However, if you can keep these tips in mind, your e-commerce business will be well on its way to truly being ‘green and clean!’

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