Consumers have gotten used to fast shipping times, but at a considerable environmental cost. How can companies to persuade buyers to wait longer for packages without alienating them—and to lower companies’ delivery costs and carbon footprints at the same time?
In The Wall Street Journal, MIT CTL's Josué Velázquez Martínez and Ken Cottrill write that the right messaging and approach to sustainability can make a big difference.
The research was carried out in collaboration with Coppel, one of Mexico’s leading retailers. It included about 1,000 customer surveys. Overall, 70% of the consumers surveyed were willing to delay home deliveries by approximately five days if given an environmental incentive to do so at the time of purchase.
Their willingness to wait was heavily influenced by how the environmental impact of deliveries was expressed. The most powerful message provided information on the number of trees saved by choosing a slower delivery option, rather than the amount of carbon emissions avoided. Around 90% of respondents accepted slower deliveries when they were told about the trees, compared with 40% of those who were told about reduced emissions.
But the right messaging is only half of the equation. Companies also need a delivery system capable of supporting a greener mix of delivery options.