Tree Planting for e-Commerce 101

It’s true– money does grow on trees.

Trees fall under the ambit of natural capital, which is defined as the world’s repository of natural assets, including air, soil water and all living beings. In today’s conversations around climate change and global warming, deforestation and tree planting are inevitably brought up, and environmental sustainability is on the minds of corporations big and small.

E-commerce and online retail have changed the way the world does business, but more and more challenges have cropped up in the area of sustainability. Packaging used by retailers and changing purchasing habits of consumers have been driving forces in e-commerce stores veering off the wrong end.

However, many believe that retailers must take active steps to make global shopping, delivery, consumption and production more sustainable– some, like Canada’s Loblaws and China’s JD, have already begun the process. This is where Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sustainable business goals and the restoration economy come into the picture.

Today, the restoration economy is booming, and more and more firms are seeing massive growth opportunities in tree planting.

But every business decision must be profitable, so is there money in offering tree planting or tree planting services to customers on your e-commerce store? Short answer, there is. And here’s how to do it:

Place Tree Planting Plugins at Checkout

Checkout is the final stage in a buyer cycle, where customers have all they need in their cart, have made purchase decisions and will follow through with the payment. By placing tree planting services at checkout, like with EcoMatcher’s WooCommerce plugin, you’ve already got your customer in a state of mind where they’re willing to pay, and that’s half the battle won. The costs of a tree (or trees) are probably even lower than shipping prices on some sites!

Reduce Expenses on Corporate Social Responsibility by Planting Forests

CSR is an undertaking that most organisations carry out today, not least to engage with customers more and come off as environmentally aware. However, most CSR programmes can cost an arm and a leg, especially when done at an organisational level. That said, private e-commerce companies can not sit back and watch as governments pull the load. Partnering with firms like EcoMatcher is a much more cost-effective way to play this out responsibly. By offering tree planting and tree adoption services to customers, e-commerce stores will not only tick a few CSR boxes, but also make some profits off the sales.

Tailor Your Tree Planting Pitch and Branding to the Target Audience

Aside from the fact that they’re beautiful, trees have a lot more benefits that impact humans on individual levels. Planting trees increases the number of jobs, protects biodiversity and last but not least limits global climate change. Plug these benefits in when you’re branding your tree-planting offer, so that you make an impact and generate more sales.

This sales tactic will extend the scope of the offer far beyond profit — it generates an emotional response in the customer, leading them to feel like they are a part of something bigger, just by adding a few dollars to their order.

The More You Invest in Tree Planting, the More Returns

At EcoMatcher, the more you invest, the better your margins. Our new WooCommerce plugin allows e-commerce stores to install a simple ‘Plant a Tree’ at checkout. Trees will be assigned to customers based on the ‘stock’ of trees you’ve purchased– you can buy a handful or even plant a complete forest with a minimum of 1000 trees!

Cross-Sell Tree Planting with Other Products

Cross selling means pitching products to customers that are similar to what they’ve bought or are currently buying. If you’re selling anything remotely sustainable, like reusable water bottles or cloth bags, then you’ve hit the jackpot. All you need to do is pitch tree planting to the customer as they add the main product to cart or at checkout.

If you’re selling other products, cross-selling a tree may be a challenge, but not one that you can’t rise to. Consider pairing it with a positive, inspiring message to convince the customer that they’re making a change while going about their regular shopping.

Come Off as Transparent to Customers with Tree Planting

As a turnkey solution, tree planting services can be integrated into existing business systems with nary a hiccup. What’s most beneficial is that an e-commerce store looking to plant trees more often than not comes off as environmentally aware and sustainably active. With the entire scramble to offset climate change, customers are more than willing to participate in campaigns such as these, which come at a smaller cost. The trust that is forged between customers and these e-commerce stores will drive engagement, brand loyalty and sales in the long run.

Customised and personalised trees are a great way to involve customers directly in the process other than paying a few dollars extra. Partnering with companies like EcoMatcher, that use technology and apps to virtually transport customers to the tree they bought, is a foolproof way to fuel engagement from other repeat and first-time customers.

It’s also a call-to-action for other hesitant small and medium businesses to take decisive steps towards actioning climate change and global warming while being profitable.

Conclusion

There’s no reason why capitalism can’t drive and deliver social and environmental change. However, natural capital has always been highly undervalued as investment or profit-making avenues that bloom directly off of giving back to the environment.

The magnitude of the win-win situation is not apparent enough; however, if e-commerce stores take the first step towards planting trees and reaping some profits, then there’s more to go around.

There are big profits in the restoration economy, and investing time and effort in saving the planet is naturally the done thing.

By offering trees for sale and championing environmental sustainability through an e-commerce platform, businesses will not just make headway on sustainable development goals, but also make it profitable.

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Bas Fransen, CEO EcoMatcher

EcoMatcher connects companies, communities, and consumers through trustworthy and transparent tree-planting.