If you have a passion for all things eco-friendly, you’re in good company. A quick search on Google Trends will reveal that millions of us worldwide are looking for ways to make our lifestyles more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Whether you’re looking for products made from recycled materials or checking on your favourite brand’s eco-credentials, you will find that — far from being a niche "nice to have" benefit — eco-friendliness is becoming a main selling point across all industries. Dropshipping eco-friendly products has gone mainstream.
In fact, a survey by McKinsey and Co found that more than 60% of people now go out of their way to buy from eco-friendly retailers.
So, if you’re thinking about adding eco-friendly products to your existing online store or even starting up a new online shop from scratch, this post will take you through how you can source and sell eco-friendly products via dropshipping.
Choosing your greener product line
As little as just a few years ago, the general public’s idea of what constituted an eco-friendly product was very limited in scope.
Fashioned from recycled materials, organic, free of GMOs - this was the main extent of what passed for environmentally friendly, in most consumers’ eyes.
However, in recent years, our definition and the methodology of eco-friendly products has broadened. It now includes recycled and GMO-free products as well as reusable, biodegradable, ethically, and sustainably sourced goods.
This expanding classification means that all retailers, no matter what they have a passion for selling, can make sure that their products impact the environment in as small a way as possible.
Just type in "eco-friendly" into the AliExpress Marketplace search bar, and you will see thousands of products carrying this tag. If you’re looking into becoming an eco-entrepreneur, all you have to do is take your pick of the items that appeal to you:
- If you’re into beauty products, you can look into selling reusable makeup remover pads or biodegradable toothbrushes.
- For fitness fanatics, reusable water bottles or towels made from recycled materials could work well for your online brand.
- Foodies might like to look into branding a line of eco-friendly tote bags and bento boxes as a way to appeal to customers.
Even if you’re an existing online shop owner in a niche you already love, the advantages of eco-friendly products is that you can still give your customers the benefits of ‘doing their bit for the environment’ by offering eco-friendly packaging solutions for the items they buy.
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The easiest way to set up an online store
Once you have picked your retail niche and thought about the kinds of eco products you wish to sell, the easiest way to set up an online retail business is to consider using a dropship fulfillment service such as AliDropship or Shopify.
Dropshipping essentially is a business model where you set up a retail website, and all orders are processed by a third party who stocks and ships the products on your behalf. So, if you are starting as an online retailer and have no space or money for pre-ordering batches of products or have no idea how many units of a product you will sell, dropshipping can help you alleviate all of these concerns. You only pay your suppliers for the individual items you sell, and they handle the warehousing, branding and shipping for you.
What are the advantages of dropshipping?
Aside from being a low-cost way of setting up an online store, dropshipping is also an increasingly popular and globally recognised retail model. This means that the process for setting up a dropshipping store has also been streamlined in recent years. This increase in online support has made it a straightforward business venture for those looking to start a side hustle from home.
- Dropshipping platforms like AliDropship offer you a dedicated account manager to guide you through the setup process from start to finish.
- Many platforms offer additional services as plugins, so if you want to turn your WordPress blog into a retail site, you could do this with just a few clicks.
- By sourcing your products from recognised manufacturers, you can ensure that the goods you buy are high-quality.
- If a product isn’t selling well, you can change suppliers or switch up designs quickly.
- By accepting payments from all over the world, you can make money while you sleep.
- You can view and manage your customer orders from a mobile app in some instances.
But is dropshipping eco-friendly?
If you are using a marketplace like AliExpress to source your products, you can find a vast array of manufacturers from all over the world. A crucial part of keeping any brand sustainable is ensuring that your products — from the moment that a customer clicks ‘buy now’, to the moment they receive the order — create as little environmental impact as possible.
So, if your supplier is based in Singapore and your customer is located in Australia, the delivery journey of your goods would be just a short boat ride. In comparison, if your product supplier was UK-based and your customer was in Australia, the lengths your product would have to travel would incur a significantly larger carbon footprint.
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