Simon Sustainability Report 2020-2021
Return-to-Store Returning goods purchased online back to the store instead of the distribution center reduces carbon emissions by an average of 40% according to recent studies. The same consolidation opportunity also generates significant savings in shipping costs. Additionally, a vast majority of in-store returns are remerchandised in-store, avoiding shipping costs altogether. Instead of customers sending each return separately to the distribution center, in-store returns require no packaging from customers and returns can be consolidated by the store and sent weekly to the distribution center. This saves packaging and travel costs—and reduces the environmental footprint. Encouraging customers to return-to-store also gives brands a better opportunity to save the sale or up-sell. Today 71% of shoppers make a purchase when they return-to-store, far higher than when returning by courier or U.S. mail. Only 7% of our top 100 brands emphasize or promote return-to- store for online retail returns. Brands have an opportunity to positively impact their bottom line and lower their carbon footprint by shifting from a passive return channel strategy to a more proactive one that encourages and incentivizes shoppers to bring returns to store. Simon intends to actively promote the return-to-store strategy with retailers and implement actions that help drive consumers to return their purchases in the stores.
A study conducted by Simon and Deloitte Consulting has shown physical shopping to be up to 60%more environmentally sustainable than digital shopping. Negative environmental impact consequences of digital shopping include increased returns, expedited shipping, and the additional packaging of e-commerce. The lower emissions associated with brick and mortar were driven by shoppers making a greater number of purchases per trip and combining their physical visits with other activities as part of their ‘trip chain.’ Looking at all material, energy, and waste attributable to a product in its life-cycle, the study shows that physical shopping is approximately three times more environmentally sustainable than just a couple of years ago due to changing consumer behaviors. Shopping digitally leads to five times more returns which considerably increases environmental impact. Emissions from packaging for online orders are five times greater than packaging for physical shopping. The original 2016 analysis found online shopping to have a 7% greater greenhouse gas impact than physical shopping for the same basket of goods. Simon updated this analysis to be com- pliant with the life-cycle assessment protocol and revealed a 23% larger greenhouse gas footprint for online shopping than for physical shopping.
less carbon emissions when customers return their purchased goods to the store 40%
of top 100 brands promote return-to-store 7% of shoppers make a purchase when they return-to-store 71%
Get more information on the study here!
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