How Retailers Can Reduce the Impact of Black Friday

Black Friday's high volume of transactions leads to a surge in impact. Here are incremental changes that can reduce impact year-on-year.

Retail Industry
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How Retailers Can Reduce the Impact of Black Friday

Black Friday, with its high volume of transactions, leads to a surge in emissions, waste generated and the dispatch of more trucks to meet demands. This spike in production and transportation consumes millions of tons of valuable resources, but incremental changes can be made to help mitigate this before the big day.

Identifying emission hotspots and optimizing business operations and supply chains ahead of peak shopping times helps cut carbon and waste, both on Black Friday and year-on-year. 

So, from adjusting packaging and logistics to promoting circular models, here are our recommendations to optimize your business in preparation for Black Friday.

Guide to Reducing Brand and Retailer Emissions Before Black Friday

Promote pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) locations for deliveries or in-store pick-ups

This helps minimize the impact of last-mile deliveries. In our Climate Impact Report with the leading online second-hand marketplace Vinted, Vaayu found that in 2021, delivering Vinted parcels to a PUDO location instead of to a buyer’s home reduced emissions by 62%. Vinted has since made accelerating the move to PUDO a crucial part of its climate strategy. 

Reduce emissions by consolidating deliveries and optimizing logistics

Consolidating deliveries, moving to lower-impact carriers and reducing or removing express shipping options help optimize logistics emissions. Although it may increase wait time for customers, communicating the emissions-saving potential helps bring them onboard. Vaayu's Logistics Impact Solution was built to help retail brands and businesses gain control of their supply chains and engage their partners to help lower supply chain impact together.

Lower return rates to cut emissions by up to 16%

According to a study by the University of Bamberg, reducing returns can cut emissions by up to 16%. Lower return rates can be achieved through better communicating with customers the impact returns have on an item’s footprint, implementing a charge-to-return scheme and promoting free returns in-store.

Develop a more efficient online shopping experience

Provide detailed size information including measurements, guides for buying items online and virtual ‘try-ons’. As discussed above, reducing returns could cut emissions by up to 16%. In addition, useful B2B2C tech tools like a purpose-built online clothing impact calculator can help shoppers understand impact even before making a purchase.

Switch to lighter or less packaging

Changes to materials, adding less filling and implementing digital invoices make packages lighter, driving down emissions. Our partner Otrium recently switched to an automated packaging machine that makes boxes to the exact size they need to be, reducing emissions per package by saving cardboard and shipping less air. Vaayu is proud to be helping businesses lower their footprint with its dedicated Logistics Impact Solution.

Promote circularity

Use Black Friday as an opportunity to promote any circular business models you operate, such as recommerce, repair or rental as a more sustainable way to shop, and encourage customers to reuse, recycle or refill packaging sent to them. Vaayu is proud to work with businesses that are circular by design, including Vinted and Otrium in Europe and Carousell Group in Asia.

“By having a clearer understanding of your carbon footprint through accurate and real-time data, you can be better prepared for Black Friday this November,” shared Zhulieta Dobcheva, Climate Analyst at Vaayu. “Having crystal clear communication with customers and making impact information more visible helps them understand the impact of their decisions and lower their impact.”

It is important to continually calculate your carbon footprint year after year and set targets for improvement. By optimizing your operations per unit and per delivery and identifying your specific emission hotspots, you can make incremental changes to reduce your environmental impact during peak shopping times like Black Friday. The more you work on reducing your hotspots, the greater the impact will be, helping to mitigate the surge in emissions and waste generated during this intense period of consumerism.

Get in touch to discover how Vaayu is helping partners reduce their impact on Black Friday and throughout the rest of the year.

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