Green eCommerce


In recent years, online shopping has increased rapidly. Currently, this trend is also being fuelled by the Covid 19 pandemic and, according to many experts, will continue unabated in the future. As a result, e-commerce in the B2C sector recorded record figures in 2021 in terms of turnover (9.6 billion euros, cf. Handelsverband Österreich 2021a) and in terms of postal parcels delivered (76.5 million euros in the first quarter, cf. Rundfunk und Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH 2021). However, this flood of parcels goes hand in hand with the many negative consequences of a rapidly growing volume of goods transport on the last mile, which manifest themselves in traffic jams, noise pollution, air pollution and a decreasing quality of stay in public spaces.

Many study authors come to the conclusion that online shopping usually only has a better ecological balance than shopping in stationary retail stores under optimal framework conditions (e.g. promotion of collective orders, climate-friendly means of transport and avoidance of return shipments and same-day deliveries). However, the CEP situation is currently characterised by frequent multiple deliveries, climate-damaging and underutilised means of transport and, above all, high return rates, which amount to up to 47% in the clothing sector (Handelsverband Österreich 2021a). On the demand side, the situation is aggravated by the fact that end consumers in online shops are often offered no or only very limited climate-friendly delivery options, which contradicts the increasing sustainability awareness (EHI Retail Institute 2021) of many end customers.

This is where the preventive and customer-oriented approach of the "Green eCommerce" research project comes in. For the existing online shops of the participating partners, contextually tailored add-ons based on behavioural, technology-based and logistical interventions are designed, developed and tested in practice. With the help of a unique combination of a gamified loyalty system that rewards users for high compliance, persuasive design principles that are characterised by visually highlighting regional products with short delivery routes or collective orders, as well as AI-supported fitting tools and chat bots that automatically measure clothing sizes and point out environmentally friendly delivery options, customers are encouraged to shop more consciously - in the sense of a traffic shift, traffic avoidance and a traffic optimisation.

Through the active participation of the practical partners Julius Meinl am Graben, Das Gramm, kauftregional and ZERUM, the innovative add-ons can be tested comprehensively and practically for different objectives, target groups and different product groups in real operations over several months. In addition, the integration of the innovative logistics service "Green to Home'' from logistics partner New Mobility Enterprise makes it possible to analyse the entire process between online shop operators - online end consumers - CEP service providers. Thus, this holistic approach generates new and in-depth insights into the acceptance, suitability and impact of innovative interventions in online shops.

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