Zero waste shops are becoming popular around the world and are loved by customers. Can online shops go the same way? We believe so. That’s why we came up with a zero-waste concept for online marketplaces like Carrefour.
Why are zero-waste shops becoming so popular?
The ongoing global debate on resources, energy, and waste that people are producing has inspired many entrepreneurs to change their business models and given life to the first zero-waste stores. Apart from resigning from plastic bags or refusing to provide bags at all, zero waste shops often seek ways to remove any form of unnecessary waste present in their business model. This includes individual wrappers or additional box packages arising from long-distance transportation.
This shift is highly appreciated by customers who are environmentally aware. It also proves to be a thought-provoking alternative for those shoppers who haven’t previously paid that much attention to packaging and sustainability. Thanks to the zero-waste concept, fashion customers learned how to cooperate with local stores and shop with their own bags or packaging.
Although this model works well in many brick-and-mortar stores, it is much harder to implement in online stores. What then eCommerce stores could do instead?
Zero waste concept for eCommerce based on a tracking system
We asked ourselves this question and, together with our Innovation Lab team, we looked for the answer in trending technologies. Of course, online groceries could (and should) look for ways to reduce the quantity of packaging but another concerning problem is products with a short lifespan. This could be easily solved by the same supply monitoring systems that are often used by supermarkets.
We decided to try out one of them and connect it with customers’ devices. Our idea was to let the end customers know about the products that are approaching their best before date and can be purchased at reduced prices.
Our choice was the Supply Chain Management system provided by Samsung. We build it on the example of Carrefour, but the idea itself is universal enough to fit any large grocery store selling online.
How does our concept work?
Step 1: scan products in the store
It starts with the products delivered from warehouses. When they arrive, store management should mark all products with a QR code. Based on the code, products are placed in the supply chain management (SCM) system and tracked in the store.
Step 2: notify users about products approaching the use-by date
An SCM system used in the store gathers information about the product availability and its consumption date. By connecting it with the stores’ mobile application, we enable the possibility to notify users about products with short expiration dates. An additional discount encourages customers to buy.
Step 3: deliver products or allow for collection at the store
Letting customers pick their shopping directly from the store allows you to create an additional opportunity for waste reduction. This way, your customers can pack products in their own bags or unused boxes from the store.
Remember that you can also reduce the amount of plastic packaging used when making deliveries.
Customer convenience with mobile technologies
Using mobile technologies was a conscious step in our design process. Users are more keen to shop online in large cities, where they commute over large distances every day. With the phone in their hand, they get the chance to shop for products in the most convenient way and from the stores they trust. Why not pick up the groceries on the way back home?
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This concept is a part of Divante Innovation Lab.
Published May 11, 2020