How to Be a More Sustainable Wall-art Business with Print-on-demand?
From sustainably sourced prints to recycled canvas wall art, the demand for eco-friendly products is on the rise. And as sustainability continues to factor into consumers’ purchasing decisions, it’s becoming increasingly clear that running a sustainable business is no longer just a ‘nice to have’.
According to the GreenPrint Business of Sustainability Index 2022, 78% of US adults want to support eco-friendly companies but don’t know how to identify them while 75% are concerned about the environmental impact of the products they buy.
The good news is that if you’re a print-on-demand seller, then you’re already off to a great start. Printing products on demand is more environmentally friendly than traditional production methods, which often leads to overproduction and adds to greenhouse gas emissions as a result.
Better yet, there are plenty more ways in which you can encourage sustainable consumption as a print-on-demand merchant – from selling eco-friendly artwork in your Shopify store to investing in sustainable packaging. Read on for our tips on how to be a more sustainable wall art business.
Sustainable wall art products for business growth
Being a sustainable business behind the scenes is a big green flag, but why stop there? Offering eco-friendly products in your store is a great way to attract new customers and enables your existing customer base to shop more sustainably. And with 66% of US consumers willing to pay more for sustainable products, you can justify adding a higher markup.
The demand for eco-friendly products is huge. SEO (search engine optimization) tool Semrush tells us that 33.2k people searched for the term ‘eco-friendly products’ on the day this blog post was written, in addition to 19.8k people who also searched for ‘sustainable products’.
Products such as sustainably sourced prints, recycled canvas wall art, and fine art papers printed using water-based inks are perfect for introducing some sustainable art to your print-on-demand store.
Tip: Traceability is key. Deloitte’s 2022 sustainability survey revealed that 35% of respondents want companies to be more transparent about their eco credentials. When making any green claims on your website, i.e. signposting products as containing recycled content, it’s important to verify these claims through third-party certification schemes, such as Intertek's Recycled Content Verification program.
Environmentally friendly packaging
Society has a real plastic problem on its hands. It’s estimated that the world produces 141mn tonnes of plastic packaging a year, resulting in approximately 1.8bn tonnes of carbon emissions annually. And with some plastics taking up to 450 years to break down, finding sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics is essential, and consumers are in agreement.
The 2021 Global Buying Green Report found that 55% of consumers associate plastic with being harmful while 57% said they would be less likely to buy products with packaging that’s damaging to the environment.
Luckily, sustainable packaging isn’t hard to come by these days and can even work out cheaper than plastic packaging. And there are a number of sustainable packaging solutions out there too, with ideas ranging from compostable mailer bags and recyclable cardboard boxes to returnable packaging.
Tip: Whichever sustainable packaging options you choose for your products, we recommend placing some sample orders first so that you can assess the packaging for yourself and make sure everything checks out. Keep an eye out for things like bubble wrap, sticky tape, and polystyrene chips, all of which are types of plastic packaging.
Fulfill orders closer to your customers
A recent study by Oliver Wyman and LAE (Logistics Advisory Experts) found that e-commerce generates almost three times less CO2 than physical retail stores – and moving your business online isn’t the only thing that’s better for the environment.
Being more selective over where your products are fulfilled can also help minimize your business’s carbon footprint, since fulfilling orders closer to your customers reduces the amount of time packages spend in transit. To put it another way, shorter shipping distances mean less environmental impact (not to mention cheaper delivery costs).
Our advice? Look for a fulfillment partner that not only has a global presence and can pick, print, pack and ship your orders on demand, but also one that shares the same core values as your business, particularly in terms of sustainability. Whether they operate in the background or not, your fulfillment partner is essentially an extension of your brand, so it’s crucial that you’re both on the same page.
Tip: Along with business compatibility, you might also want to consider the quality of your potential fulfillment partner’s products, the suitability of their pricing and shipping rates, the level of customer support they provide, and any other services or solutions they offer, e.g. app integrations, free mockups, etc.
To sum up, Shopify print-on-demand wall art sellers are perfectly positioned to capitalize on a sustainable business model, and incorporating eco-friendly products, sustainable packaging, and local fulfillment can really help strengthen your reputation as an eco-friendly brand.
And remember, customers don’t expect perfection, but they do expect transparency. Greenwashing – a type of marketing spin used by companies in an attempt to appear more environmentally friendly than they are – can cause your business to lose both credibility and customers, with a recent Retail Technology Show report revealing that 50% of consumers refuse to buy from retailers who are perceived to be greenwashing.