The Internet has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades and with it, the E-Commerce platforms have witnessed a massive rise. Especially post the pandemic, more consumers are moving towards online purchases due to the convenience and comfort of shopping from home. In India, almost every individual owns a smartphone. Thanks to the affordability, the tech savvy population of India are inclined towards online shopping. Amazon and Flipkart are the key stakeholders of the e-commerce segment with steady competition at each end to attract consumers. As of February 2022, there are 658 million active Internet users in India. With the current statistics, it seems that the government’s goal to achieve a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025 is not a far-fetched dream anymore.
With this information in hand, it is interesting to look into the different groups of people who are active members of the online shopping fraternity.
- First there are the impulse buyers who are known to be the most volatile. The impulse buyer does not become a loyal customer because they are drawn towards the latest trends and social norms.
- Second comes the discount seekers, who hunt for bargains. This type of consumer is looking for low prices over quality, sustainability and customer service. Research tells us that the discount seekers are the majority of the online shoppers that cover 67%of online consumers.
- The third type are the need-based shoppers who buy based on their needs. These consumers are able to make quick decisions and are more likely to build a strong bond with a brand as they are well informed about what they want and who offers the best quality.
- Fourth comes the loyal customers who contribute to the longevity of a brand to succeed. Every brand aims to have a base of loyal customers who trust the brand to give them exactly what they are looking for.
- Lastly, there are the wandering customers who are interested in the shopping experience but will not make the purchase because there is no need here. They add products to the wish list and compare prices until they realize that they don’t want the product anymore.
Now that you have an idea of the various kinds of shoppers, it’s time for you to reflect on which one you are. Once you have made up your mind, we have more important things to discuss. Moving forward, what we would like to ask you is – Are you a conscious consumer? Yes, this is the important stuff. For you to check yourself, we have a few questions below to introspect.
- Do you think before you buy or do you instinctively add items to your cart while browsing after a stressful day for that dopamine hit?
- Have you considered looking local and supporting small business owners instead of ordering from miles away which burns a lot of fuel, adding to an increased carbon footprint?
- Do you pick quantity over quality? Cheap products are attractive but they do not last long, hence this causes a lot of damage to the environment while manufacturing and disposing of the item.
- Have you taken into consideration what goes behind a brand that has low prices? They often exploit their employees and these marginalized communities often face discrimination.
- Do you opt for cardboard boxes and paper bags instead of single-use plastic packaging?
Here’s the good bit! Online shopping can actually contribute to an eco-friendly environment and there are ways for you to aid the same. According to the New York Times, Wirecutter blog, Miguel Jaller, an associate professor of Civil Engineering at UC Davis and co-director of the School’s Sustainable Freight Research Centre said, “ E-commerce is not evil. The evil comes from the abuse of e-commerce, because it’s so convenient that we are abusing this opportunity to have a really nice and eco-friendly option that consolidates cargo.”
But first, who is a conscious consumer? A conscious consumer is a person who is mindful and looks beyond the label. They educate themselves about the brand, their practices and their vision before making a purchasing decision. A conscious consumer aligns with brands that are environmentally friendly, gender inclusive, sustainable and support fair wages to employees with good working conditions. Below are a few tips on how you can transition into a conscious consumer to continue shopping with a guilt free experience.
- Make bulk purchases– In this manner, you help save fuel during transportation.
- Pay attention to packaging– Be more aware of the kind of packaging and avoid excessive packaging that uses plastic and bubble wrap.
- Be more considerate– Sometimes there are situations where minor damages can occur during the delivery stages. Instead of sending it back, it is best to ignore the unharmed conditions, thereby saving plastic and fuel for repackaging.
- Recycle the packaging– There are over 500 billion plastic bags being consumed each year which contributes to the deterioration of the planet. The soil, the forests and the oceans are highly contaminated with plastics and hence the recycling process helps save the environment.
- Ditch disposables– This can contribute to a massive shift. Disposable items like plastic bottles and plates are extremely harmful for the environment. It is best that you switch to eco-conscious sustainable alternatives.
- Be open to paying more a few times– Higher prices mostly means higher quality. This ensures that the product lasts longer or that sustainable products are used to create the product itself.
- Consume less and buy products that you are in need of– It is easy to be swayed into buying everything you come in contact with. But this often gives rise to hoarding. Buying a product once that you never have to buy again reduces carbon footprint.
- Research your product– It is always good to do a background check of the brand you are consuming from. Purchasing from Fair Trade businesses contributes to the society at large by helping the extended circle of people.
All in all, being a conscious consumer curbs the effect of human waste and pollution on the Earth. The climate crisis is looming over us and if we can do our small bit, it can lead to an impactful change. A mindful consumer also hinders the need for mass consumption which is the primary reason for the degradation of the environment. You can take small steps by inculcating decisions that have an overall positive environmental, social and economic impact.
At IRIDA, you can now shop for sustainable products that are eco-friendly and our packaging is done in a mindful manner that contributes to much lesser waste than the regular. We are taking responsible action towards saving nature and now it is in your hands as a global citizen to do your bit and help make the world a better place.
Be a conscious consumer and you’re on the right path to protecting our beautiful planet.