Want to design an ecommerce website that is not only visually appealing but also sustainable? As more consumers become aware of their environmental impact, designing a sustainable ecommerce website can help your business stand out and attract more customers. By incorporating sustainable practices into your website design, you can reduce your carbon footprint, minimise waste and contribute to a better future for our planet.
One of the best ways to design a sustainable ecommerce website is to prioritise energy efficiency. This means optimising your site's code, images and videos to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred between servers and devices. By minimising the amount of energy required to load your site, you can reduce your site's carbon footprint and improve its overall performance. In addition, using renewable energy sources to power your site can further reduce your environmental impact.
Another important aspect of sustainable ecommerce design is to focus on the user experience. By designing a site that is easy to navigate, engaging and informative, you can encourage customers to spend more time on your site and make more informed purchasing decisions.
This includes incorporating features such as search autocomplete, responsive design, high quality product images, descriptions and green shipping options at checkout. By providing a seamless user experience, you can not only improve customer satisfaction but also reduce the likelihood of returns and exchanges, which can contribute to waste.
Why Designing Sustainable E-Commerce Websites is Important
As an e-commerce business owner, you have a responsibility to minimize your environmental impact. Designing a sustainable website is an excellent way to achieve this goal. Here are a few reasons why designing a sustainable e-commerce website is important:
Meeting Consumer Expectations: Consumers today are more environmentally conscious than ever before. They expect businesses to adopt sustainable practices and by doing so, you can meet these expectations and attract environmentally conscious consumers.
Improving Brand Reputation: Designing a sustainable website can improve your brand reputation. By adopting sustainable practices, you can demonstrate your commitment to the environment and attract environmentally conscious consumers. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
UI best practices and examples we've seen within e-commerce sites
When designing an e-commerce site, it's important to consider the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Creating an intuitive, visually appealing site can help attract and retain customers. First and foremost, a sustainable e-commerce site should be designed with simplicity in mind. A cluttered and confusing site can lead to frustration and ultimately drive customers away. By utilizing a clean and simple design, you can create a more enjoyable and streamlined shopping experience for your customers. This can include using a minimalist color scheme, clear and concise navigation, and easy-to-read typography.
Another important aspect of designing a sustainable e-commerce site is to prioritise accessibility. This means making sure that your site is easily navigable and usable for all users, including those with disabilities. This can include providing alt text for images, using clear and legible fonts, and ensuring that your site is compatible with screen readers. By prioritizing accessibility, you can create a more inclusive and welcoming shopping experience for all customers.
A few examples we saw:
A fabulous example of a lightweight eco-conscious website is Organic Basic. For example, they replace photos with simple illustrations of the products. The photo is available on request in some cases, in others it’s not. Is it the right way to run the eCommerce store? I will leave the decision to you. But it’s definitely an amazing statement and proof that it’s possible.
One of the key sustainable features of this brand is the packaging, and lack of plastic. This is integrated into ecommerce really nicely through the subscription model, which is first supplied in indefinitely reusable glass packaging - before following months being delivered and recyclable paper envelopes in order to refill.
The main image on Patagonia's website says it all. Not their products, but their initiative is the main image you see. The UI design is also in line with their sustainability values through simplicity, minimalism and optimised code. They encourage sustainable user behaviour and highlight initiatives that extend the life of their products.
To help you further, here are some useful resources to use for your digital project:
Sustainability Innovation Framework Figma Kit, by Sebastian Gier ✓
The Sustainability Guide: Methods and Design Principles
Ethical Design Resources, by Trine Falbe
Even though environmental sustainability is not a priority of all consumers (yet), there are clear signs that they’re increasingly demanding more eco-friendly products and delivery alternatives. Just take a look at the recent Sustainable Brand Index report, E-commerce Delivery Compass, or Shopify's Future of Commerce.