Bridge the Sustainability Gap for your Business

As the world is confronted with growing sustainability challenges, many small sustainable businesses are persevering among problems of inadequate resources. Most of them want to expand their operations and improve their profitability. 

Even if your company provides a service rather than a tangible product, there are various possibilities to be environment-friendly. But, regardless of your efforts, you are likely to face certain obstacles to become sustainable. 

Specific strategy approaches can be used to achieve growth objectives. The techniques through which a corporation expands its business are heavily dependent on the organisation’s framework, and the boundaries within which it makes decisions.

This article aims to assist with a few strategies in taking your business to the next level, dodging challenges as you go! 

The business strategies here are divided into two categories: Product Distribution and Business Development.

Product Distribution Strategies

You may face product distribution challenges when channel partners lack product or market experience. These issues could be overcome with the help of the strategies below. The strategies mentioned here assist business owners in offering their products to end users with minimal effort.

  1. Partnering with Delivery Service Providers

Delivery partners can be considered while shipping a product from one place to another. Courier services have become extremely important for businesses, and even for individuals, owing to the pandemic. For some companies, courier services are the only human contact with customers. 

Some of the low-cost delivery companies which can play a crucial role in a business’ delivery chain are as follows:

  • Shiprocket
    It ships to every nook and cranny of India at reasonable costs. For instance, the price range may vary from Rs. 40 to Rs. 70, depending on the receiver’s location.
  • Delhivery
    It’s price range is determined by the location and weight of the goods. Standard Delivery (time ranges from two to eight days) costs Rs. 225 for a small parcel (500g to 2kg), whereas Express Delivery (around one day as the product is shipped via air couriers) costs Rs. 350. 
  • Shyplite (Application & Website)
    It uses carriers such as Delhivery, Blue Dart Express, and others to deliver the items. It charges around Rs. 40-50 for each parcel to be shipped.  This is less expensive than what the carriers individually charge. 
  • Nimbus Post
    Nimbus Post has various plans and offers to suit the unique needs of every business such as

Starter – Starts at Rs. 27/500 gm

Standard – Starts at Rs. 25/500 gm

Enterprise – Starts at Rs. 24/500 gm

Enterprise Pro – Customised Shipping Price.

  1. Instagram for Direct Selling

Instagram appears to be a great platform for long-term growth and development of a company. It can particularly help in the initial stages since it has evolved into a global platform. 

Instagram allows companies to humanise and exhibit their products while interacting with their customers. Its users are not just active — they are engaged. 

  • Several features are available to market your products, like the use of Carousel advertisements that appear both in-feed and within Instagram Stories, have a call-to-action button or swipe up link that directs people straight to your website. 
  • You can also use a variety of trending songs and hashtags for your Reels and IGTVs displaying your current collection, and generate highlights to indicate which things are sold and which are still available. When compared to starting a website, this will save money. 
  • Once the firm has gained traction, a website can be developed to help it grow further. You can then build a live store for users by using Instagram posts and stories. Costs and materials utilised in the products can be tagged, and their images can be posted. 
  1. Effortless-Delivery 

An e-commerce aggregator, also known as shipping or logistics or courier aggregator, is a company having pre-existing ties with multiple logistics companies. 

An aggregator allows you to select from an existing list of logistics partners and quickly tie up with multiple partners at seemingly low rates. Most of the delivery partners come to collect the package or material at your doorstep and then deliver it to the customer. 

It’s suitable to connect with such aggregators when your business has reached a large volume of sales. Some aggregators are listed below – 

E-Commerce AggregatorsFounded InArea Pin Code Serviceability Number of Courier PartnersDelivers Worldwide
ECourierz201521,000+20Yes
iThink Logistics201626,000+10No, Only in India
Pickrr201527,000+10No, Only in India
ShipDroid201620,000+3No, Only in India
ShipKaro201720,000+13Yes
Ship Rocket201227,000+17Yes
ShipYaari201325,000+Yes
Shyplite201626,000+16Yes
Silver Arrow201227,000+10 Yes
Rocketbox201528,000+7No, Only in India
Vamaship201527,000+10Yes
Shipping Aggregators in India

Business Development Strategies 

Business development strategies are a collection of discrete tasks aimed at developing growth potential within a company or between two or more companies. The strategies listed below can help make any product better appealing while also being environmentally friendly.

  1. Green Packaging

The creation and usage of green packaging (also known as sustainable packaging) results in enhanced sustainability. However, several green businesses seem to make frequent packaging mistakes. 

To save money, they may resort to low-cost methods, such as plastic pouches, which contradict the entire aim of their business. Some materials, such as cardboard boxes, have a low environmental impact, while others, such as plastic and Styrofoam, do not biodegrade or aren’t recyclable. Furthermore, consumer packaging, such as the rings surrounding soda cans and bottles, adds to the waste stream. 

For both producers and consumers, green packaging materials are a better option. Unlike synthetic chemical-laden materials, these are often free of hazardous byproducts that cause physical health issues. 

To make sustainable packaging a goal, you can use bio-waste from a nearby Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market) as fillers. This includes shredded, dry banana leaves as well as rice straw or wheat straw (hay) – generally used for packaging mangoes and commonly used as cow fodder. For packing boxes, jute rope, cloth, and other materials may come in handy.

Here are some more options:

  • Newspaper Packaging

To make the packaging more attractive, use newspaper, brown paper, or a colossal paper magazine. Paper recycling benefits the environment by preventing pollution and disposal of garbage in landfills. When newspapers are recycled, emissions are not released into the atmosphere. This type of packaging solidifies your concern for the environment.

  • Cardboard Packaging

For heavier items, cardboard packaging could be used. Paper tape or jute threads can also be considered. Tape can be made of paper or cellulose. Both these materials are derived from trees, making them renewable resources. Paper and cellulose tapes, as well as cardboard boxes are recyclable and biodegradable.

  • Seed Papers

Seed papers, which are available at a cheaper cost, can be used by the producer to create appealing packaging. Seed paper is environmentally beneficial. It’s manufactured from recycled paper waste converted into pulp, implanted with pollinator-friendly wildflower/ vegetable/ herb seeds, pressed and printed into zero-waste alternatives as virgin paper products. 

Virgin paper is made from trees that are over 450 years old and rich in biodiversity, and it originates from old-growth forests. It’s also compostable, so it leaves no waste behind when planted, just gorgeous plants.

  1. Collaboration with ventures having a similar vision as the client

Tie up or collaborate with brands on Instagram that share a similar objective and operate on a smaller scale. 

Let’s say that two ventures are collaborating to create a hamper. One can send its finished products, through the aggregators mentioned earlier, to the other (which is closer to the location of the customer), and the second can take charge of packing them and delivering the final packaged product to the consumer. As a result, it will be a B2B model first, and then a B2C model. This leads to efficiency, faster delivery, and lower costs for both businesses. 

  1. Collaborating with Sustainable Hotels, Restaurants or Physical Stores

A list of sustainable hotels/restaurants/physical stores has been established across India. It comprises establishments that adopt sustainable strategies and share a passion for environmental preservation. These businesses must, without a doubt, be utilising sustainable products and purchasing them from green businesses. 

Businesses can connect with these establishments based on their specialty and the demand for eco-friendly products and services from – (sustainable) hotels, resorts, restaurants, cafes, physical stores, aggregators for handcrafted items, event businesses, corporate gifting, and event gifting organisations.

  1. Co-Branding

Two or more businesses can collaborate to create hampers or combos (both for occasions and general purposes) consisting of both the parties’ products. This is more suitable for businesses whose products complement those of others. These hampers can be packed and delivered using collaborative services and aggregators, detailed in the product distribution and business development sections of the document, respectively. 

  1. Collaborating with College Consulting Clubs 

Having trouble marketing your new products in a local region or across many states? Student organisations and clubs can help. 

By providing consulting services, the college society could assist the firm. In weeks, rather than months, college consulting societies can help you identify significant challenges and opportunities, prioritise critical activities, and measure progress against sustainability and business goals. 

Students in the clubs can assist you with innovative ideas and online marketing strategies. Young minds have new ideas to analyse, which they combine with their existing knowledge pool, alleviating the difficulties of business development and extending the reach of small firms.

  1. Collaborating with sustainable stores 

A sustainable physical store can devise solutions to assist other small brands who are struggling with selling. 

Cafes or stores such as Goli Soda Store (where upcycled products are sold) can collaborate with multiple small businesses and receive a commission on sales made. These stores could be physical or online like Brownliving, The Better Home, Refash, Qtrove, EcoTrendy, Bare Necessities, Ullisu store, EcoSattva, Upciclo, Infinitex, House of Crafts, and so on. In this way, small businesses can be relieved of the struggles of business development.

The business concept proposed here is similar to Etsy, Flipkart and Amazon, where sellers register to sell consumer goods across India or, perhaps, globally. 

New, small sustainable business would have to invest in collaboration with the physical stores. But customers may be more inclined to buy their products if they see them making a genuine effort to be sustainable.

To sum it up

Strategizing is an important aspect of every business’s growth plan. It renders a concrete identity to every idea. 

Hence, a solid business strategy for delivering goods must meet all sustainable measures, ensure that the efforts put in are worthwhile and contribute to the wider company goals. 

Credits

Authors

Anushka Rawal and Sonalika Mehta (Team Management Interaction Cell, JMC)

Editor

Ayesha Tari

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