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Going Green With Your E-Commerce Website

About the author: Dan Cannon is the Lead Web Applications Developer for Nicasio Design and Development. Nicasio provides web based solutions for both individuals and businesses. Nicasio owns and operates the E-Commerce solution NicE-Comm.

In this day and age ‘going green’ is first and foremost on everyone’s mind. As a business owner you may feel that you have an obligation to both the environment and your customers to make sure you are doing everything in your power to protect the environment and ‘go green’ (or maybe you just want some extra publicity and tax breaks…more on that in a minute).

Benefits to Going Green

Now, I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves why you would want to dedicate the time, effort and resources to ‘going green’ in this time of economic uncertainty. This is certainly a fair question and one that I will address. There are several reasons that using your e-commerce website to ‘go green’ will benefit you (besides the moral ones).

1. Positive Press and Publicity
Generally speaking, when a business decides to go green it is regarded as a positive thing. Positive press is never a bad thing for your e-commerce website. When you go green make sure you let people know. This is not an issue to be humble about. Advertise the fact on your e-commerce website. Create a content page to let people know what you are doing to go green (more on what you can do below).

There are several directories that will list your E-Commerce website as long as it meets certain standards regarding conservationism. Some of these are listed below (note each directory has its own criteria for listing websites).

Coop America
Eco Business Links
Business.gov – Eco Sites
Organic Consumers Association

2. Energy Savings
If you actually make a strong effort you can save energy costs by ‘going green’. You can even get money for recycling in some areas of the country. While these savings and payments may be small on the onset, overtime you may begin to see some substantial savings.

3. Tax Breaks
This is the one that most people tend to be interested in. Yes, the government may actually give you a break on your taxes if you are running a business that is friendly to the environment. There are a variety of government programs that allow you to save money on your taxes for ‘going green’. Visit some of the links below to learn more about how you can save money on your taxes by taking your E-Commerce Website green.

Sierra Club: Green Taxes – Details on how to get some government ‘green’ tax incentives.

How to Go Green With Your E-Commerce Website

Now that we have gone over why it is important to ‘go green’ let’s address some ways you can make your E-Commerce website a little more eco-friendly. Make sure to document what your business is doing to help the environment so you can let your customers and potential customers know that you care about the future of the planet.

1. Recycle
This is an oldie but a goody. One of the easiest things you can do is recycle around your office (even if your office is your home). Shred old business documents or save old newspapers and recycle them. If you like to drink sodas during the workday, then save the cans and recycle them (some states will even pay as much a $.05 a can that you recycle, this can really add up over a long period of time). Recycle old batteries and pieces of technology at the appropriate recycling facilities or donate still working electronics to the less fortunate.

2. Conserve Electricity
Set your computer to run in standby or hibernate a few minutes of inactivity. This will save a substantial amount of energy over allowing your computer to run all of the time as well as help prolong the life of your computer. You should also use energy efficient appliances whenever possible. The use of energy efficient light bulbs can also save you money as well as the hassle of constantly changing bulbs (the bulbs of the energy efficient variety tend to last for several years).

3. Eliminate Your Paper Trail
Many websites today (especially e-commerce websites) are completely paperless. All transactions and records are stored and handled electronically. This saves paper which is good for the environment, but also saves you the cost of paper, ink, and document storage. Try to make your E-Commerce website a paperless business. The IRS even allows you to file your taxes completely online!

Note: If you do go paperless and store all of your records electronically, make sure that you are backing these files up in multiple places to avoid data loss.

Summary

There a variety of reasons and way to ‘go green’ with your e-commerce website. There a definitely many more things not listed here that you can do to make sure your e-commerce website is eco-friendly.

If you are interested in setting up your own e-commerce website or need advice on your current e-commerce website please Contact Nicasio Design.
We use our own E-Commerce solution called NicE-Comm to provide easy to use and powerful e-commerce websites to our customers.

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