In the era of e-commerce and climate change, sustainability in last-mile delivery is an important factor. More online shopping and more fast shipping mean more vehicles on the road with lower utilization, higher frequency of deliveries, and more stops per route. These conditions have a direct impact on the environmental footprint of last mile.
Can consumers’ behavior be influenced by providing information about the environmental footprint of the shipping option they select for their home delivery? MIT researchers are interested in learning what are the key drivers that motivate consumers to wait for their home deliveries and how can this outcome enable decision-makers to reduce CO2 emissions.
The researchers tested customer willingness to wait. They studied the results of a stratified survey to 360 customers of one of the largest retail company in Mexico. The survey was conducted at the moment of the delivery, at the customer’s home in Mexico.
They evaluated the effectiveness of explaining carbon footprint in equivalent terms of trash, and trees to the customers. The field study shows that 30% of consumers who are not willing to wait when given economic incentives are willing to wait longer for home deliveries when given environmental incentives.
Additionally, equivalent information using trees is the most effective at incentivizing consumers to wait longer and it shows the potential for firms to reduce by 25% their last mile delivery carbon footprint. It might also improve customer satisfaction by providing understandable “environmental information” to incentive consumers of pro-environmental choices.