E-commerce and physical store: the ecological impact

You want to shop in an eco-responsible way, and you don't know whether you should order from home or go to the store.

Well, this is not an easy dilemma to resolve, because many parameters, difficult to measure, have to be taken into account.

Obviously, the e-commerce giants have a disastrous impact on our planet: the products are manufactured very far away, in a way that is not very - or not at all - ecological, they are over-packaged and their delivery is always intended to be faster, at the expense of the environmental consequences that this may have.

But be careful not to put everyone in the same bag! Responsible sales sites can be more environmentally friendly than physical stores.


“Buying on the web promotes overconsumption”. That's what many say. An ease of purchase which can also lead to product returns, which then cause additional transport. Not crazy for our planet.

However, an online purchase can turn out to be a reasoned purchase, because ordering on the Internet leaves room for reflection. On the Internet, you can shop peacefully, whenever you want, which can prevent you from making compulsive purchases. Especially since this allows you to avoid unnecessary trips to a store which ultimately does not have what you are looking for.

The other advantage is that the buyer has a wider choice of products: you can see everything that exists, compare prices and characteristics, and choose the product that really suits you.

We have designed our Neobynature.fr website so that the presentation of our products is as clear and understandable as possible, in order to reduce the number of possible returns.

We are also always available to answer your questions if you have any doubts before placing an order!


Ordering online necessarily means sending packages in unique packaging. Faced with this, we often hear that, at least in stores, package packaging does not exist.

However, physical stores also receive their items carefully individually packaged.

The questions of overpackaging or simply packaging actually depend on the brand itself and its environmental values.

Ethical brands want to reduce packaging as much as possible or choose ecological packaging: recovered and reused, recycled, biodegradable, etc.

At Neo by Nature, we have chosen environmentally friendly packaging. We have chosen cardboard, whether for the packaging of our Essential refills, our packaging, or even the adhesive tape.
Our packaging is recyclable and reusable.

Our refillable stainless steel shower gel doesn't even need any extra packaging or bubble wrap thanks to the strength of this material. In addition, the size of the boxes is adapted to the product purchased, to limit the void and not use more cardboard than is necessary.


A physical store and a logistics center of an e-commerce giant will face the same constraints: heating, air conditioning, lights, machines, electricity, etc.

Ethical e-commerce favors a short circuit by avoiding having to store its products in giant centers and making unnecessary journeys. It can also respond to the problem of overproduction by producing in reasonable quantities, which avoids waste and overconsumption.

Not to mention that in addition to stocks, commercial premises are extremely energy intensive, particularly for the provision and presentation of products in stores, often 7 days a week.


“At least the stores have a large quantity of products delivered at once, which generates less transport! ".

This is often the first criticism made against an online site. However, be careful! This point is much more complex than it seems: in reality, things are not so simple.

Even if one might think that it pollutes more to have it delivered to their home, it is actually more ecological than if each customer travels by car to pick up their product in store, because delivery services have routes optimized!

In fact, the online sites deliver individually to each of their customers, but the stores have stocks delivered which they return or destroy in the event of unsold or defective products.

Another question can also be asked: what is the impact of the transport of customers who go to the store. Did they travel on foot, by car, or by public transport?

Online sales allow centralization and optimization by choosing the right delivery partner. And to make it even better, you can also opt for delivery to a relay point.

The delivery model also comes into play. A giant logistics center like Amazon's multiplies the journeys between brands, the center, and customers. The short circuit, on the other hand, whether online or in person, limits journeys.

Finally, you must also be responsible regarding the type of delivery. Express deliveries are a limit to optimization. They should be avoided, because they seek speed and not optimization. Currently, many trips are made for the delivery of a single item.

Choosing the post office as a partner is also a guarantee that the packages will be delivered by the postal workers, they pass daily in your neighborhood across the country, which avoids a single trip by a carrier.

If you have decided to choose refillable for your bathroom, you can find your Neo by Nature shower gel in store at Nature & Découvertes, or order online.

Little extra: the Essential refills have been designed so that they can be slipped into your mailbox, which helps avoid a possible absence on your part and therefore, a second visit by the delivery person. No extra transport!


Ultimately, it is an endless debate between e-commerce merchants and physical sales. Although according to numerous studies, the environmental impact of online commerce is generally lower than that of traditional commerce, this assessment remains difficult to draw up. There really is no perfect answer, but you can now better understand all these processes and their impacts, and choose what will be most consistent with your lifestyle and consumption.

Avoid uncertain or last minute purchases, favor delivery to a relay point and group your orders with those of your loved ones!

But above all, make sure you know who you are purchasing from. Whether it is the production environment of the products, the packaging, or even the delivery, everything will depend on the brand, its beliefs, and its commitments. Choose suppliers who pay attention to their impact on the planet, like Neo by Nature!

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