Did you know you can decrease your impact on the environment by shopping on the comfort1st.com network of sites? A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University's Green Design Institute found that shopping online consumes less energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 35 percent compared to shopping at traditional retail stores.

Buying from a Traditional Retail Store
Individual consumers drive by car from their homes to the nearest retail store to pick up the product and then return home.

Figure 1 shows a visual representation of the transportation chain for the traditional retail model. The product begins at the manufacturer from where it is assumed to be shipped by heavy-duty truck to the wholesale warehouse. The product sits in the warehouse (for simplicity we assume only one warehouse, owned by the retailer) for a certain amount of time until the product is in demand by the retail store, and we assume in the base case that it is then trucked directly to the store, packaged in bulk. Later we include the possibility for shipment to a secondary warehouse belonging to the retailer (or an intermediate distribution warehousing facility) before it is shipped to the actual store. Individual consumers drive by car from their homes to the nearest retail store to pick up the product and then return home. Of course the consumer trip to the retail store could include multiple stops or purposes, and this is discussed below in the methods and data section.


Buying from the comfort1st.com network of sites

The product along with many other products are taken in a systematic and highly efficient route to individual homes via a light-duty delivery truck.

Figure 2 shows the transportation chain diagram for the e-commerce model. In the e-commerce model, the product begins at a manufacturer and is delivered to a distributor warehouse, again by heavy-duty truck1. While not shown as a part of the transportation flow in Figure 2, a customer shops for and buys a product on the e-commerce company website. After receiving information from the e-commerce company’s data center that the product has been ordered and needs to be shipped, the distributor warehouse individually packages and sends the product to the collecting and sorting distribution center via a parcel service, either by airplane and truck depending on the online consumer’s preferences for delivery time. The product, along with other products, is then taken to the individual homes via a light-duty (we assume a 20,000 lb) delivery truck.

The information above was taken from the Carnegie Mellon study. To learn more about the Carnegie Mellon study please click here.