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Karl Havard, retail expert at PA Consulting Group, is quoted in a Sustainable Brands article regarding ways that retailers can engage consumers in circular initiatives. The article also features key trends from PA’s Keeping customer connections report on the on the circular economy.
The article notes that businesses have a critical role to play in cleaning up the global economy, but it is consumers whole truly hold the key to achieving a more sustainable future.
The PA report shows that retailers can build customer loyalty, and grow sales, by providing customers with reasons to stay engaged in circular initiatives. Using insights from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s precompetitive innovation program Circular Economy 100 (CE100), the "Keeping Customer Connections" report examines how retailers in the US, UK and Europe engage with customers when products are no longer needed using circular economy opportunities.
Karl says: “The circular economy can be a catalyst for spurring new innovations within the organization — from both a cultural perspective, and how it helps companies approach the entire product and service design process from creation to sale.”
The report found customers were more interested in a convenient buyback scheme from retailers than being able to sell items at a higher price. Respondents said they would resell items if the store where they purchased them offered a convenient buyback program (72 percent for electronics and 66 percent for clothes), while over half would resell items if they thought it would benefit their community and/or the environment.
Additionally, consumers demonstrated considerable interest in donations as a way of decluttering, particularly in the case of electronics. Keeping electronics out of landfill was the main motivator for donating for 78 percent of surveyed consumers, but convenience and good experiences (friendly staff and availability of information) were identified as important determining factors in whether they would ultimately participate in donating schemes.
In terms of recycling, the report suggests that retailers will see more items recycled if they make it as easy as possible for consumers to do so. Financial rewards, such as discounts and other similar incentives, could also prompt more recycling practices.
Keeping customer connections: How retailers can engage customers in circular economy initiatives