Retail Roundup: Patagonia & Reverse Marketing


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A new campaign called Patagonia Be Useful has been launched, where they show customers mending their products, giving a second life to products, or using up Patagonia products. It’s a kind of reverse marketing. That’s opposed to showing people purchasing new products, it’s showing how they can get extended life out of the products instead.

This is a great marketing technique, and it’s something that you as a small business can also take away, and apply to your business in the coming months and years. What is being created for the customer? The value is a proposition of education; showing the customer that they in fact can buy their products, and use them for a long period of time. By reinvesting and taking care of your current items in your wardrobe, you can get a longer life span, and decrease the cost of having to keep purchasing an item over and over again.

How can you apply this yourself, and through what media outlets? By taking a look at things like video content online, and writing blogs and newsletters, you can search and find ways of communicating to your customer the value of what you’ve sold. For example, I have a boutique clothing store and I specialize in selling basic knitwear, and my customers have purchased some cashmere sweaters. Do my customers actually know the best way to take care of their sweaters? Do they know about the special laundry detergent, or the ways that they can actually increase the life and longevity of the product?

Perhaps once or twice a year, you can send out an email that gives them suggestions on adding cedar blocks, or buying special cashmere shampoos. These are not only ways of up-selling, because you’re showing them additional products that you may or may not carry. You’re also showing an interest in value in your customer’s purchasing history, as well as the items they currently have in their closets. This establishes you as not only a resource for them to go shopping to, but also a partner, in terms of their wardrobe, and really adding to their life in general.

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