What retailers should do with Black Friday? Trash and recycle
Black Friday is a concept that arrived in Europe a few years ago and has grown considerably. Many retailers now follow this tradition which, let's face it, is a bit consumerist and materialistic.
However, a new trend is emerging. Instead of rushing to buy discounts and products that are not always necessary, some people are calling for abstaining or buying and consuming more consciously during this "excessive discount holiday". As a result, some chains have decided to follow suit and instead of organising a Black Friday in their stores prefer to follow a more sustainable and responsible path.
A first example comes from Kiabi. Instead of offering spectacular discounts, the retailer has decided, for Friday 26th and Saturday 27th November, to donate €0.50 for each order (online or in shop) to the Resto du Coeur. The aim is to offer at least 1000 meals to the needy.
Doriane Magnus, Leader Marketing at Kiabi Belgique comments “With this action, we want to give Black Friday a different meaning, one that also fits in with our Kiabi Life programme of corporate social responsibility. With Good Friday, we combine two good things: we offer budget-friendly quality fashion and we involve our customers in a solidarity action.”
In the same spirit, Decathlon has decided to transform the event into four eco-responsible days based on second hand and recycling. Concretely, from 25 to 28 November, consumers will have the opportunity to bring in sports equipment that they wish to dispose of (whatever the brand). In exchange, the brand will offer them vouchers and points on the Decathlon card. The recovered products will be reconditioned and offered for sale at reduced prices, with a one-year guarantee.
According to Arnaud De Coster, leader of Second Life Retail: "While consumption patterns are still focused on short-term use and buying a new product rather than repairing it, we want to promote the second life of products, as we do with our Second Life initiative.”
During this manufactured retail holiday, there will be plenty of discounts, one-off offers and deals to be had. However, it is worth asking whether it is necessary to boost over-consumption. Even if, as we too often forget, the final decision to buy and the responsibility for doing so lies with the consumer. Retailers have a role to play. And let's make no mistake. This role is not to control and prevent, but to offer sustainable alternatives.
With Kiabi and Decathlon, I have only presented two examples among many others. But it is good to see that some retail players are fulfilling this role of facilitating responsible consumption.
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