I love to see brilliant marketing at work, especially when it’s an industry leader taking a new approach. Lululemon just announced they’re launching their “Like New” program, where customers can trade in their old gear for store credit and feel good about contributing to a sustainable cause.
According to Lululemon, the Like New program is launching across the U.S., with the goal of lessening the brand’s carbon footprint in order to “restore a healthy planet.” The company says its reinvesting 100% of Like New profits into its sustainability initiatives, which include circular product design and other recycling programs.
Perhaps the biggest draw to this new initiative is the fact that customers can trade in their old products for store credit. All they have to do is bring their gently-used Lululemon gear to their local Lululemon store to be evaluated if it’s eligible for resale. Once they trade them in, they’ll receive store credit in the form of an e-gift card that can be used online or in-stores.
Lululemon will revive the pre-owned pieces. The company said it will “refresh your gently-worn pieces for someone else to make active again.” The entire resale line is in Lululemon’s resale shop, with each item marked down at a discounted price.
This process is being referred to as “circular fashion,” helping to keep textiles out of landfills – a huge problem that gives the fashion industry a bad reputation.
Brands like H&M and Nike are also starting sustainability programs. According to Brightly, 73% of Americans take into consideration how environmentally friendly a brand is when shopping.
Let’s look at this from a marketing perspective. The fashion and textile industries get hammered by the media and sustainability groups for their clothes ending up in landfills. More companies are using recycled fabrics and are looking for ways to be more sustainable. Lululemon already has a lot of different websites out there selling their products for resale, so why not own that market too?
The goal is to get repeat customers by offering them credit for their old clothes so they keep coming back for more. None of the PR around this new campaign mentioned that objective because the main message was sustainability, but this initiative is great for attracting repeat customers and a new audience who can’t afford to buy $120 leggings. Now they get the chance to wear a desirable brand that’s gently used and helps the environment. It’s a brilliant PR move that’s attractive to a lot of different audiences.
The “purchasing products with a purpose” message is appealing to younger generations, especially Generation Z. According to a 2020 report by First Insight, 73% of Gen Z consumers surveyed were willing to pay more for sustainable products, more than every other generation. Thee-quarters of Gen Z consumers – who are 25 years old at the high end of the generation – say that sustainability is more important to them than brand name when they make purchase decisions. By 2031, Bank of America predicts that Gen Z’s income will surpass that of the next older generation (Millennials) and they will become the “most disruptive generation ever.”
So, companies need to listen up and take notes. Sustainability is important and a necessary step moving forward. It’s important to your customers and for our planet.
A sustainability plan might be the most important decision you can make for your company’s future.