Wednesday 7 June 2017

The New Consumer Demand That Traders Cannot Ignore

Our “Latest Retail News” article over the weekend included an item “Perth coffee shop bans takeaway cups”. How the hell does a retailer consider banning such an essential ingredient for their business? The answer lies in consumer sentiment and banning plastic waste, particularly because of the impact on our oceans, has become a mainstream issue.

Over the past week, mainstream media has been full of activities promoting a ban on plastic waste. There was the Melbourne tram packed full of coffee cups that did the rounds of the city and drew significant television coverage. There have been celebrities rolling large balls of plastic waste to gain attention and calls for even plastic straws to be banned. Queensland value their connection with the ocean probably more than most states and a recent survey received 26,000 submissions with 96% supporting a ban on plastic bags.

Sustainability demands have been a feature of retailing for a few years and our own QVM launched a program for biodegradable carry bags some time ago although cracks have appeared in the program with criticism that some traders have reverted to the bad old ways of plastic carry bags that have been shown to severely pollute our environment.

Some traders have embraced the sustainability philosophy with TRC Representative Jenny Pyke recently photographed in the QVM Trader Bulletin with eco-friendly paper carry bags that will be financed in part by the $500 marketing grant available to all traders from QVM. The point here is that there are eco-friendly options for traders and paper carry bags are probably the first step for many. QVM has a deal with Shop For Shops in Collingwood where traders can purchase paper carry bags in single pack lots at the bulk “gold” price usually reserved for larger purchases. Paper carry bags are available from a variety of sources and you can expect to pay around 50c for a large carry bag (45cmH*38cmW) and around 25c for a standard bag (35cmH*24cmW)

The sustainability demand from consumers is not going away – in fact, clearly it is intensifying. Customers may not complain at the stall when you provide their purchase in a polluting plastic bag but we know it is a negative for a growing number of consumers. Now is a good time to show customers that you care and maybe at least part of the cost can be financed by a QVM marketing grant.

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