Thursday 20 October 2011

Patagonia: Doing More With Less

You might think that a store encouraging its customers to buy less really had the wrong idea. But that's exactly what upscale outdoor clothing chain Patagonia are doing - and it might just be the smartest move they've ever made.

They're teaming up with eBay, asking their customers to sell off their old Patagonia gear through a bespoke shop on their website. It's clever thinking. Patagonia have always pushed sustainability over profit. Their stuff is expensive and built to last. The used store enhances the brand's corporate philosophy and exclusivity. You don't bin this stuff. It has a life beyond one person's wardrobe.

In fact, the new initiative could even give Patagonia new business. eBay's CEO John Donahue wryly notes:

"Patagonia is extending its customer base and increasing it. People who are selling it are likely to turn around, take the money they got, and buy the new Patagonia products."

This is not an approach that'll work for everyone. You need a certain quality of merchandise, a loyal fanbase and an understanding tranche of shareholders. But get it right, and the rewards are potentially massive. Persuading your customers to spend less could open a whole new profit stream.

There's more on this at The Guardian.

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