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Tiny signals - “Bracketing”

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

Sustainability policies are as much about what you do within your organisation, as they are about encouraging and supporting the people, clients and suppliers around you.

I recently consulted to a new ethical fashion label (a rare departure from our usual service-based clients) on their sustainability program.

After a long process of finding ethical fabric suppliers and makers with fair work policies, there was a concern about “bracketing” - where buyers purchase multiple sizes of one item with the intention of returning the ones that don’t fit.

Side note: Apparently in the US (one of the worst offenders for bracketing) more than 10% of sales were returned. At a glance that might seem reasonable - but it equated to more than $400 billion - just in returns.

It’s a tricky one to battle against. A “law” against how many products you can buy would make little sense.

There are ways to combat bracketing, like virtual try-ons and being hyper-clear with sizing, but that alone may not necessarily sway people away from bulk-buying-for-trying.

So as a kicking-off point, our client tapped into the concept of “send tiny signals to attract like-minded people”, and went with a mix of mild discouragement, with a slight potential for shame, in their returns policy:

Please choose your size carefully - we value the environmental impact of our products so please don't purchase multiple items if you intend on returning them purely for sizing purposes.”

It’s a tiny step - but one hopes that the enviro-minded customers drawn to a brand like this are already this way inclined, and only need gentle reminders.

Now for the rest of the planet...!

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