With over 100 billion single-use bags still used each year in the U.S. the impact of plastic waste on our environment has become increasingly urgent. Plastics are still found in our oceans endangering our wildlife, and the production and disposal of plastics contribute to climate change.
That is why Closed Loop Partners (CLP), a leading investment firm focused on the circular economy, is on a mission to help create a waste-free future. This summer, they continued their work toward this mission, as the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, an industry collaboration managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy, launching two of its biggest reusable bag pilots to date.
The "Bring Your Own Bag” and “Returnable Bag” pilots took 3 U.S. markets by storm, engaging multiple retailers including the Consortium’s Founding Partners CVS Health and Target, as well as Sector Lead Partners DICK'S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co., TJX and Ulta Beauty.
The goal was as simple as it was critical: get shoppers to use less single-use plastic bags and create a more sustainable and waste-free future for us all! How? With in-market interventions that encouraged customers to bring their own reusable bag to stores, and a kiosk that provided a reusable bag to customers in the instances when they forgot their bags. For the campaign to be successful the marketing had to:
Both of the Consortium’s pilots aimed to support the diverse needs of customers in different markets and help drive a broader reuse culture, which meant the campaign strategy we employed had several challenges to overcome:
1st challenge: For the Bring Your Own Bag pilot, ensure the campaign messaging didn't overwhelm the shopper with more asks!
2nd challenge: For the Returnable Bag pilot, educate the shopper about an entirely new returnable bag kiosk
3rd challenge: Reach and remind shoppers at every step of the journey - long before they get to the store and realize they forgot their bags!
4th challenge: Get even more retailers behind the mission and train their staff to reinforce the message!
5th challenge: For both pilots, be cognizant of our own environmental impact with the campaign signage!
Our campaign was a great success that captured the attention of shoppers, store owners, socially conscious media outlets, and influential environmental advocates keen to reduce their single-use plastic waste.
We outperformed our KPIs delivering over 33 million impressions in 3 short months, significantly improving our CPM along the way by introducing more engaging UGC (from a $10 CPM to $3 CPM avg).
We amassed 20K+ clicks to our website while measuring over 250K engagements across our digital channels.
In store, we touched millions of consumers with the campaign messaging throughout Consortium stores & we onboarded 259 NEW stores (that are not Consortium partners) who were excited to support the program!
Our campaigns ran across multiple touchpoints along the shopper journey, at home, near store, and in-store. The in-person street team and influencer tactics provided us invaluable qualitative feedback as to the long-term efficacy of implementing reuse models in more stores across the county.
The pilots received a special feature article in NJ Business Insider Magazine, which felt the Consortium and their partners were doing a great job of exploring better ways to deal with the surplus of reusable bags and empowering consumers to be a part of the solution.
As the pilots recently came to an end, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is working closely with retailers to gather program metrics like adoption rate and return rate to analyze the environmental & operational impact, as well as determine the next steps for scaling these pilots across the country.