Tag Archives: consumer behavior

Forever Ware to Cut Take-out Waste

Take-out containers and cups account for a large percentage of trash in the U.S. And according to the Energy Department, only 5% of plastic waste in the U.S. is recycled. During Covid, even more take-out containers were needed while restaurants were closed for in-person dining. More trash.

Although we would all like to use recyclable containers for our take-out orders, most of the time we don’t have that option. We don’t mean to cause excess trash, but it happens. Perhaps the solution to that problem is to encourage restaurants and cafes to place take-out orders into reusable containers that can be returned and used again, and again, and again.

This is the basis of Forever Wear – to provide recyclable containers to businesses for them to use with their customers. The restaurant is the point of contact and offers the containers to customers for a fully refundable deposit.

It works like this – restaurants and cafes pay a monthly fee to license Forever Ware software that in turn, allows the restaurant to checkout and track stainless steel containers and mugs. Customers pay a refundable fee to use containers that can be returned to the store, where they are then provided with clean, sanitized containers for their next order.

The restaurants benefit by saving thousands of dollars on disposable containers and decreasing landfill trash. The customer benefits from the clean healthy containers while also doing good and lowering their carbon footprint. 

Sign up and do some good for the environment!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much do they think their takeout food containers contribute to a trash problem?
  2. How would use a different system if it reduced waste?
  3. Show Forever Wear website: https://foreverware.org/
  4. Videos are available at: https://www.youtube.com/@foreverware9208
  5. Discuss organizational buying compared to consumer buying.
  6. Divide students into teams.
  7. Have half of the teams develop a marketing program directed at getting restaurants to sign up for Forever Wear.
  8. Have half of the teams develop a promotional campaign to convince customers to use the containers.
  9. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Williams, N. (9 November 2022). Putting a lid on takeout waste. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Holiday Shopping: Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2022

Black Friday has become almost another holiday for consumers – and a challenge for marketers.  After two years shopping online, people were ready to go back to the stores.

The day after Thanksgiving saw millions of American consumers hit the stores and malls. In pre-pandemic years it was wild with crowds of shoppers piled into big box stores and malls for doorbuster promotions. But fewer people were out shopping early this year. Probably because retailers were offering Black Friday (early) deals in October to entice earlier holiday purchases (and lighten excess inventory).

Sales at brick-and-mortar stores grew roughly 18%; online purchases were up nearly 4%. Cyber Monday was definitely the biggest shopping day online with sales of $11.3 billion, an increase of 5.8% from 2021.

According to the National Retail Federation shopping survey, top gift categories are clothing, gift cards, and toys. But the national economy has an impact on spending, with most households planning to buy fewer gifts this year.

Some additional shopping highlights:

  • Shoppers spent an average of $325.44 on holiday purchases.
  • Overall shopping increased 8% from 2021.
  • Roughly 197 million shoppers visited stores or bought online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
  • Traffic in physical stores increased 17% from 2021.
  • Online spending reached more than $9 billion on Black Friday.
  • Online shoppers increased only 2.3% from 2021.

Despite inflation fears, we still like to give gifts.

What did you buy?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the changes in U.S. consumers’ shopping habits now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
  2. Poll students: What new shopping habits have the students formed?
  3. Where do they shop? Why? Online and in person?
  4. Show WSJ’s photos/article about the changes in store for Black Friday shopping: https://www.wsj.com/story/black-friday-is-back-with-smaller-crowds-5e22045b?mod=Searchresults_pos7&page=1
  5. Poll students about their shopping over Thanksgiving Week – Cyber Monday.
  6. Divide students into teams.
  7. In teams, have students tally how much they spent, which products were sought after, etc. See which teams are the biggest spenders.
  8. Have each team design a holiday sales promotion for a company of their choosing.

Source: Nassauer, S. (29 November 2022). Black Friday weekend drew millions of shoppers back to stores. Wall Street Journal.: WSJ Staff (25 November 2022). Black Friday is back, with smaller crowds. Wall Street Journal.

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Contagions Apply to Both Sickness and Health

Trends are contagious, both when they are growing as well as when they are declining. Think about it. We see new trends nearly every day, adopt them, but then just as often we quit those trends. This is not just a lone event of one person though. Social networks are strong components in helping us decide what to adopt.

According to research, many health behaviors are fundamentally contagious ideas. Basically, your social network can predict health, weight, and exercise (even stock prices). A timely case that illustrates this movement is Peloton, which reached a high during the pandemic, only to plummet a year later as the pandemic waned.

How do we get ‘infected’ with the contagion? Social networks lead consumers to catch the trend, live with it, and then move on to new trends. During the pandemic, it was all about fitness at home, online training, and connected exercise equipment. We couldn’t go to the gym and many sports were suspended, leading to more investment in home-based fitness. However, now that pandemic restrictions have been removed, we’ve gone back to the gym and sports teams.

Research conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine shows us how trends move in cycles: Pilates, Zumba, Cross Fit, spinning, and boot camps are all examples. Even exercises with staying power, such as yoga and running, move into new variants and practices to survive. Some of the top fitness trends for 2022 include:

  • Wearable technology
  • Home exercise gyms
  • Outdoor activities
  • Strength training with free weights

What trends do you think will stick around?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team list past fitness trends they have tried?
  2. What helps a trend stick around?
  3. What leads trends to quickly fade out?
  4. Using Peloton as an example of trends, show video about Peloton’s life cycle: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/wsj-explains/why-peloton-spun-out-what-happened-to-the-bike-and-treadmill-firm/30FEB49E-85EE-4719-9B6D-F7E44D195CE5
  5. View ACSM report on fitness trends: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2022/01000/Worldwide_Survey_of_Fitness_Trends_for_2022.6.aspx
  6. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various fitness and health trends into each stage.
  8. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.
  9. Have teams draw a product life cycle. Place different fitness and health trends on the PLC.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine (30 December 2021). Wearable tech named top fitness trend for 2022.; Zumbrun, J. (9 September 2022). Both sickness and health, it turns out, are contagious. Wall Street Journal.

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