Hypermart Indonesia gets social marketing–when will others?

It was looking like another depressing ‘green’ re-run in the retail world. Supermarket chain jumps on the green bandwagon by selling so-called tote bags at the check-out counters, with the same old ‘green’ slogans (when will marketing get the fact that people are not necessarily out to save the world?). So when a smiling clerk came up to me with a free drink as we were frantically piling the shopping in our reusable bag at Hypermart Galeria in Bali, I stalled. Finally. Customers who refuse plastic bags having their action validated with a freebie. Social marketing 101!

The mainstream and unspoken consensus in the retailer world in Indonesia seems to be: “Yo, let’s start selling green bags and tap into that ‘green’ trend thing.” For some supermarket chains, such as Carrefour, this has been nothing short of a phenomenal marketing bonanza it seems. The ubiquitous Carrefour green bag is now seen at railway stations (filled with family clothes), at the park (with junior’s change of clothes) and at airports. Where it’s been noticeably absent is at Carrefour’s check-out counters, where customers should in theory bring them to avoid using plastic bags.

Hypermart handing out a cool drink to customers who bring their own shopping bag (whether it’s plastic or cloth, who cares?) brings them one step ahead of the pack. Here is a basic demonstration of what we should be seeing wherever there are efforts to change people’s behaviour: clear benefits for them. Will a free drink be enough of an incentive for customers to bring their bag again next time they go shopping? This is where it will pay off to do a bit more customer research…

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