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Why do some brands discourage customers from buying more of them?

This is a fascinating trend. I first noticed this with Patagonia. The clothing brand that encourages people to keep their clothes longer (recall the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign). REI is on board with the “Good & Used” section of its online retail site – and in our local store. These choices seem to be a good fit with the sustainable positioning of these two brands. But more recently, I am seeing other clothing brands step into the used gear space. One example is Adidas, which has partnered with ThredUp to help customers resell used footwear.

These examples might stimulate discussion about consumerism (Chapter 19), retailing (Chapter 12), or reverse channels (Chapter 10). It also begs the question about why companies would do this? Does Adidas have the same motivations as Patagonia or REI? Does this help the company sell more new clothing – while also making money on used gear (perhaps appealing to a clientele that cannot afford these products new)? Is it all about positioning the brand as caring about the environment?

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