Second- and third-hand clothing stores have been the target of an aggressive marketing campaign, with some brands even being offered cash incentives in an effort to entice customers to return items.
The campaign is not only aimed at attracting second- and thirties customers but also to keep them shopping longer and increasing the number of people buying second-heirlooms, according to the head of the retail trade group, Australian Consumer and Business Council.
The Australian Retail Consortium (ARC), which represents the biggest third-party retailers in Australia, said it had been in contact with all the major brands involved in the campaign.
“We have been in touch with several major retailers who have expressed interest in continuing to promote their brand and to encourage second-home owners to get back to their second-storey and third storey homes,” the ARC’s David Geddes said.
“We would urge all retailers to consider the impact on customers and businesses.”
He said it was “essential” for retailers to understand the importance of the campaign, given it could “spur an avalanche of second-and third-home sales”.
“If you look at the numbers, the number one thing people are buying are second-Home and third home products, so this is not just about the home and the home accessories, but it’s about the business too,” Mr Gedds said.
He said the ARC had spoken to retailers including the National Australia Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Australian Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Western Australian Premier Resources Board.
‘A huge problem’In the US, a national survey by the National Retail Federation found the number two home consumer brand was Target, followed by J.C. Penney.
Second-hand goods and clothing accounted for nearly two-thirds of Target’s sales.
Target has also been a target of a campaign in the UK which is aimed at “reinventing” the brand, according a spokeswoman for the retailer.
In Australia, there has been a backlash against the retail industry, with the Australian Retail Council calling for an industry-wide review of the marketing campaigns and the ABC and the Daily Telegraph reporting on concerns the campaign could encourage people to return unwanted items.
The campaign was launched in the US in October last year by Target, which said it would be “shifting to a ‘one-stop shopping’ approach for all items that are not in stock”.
“The first phase of this initiative will include targeting consumers in stores and at online and mobile retailers, and will also be a platform for Target to showcase new products that will be sold in stores in the coming weeks,” the retailer said.
Target has yet to announce the number and types of items that it will be selling in stores, or the number it plans to advertise.
The retailer has also previously said it is not promoting the campaigns as an incentive for shoppers to return.
“Target does not advertise or promote the return of any merchandise.
If you are unsure of your current or future purchase or return policy, contact your retailer for further information,” a spokesperson for the US retailer said in October.”
Retailers are committed to providing an experience that customers are happy with, and Target has no plans to offer any rewards or incentives to encourage customers to shop.”
If customers choose to return any item they have bought, Target will refund their purchase price, and store credit will be applied to their account as well as to any applicable credit card, insurance or bank fees.
“While Target does not offer refunds on merchandise, it does offer customers the opportunity to return unused merchandise to their local Target store for a full refund.”
Any items that have not been used within 90 days will be fully refunded, and we encourage customers who purchase more than one item to consider returning them as a way to keep up with their needs.
“The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has also raised concerns about the advertising campaign, saying it is “unnecessary and deceptive”.
The campaign also follows a national review of its marketing tactics, with a report published in October that found the campaign has been “misleading”.”
This is not a time for consumers to get a second home,” the report said.