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The Next Economy
Visa's Recommerce Behavioral Insights Lab Aims to Make Circular Shopping Behaviors the Norm

Visa is partnering with COS, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and more to address the barriers that stop consumers from embracing a circular economy.

Visa has announced its first partners for its Recommerce Behavioral Insights Lab — a new initiative running rapid, real-world experiments to understand and share how businesses can help consumers actively engage in the transition to a more circular economy.

With 92 percent of consumers surveyed claiming they want to live a more sustainable life, but only 16 percent taking active steps to change their behavior, Visa will partner with leading brands to better understand how to bridge this “intention/action gap” — aimed at driving more circular behaviors and business models while ensuring an inclusive approach.

The first two experiments will be run in partnership with H&M-owned fashion brand COS and the United Repair Centre; and will take place in various places across France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

Resale is an important part of fashion’s shift to circularity; however, with only 47 percent of consumers participating in resale activities more than once a year, many brands are still learning the many motivations and novel barriers that affect customer interest. For its part in the partnership, COS will explore the motivations and compelling experiences that increase consumer participation in the rapidly growing resale market. And through its experience offering high-quality repair services to leading European apparel brands, the United Repair Centre will explore the barriers that stop consumers from repairing their garments, and how to make clothing-repair services more accessible and beneficial for all.

Experiment methodology

Partnerships that Create Positive Impact & Important Behavior Change

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Using insights from behavioral science, the Lab will identify the factors that drive consumer behavior towards more sustainable choices while also uncovering barriers that hinder behaviors such as resale, rental and repair. The Lab plans to test and share the results of interventions that have been designed to overcome these obstacles, with the ultimate goal of assisting businesses and consumers in adopting more sustainable behaviors.

To conduct these experiments, Visa has devised a comprehensive methodology that includes defining the behavioral barrier, establishing a behavioral intervention, designing the experiment, carrying out the experiment, analyzing the data, and sharing the results openly. The foundation of the methodology and lab is based on the MINDSPACE behavioral framework that decodes the nine effects thought to have the most influence on behavior. By following this methodology, Visa will then evaluate experiment data and merchant feedback, share learnings, and create and share guides and playbooks for businesses to implement the intervention.

The experiments will test the different experiences and motivations with customers in a variety of environments — including online and in store — to provide a better understanding of the precise triggers of changing consumer behaviors, experimenting with factors such as improving visibility, access, community, reward, ease or affordability.

The experiments will be open sourced, with key findings available through downloadable playbooks so that other businesses can use this knowledge to help develop their own circular models and be part of the wider recommerce community.

"Over half of Europeans are already regularly engaging in recommerce activities like resale,” explains Katherine Brown, VP of Sustainability and Inclusive Impact at Visa Europe. “By uncovering what actually gets shoppers to change their behavior and by leveraging our data and insights from these experiments with United Repair Centre and COS, we can identify new ways to make sustainable fashion a must-have purchase and accelerate the transition to the circular economy for all."

Behavioral-design specialists Mindworks fintech startup Twig and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) will also lending their expertise to the Behavioral Insights Lab as foundational partners. The combination of Visa's equitable commerce and design experience, EMF's circular design insights, Twig's knowhow in the fintech-meets-resale space, and Mindworks' key role in designing behavioral interventions will supercharge discovery of actionable insights and scalable solutions, that encourage sustainable choices.

"We have been working with Visa, as a Strategic Partner in our Network, to ensure circular design is incorporated in the Behavioral Insights Lab. This project is absolutely a design-led initiative, and an important step in the journey towards bringing together different actors to collectively imagine and test new ways of engaging people and enabling circular-economy choices,” says EMF Strategic Design Manager Anna Queralt. “The learnings from this iterative project will sit alongside our Adaptive Strategy for Circular Design to help organizations leverage design as they transition from linear to circular — and will support not only the fashion industry, but all actors across different sectors who want to bring their users and customers along on their circular journey."

The creation of the Behavioral Insights Lab follows the recent announcement of Visa's commitment to Recommerce as a preferred way to buy, reuse and share goods and services.

To become a partner in the Recommerce Behavioral Insights Lab, visit https://globalclient.visa.com/recommerce.

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