How much power do retailers have to effect change?

You may have read a recent post where I wrote about how retailers need to understand their customers’ needs and keep up with their changing demands.  But when a retailer reached out to me recently with their Summer 2016 press brochure I started to think about some of the potentially powerful messages that it contained that weren’t trailed on it’s front cover and asked myself the question – how much power do retailers have to effect change?

The retailer that got me thinking was Superdrug. Inside a brochure that asked the question “are you ready?” (for Summer 2016) it included some really strong messages about what they already do as a brand to support healthy living and to protect the environment but do they have a broader influence that can affect our behaviour, the lifestyle choices we make and further to the legislation that is taken by our government?

Sun protection awareness and working with charities


Of course they want to sell products and make a profit but promoting awareness of the importance of protecting your skin can save lives and by preventing skin cancer.  As well as this Superdrug has collaborated with brands to raise money from the sale of some of their tanning products to support the Marie Curie charity. Initiatives like this help us to think about taking responsibility for our health and allow us to give back to a charity.

Shades of Beauty

The image above shows every foundation shade stocked by Superdrug! This sets out perfectly the struggle that black and asian women have to find suitable products on the high street. It’s also apparent across skincare and haircare products too but this image is helpful in showing the scale of just one challenge – to find a foundation match!

Superdrug is working with all their makeup brands to expand the ranges. They’ve launched the Shades of Beauty campaign with June Sarpong as an ambassador to drive change. Brands are listening and some have already announced their intentions to add more options to their ranges.

Eradicating microplastics

I have to say that I thought that this was something that all mainstream brands had addressed. Clearly it’s not the case and I could have unknowingly bought products that contain microbeads that damage our environment. Superdrug have committed to reformulating their own brands so they are microbead free by 2016. Is this enough? Shouldn’t there be a law on this now?

Tampon Tax

Tampon Tax

This is something that I think every woman is outraged about. Paying VAT on essentials as if they were a luxury. I’m not an expert on this but I understand that this was something that the EU wouldn’t allow our government to remove. Here’s hoping that it’s one of the first things the new prime minister will change when we’re out of the EU. Until then Superdrug give you the VAT back on their own brand tampons and towels as loyalty card points.

Supporting vegan lifestyle and being cruelty free

Cruelty Free

There’s been an upward trend in people wanting to live a vegan lifestyle and as well as that there a much larger audience of people who prefer not to use animal byproducts in their daily life. Superdrug clearly labels products that are vegan, vegetarian and cruelty free, There own brand B. skincare and cosmetics are vegan. Additionally all Superdrug’s own brand beauty, toiletries and household products are certified by Cruelty Free International.

Budget beauty

Simply Pure

We’ve probably all struggled at one time or the other with being able to justify spend on beauty products when we have bills to pay. I love how budget beauty brands have improved their offering – think Make Up Revolution (my current favourite lipstick cost only £1 from MUR) and Primark and the Poundshop  sell budget products that work. My recent find from Superdrug is the Simply Pure Hydrating Serum that costs just £2.69. I’ve had it for some time and dismissed it while I tried out high end products. Now I’m using this daily and it’s amazing!

So, I guess in summary what I’m saying is this – there are thousands of organisations retailers, charities and more that lobby for change and I don’t think that Superdrug is any more or less important or influential in society than any other. What it makes me think about though is how strong a force retailers can be. I’m not sure that I’m aware of that on a daily basis and how I’m influenced by where I shop and what I buy.

Perhaps it’s about us all working together as a society for positive change that benefits all of us. We tell retailers what we want and what our values are. Retailers develop more of what we want. We buy more from them and then they have the funding and influence to support good causes and lobby for change. Food for thought?

Tell me what you think in the comments box please.


This post contains PR samples and affiliate links.



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