Phase 3


Phase 3

This phase involved implementation of the behaviour change intervention that was selected from Phase 2 by our trial delivery partner, supported by implementation advice and evaluation by BehaviourWorks Australia.


This phase involves the real-world implementation of an intervention in order to learn more about whether, and under what conditions, it could be effective in increasing responsible consumption.

The intervention is transforming the ‘concept’ of secondhand stores in order to increase purchase of second-hand fashion and furniture, and potentially also increase the quality of donations received.

This intervention is being delivered by our Trial Delivery partner, Salvos.

There are three streams of research in this trial:

  1. Understanding the impact of the store transformations on actual purchasing & donation behaviours amongst existing and new customers at these stores;
  2. Understanding the impact of the store transformations on customer intentions and perceptions among existing customers; and
  3. Exploring aspects of the store transformations hypothetically with the broader Australian population through online experiments.

What we did

Multiple transformations to select stores were implemented by Salvos prior to January 2023, including changing physical aspects of the building (e.g. location, external appearance), the internal ambience of the shop floor, the way items are presented in store, and improving in-store communications about items.

The effectiveness of these transformations in promoting responsible consumption are being evaluated for three stores across Australia – one each in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.

We assessed effectiveness in three ways:

  1. Store data – historical store data for the three transformed stores and three similar stores to measure the impact of the transformation on actual customer behaviour;
  2. Customer survey – survey data from customers in transformed and comparison stores to understand the impact of the transformation on intentions and perceptions; and
  3. Online experiment – hypothetical experiments to estimate the impact of specific features of the transformation on intentions and perceptions of the general public.

What did we find?

We found uplifting stores had mixed effects on the behaviours and perceptions of new and existing customers of second-hand stores. 

Taken together, the trial results suggest:

  • The intervention can increase second-hand purchases of existing customers under some conditions (e.g. extent of uplift, geography, etc.), but any effect is subtle enough not to be reflected in customers’ conscious thinking.
  • Addressing in-store barriers does not make a material enough difference to trigger wide-scale behaviour change in non-customers, though it is possible that it could be effective if combined with addressing other barriers.
  • Extensive uplifts may improve quality of donations by those already familiar with op shopping, but may not be sufficient for new adopters attracted by the uplift, who will likely still need to be encouraged to only bring quality donations.

Overall, the trial outcomes suggest the need to take a more holistic, systemic view, in order to substantially increase responsible consumption. This includes taking a comprehensive view of all the relevant drivers and barriers when designing similar interventions, as well as taking a 'behavioural systems' view of various interlinked responsible consumption behaviours across multiple audiences.

Download Trials Summary Report

What came next?

This finding led to the final phase of the Mission: Behavioural Roadmap to Circular Consumption

See more on the Phase 4: Behavioural Roadmap to Circular Consumption sub-page