Think Outside the Bag

4 Ways to Make Your Shopping Bags Promotional

Do you encourage fashionable bag ladies? Before the image of an elegant homeless person with their hand out comes to mind, let me clarify that I’m talking about shopping bags.

My grandmother was the original bag collector. She never went anywhere without a shopping bag. Grandma’s bag carrying habit wasn’t limited to shopping for food and other necessities. For example, she carried a small gold Godiva shopping bag to Lincoln Center to hold her out-of-fashion gloves. While some might have considered my grandparents’ shopping bag recycling eccentric, in today’s environmentally friendly world they’d be right in style.

As a marketer, what are you doing to ensure that your customers take notice of your shopping bags? For companies that have not initiated much in the way of green-oriented tactics, this is a good place to start.  Here are four suggestions to help extend the life of your store’s shopping bags:

  1. Is your shopping bag a keeper? Among my favorites are reusable lightweight ones that can be folded into a computer bag or backpack. These bags are created with the intention that shoppers will keep them. Sometimes there’s a nominal fee to pay. For example, my knitting buddies use the bags from their favorite stores and carry them to various knitting events. It’s free promotion.
  2. Does your shopping bag stand out from the crowd? Make your shopping bag stand out from the crowd with the bold graphics, color or materials. Of course, keep it in line with your brand. Remember, even small shops have brands!
  3. Can you give your shopping bag another life? Think outside of the bag! One of the variety of reusable totes sold by Whole Foods converts into a party hat to celebrate its 30th birthday. What can you do to engage your customers keep using your shopping bag? Most marketers don’t give much thought to this opportunity.
  4. Do you encourage shoppers to be green? At a minimum, suggest that shoppers recycle your shopping bags. It costs pretty much nothing to provide some reuse/recycle tips and print the recyclable logo on your bags.

Every retailer needs some form of shopping bags. While the cost-conscious may opt for the plain brown version, I recommend spending a little extra. A well branded bag can act as a portable mini-billboard for your establishment wherever your customers go. And let me tell you, my grandmother would be happy you made the effort.

Happy marketing,

Heidi Cohen


Photo credits:

  • Top photo by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr
  • Rest by (c) 2010 Larry Aronson – All rights reserved via Creative Commons
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  • Georgia Doyle

    You are so right. I know I have a stash of favorites.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Georgia- Thank you for stopping by. Your comment says it all in terms of why retailers need to put thought into their shopping bags. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen