Paper Or Plastic? Reusable Tote Bags Will Advertise Your Business

by Joan Tobin - Date: 2006-11-28 - Word Count: 690 Share This!

As a food retailer, do you provide shopping bags to your customers? Is your company inadvertently contributing to the litter problem in the United States? Over the last twenty years, plastic or polyethylene shopping bags have become very common in the United States. Although they require less energy to produce and they generate less solid waste than paper bags, plastic shopping bags are petroleum based and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. While customers often reuse plastic shopping bags for carrying lunch or picking up animal waste, the main problem is their ultimate disposal in land fills or as litter along our highways. A plastic bag bearing your store name floating along in the breeze is not good advertising for your business!

According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the average American makes 2.3 trips to the grocery store each week. As an average consumer, if you bring home 5-8 bags per shopping trip, you are using 600 to 1,000 bags per year. To combat the waste and litter problem, some retailers have proposed ideas such as charging a fee for each plastic bag used, or encouraging re-use by offering a small discount for each bag brought into the store. Ireland has had great success with the fee charging scheme, reducing plastic bag use in that country by 95% since 2002.

Eliminate your dilemma over paper v. plastic and do the right thing for the environment! By successfully implementing a reusable bag system for your business, you will:

reduce the use of disposable bags, and help the environment advertise your business in a positive manner, and generate sales foster goodwill and customer loyalty, and sustain your business

Reduce the use of disposable bags

Reducing the use of disposable bags will not only reduce litter, but will save retailers money and storage space. Yet encouraging customers to use reusable totes is a behavioral habit that will take time to change. Plastic bag use is ingrained in our shopping culture, and many consumers do not realize their impact on the environment. Successful implementation of a reusable tote bag program in your retail business will require some marketing. Prominently display your reusable tote bags near the cash registers. Create a brochure explaining your discount program for each bag brought into the store, such as a 25 cent discount on a customer's total purchase. Since you would prefer the customer carry a reusable tote bag advertising your business, perhaps offer a higher incentive with the purchase your customized tote, such as a $5.00 in-store coupon. Shifts in consumer attitudes take time, education and patience. Over time, your reusable bag program will gain acceptance and be a success.

Advertise your business

Besides the benefit to the environment, your customized tote bag provides public advertising for your business. Putting your business name on a reusable tote bag is a powerful, useful, space-efficient promotional tool. Consistent, repeated marketing imagery is known to increase sales. Customers will not only use your tote bag in your store, but while shopping at other businesses and visiting other communities. Your promotional reusable tote bag becomes a walking advertising billboard for your business. And, by selling your promotional tote bag to customers at your cost, you are paying for your advertising.

Foster goodwill and customer loyalty

The ultimate goal of any business is repeat customers. Repeat customers represent satisfied customers, but they may not be loyal customers. Loyal customers are those who think of your business first, make a special trip to your market, talk about your products, your business's atmosphere, and encourage their friends to shop there. Recent studies show that consumers are loyal to businesses that promote their community, who sponsor and participate in local events, contribute to local charities and care for the local environment. Businesses with loyal customers stay in business.

Implementing a reusable bag program in your retail business will have long lasting positive effects on your business, your community and your environment. Adding your store name, logo, and business message to a reusable tote bag provides the extra benefit of positive, consistent, repeated free advertising. Leave the floating plastic bag litter to your competitors, your customers will notice and your business will benefit.

Related Tags: shopping, marketing, advertising, environment, tote bags, reusable, plastic bags, paper bags, litter

Joan Tobin is owner of Eat Local Food LLC, a marketing and promotional merchandise firm that specializes in local, organic, and natural food promotions for food retailers, farmers markets and restaurants. At Eat Local Food, "It's art, it's advertising, it's a values statement all in one colorful image". Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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