Tips for choosing the right shopping bags

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Choosing the right shopping bags is an important step in opening a business. Bags perform a utilitarian service: They allow customers to carry purchased merchandise around. However, they can also be a key branding tool. When shoppers are out and about with a bag from your store, it's a great opportunity to raise awareness for your business. Here are some ideas for choosing the right kind of bag for your store.

Go traditional
There's a lot to be said for traditional shopping bags. They are affordable, easy to handle and customers know what to expect from them. For many retailers, it makes sense to go with the old-fashioned plastic bag and combine it with a bag rack so you can package items quickly and seamlessly. If people tend to make large purchases when they come in, the traditional plastic bag is likely the smartest choice.

Clear bags
Depending on what kind of merchandise you sell, a clear plastic bag could be a good choice. A bag that is completely see-through allows people to see exactly what a customer has purchased. If it happens to look good for them, they can be led back to your store to seek out a similar item. In addition, clear bags let items speak for themselves and can show just how great your merchandise is.

Add some color
When you look around at the shopping bags people carry around, they are typically grey or white. Why not use a more colorful bag to set your customers apart? Passersby are bound to be drawn to someone who is carrying bags that differ from the norm. Blue and pink hues, as well as bright greens, will draw the eye more than a traditional color.

Going green
Sustainability is a growing trend for businesses. According to a survey from Deloitte, more than half of customers consider sustainability to be a key aspect in their decision-making when shopping. As customers become more concerned with the environment, they are less inclined to take a plastic bag and may appreciate alternative options. Consider selling reusable shopping bags or biodegradable options. Some retailers even provide discounts when customers bring their own bags.

Bags for marketing
You may want to consider going beyond simple branding and using bags as a clever marketing strategy. Nation's Restaurant News noted how restaurants are taking advantage of to-go bags for marketing. Rather than simply put their business's name on the bag, restaurants are creating strategic campaigns. Burrito chain Chipotle even made bags that incorporated quotes from famous authors.

Shopping bags might seem like an afterthought when putting together a store, but they are actually a key consideration. Not only do shopping bags need to function, they can help you promote your store. In short, visual merchandising isn't the only way to display your items. Be sure to put some real thought into the bags you purchase, rather than just choosing anything that will allow customers to take their purchases with them.

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