The question is not whether or not the carrier bag used by your business can be utilised for your marketing; it’s how much value you want it to create.
When you choose what your carrier bag should look like, there are of course several ways you can maximise the bag’s brand value as it leaves the store filled with items.
”As long as the choice of bag is not restricted to simply being the cheapest solution, you can often employ some fantastic and creative solutions that not only indicate your brand’s values but also bring customers into the store,” explains Peter Mosgaard from Scanlux Packaging.
In this article, we introduce you to three different approaches to the carrier bag, and explain how your packaging can create additional sales in your store.
#1 The affordable carrier bag as a marketing tool
If the choice is between a neutral fabric bag and a bag with a printed logo, the latter option is the most beneficial.
A simple logo on the side of the bag means brand exposure on the street, which in turn increases brand recognition. Increased brand exposure is particularly valuable in the FMCG and retail sectors, as simple exposure creates credibility for the brand. Your brand also receives “social acceptance” as potential customers can see that other people have made purchases in your store; meaning that you must be a good choice. According to professor Chris Baumann from Macquarie University in Sydney , credibility and social acceptance will help draw customers to your business and make it easier for customers to choose you 1.
Get more out of your bag with a smart design
If you want to take full advantage of your carrier bag’s marketing value while keeping the price low, you can use it in a more active way than simply to display a logo. Use the bag as a billboard for important messages about your brand, for example in one of the following ways:
- Communicate your CSR agenda (for example that the bag is sustainable, that part of the profit goes to charity, or how you cooperate with the UN’s global agenda)
- Promote your social media or your website
- Provide information about an upcoming event
#2 Maximise marketing value with bags that can be reused again and again
The more often your customers are exposed to your brand, the more likely they are to drop by your store.
If you use your carrier bag as a marketing tool, you can multiply the amount exposure your brand receives by choosing a bag that your customers can and will reuse.
”You should think about how you would like people to use the bag afterwards. Take the IKEA bag for example: Considerations about size, how comfortable it is to wear on the shoulder, and how durable it is have been taken into account. The bag is the perfect beach or laundry bag,” says Peter Mosgaard, continuing:
”[Danish department store] Magasin’s new green anniversary bag is another example. It is made from very durable material called “non-woven”, which makes it extremely recyclable. This, combined with their beautiful design, means that we’re now seeing it everywhere; recycled as a carrier bag, a tote bag, or a bag stowed under a pram when a mother’s group is out on a walk.”
With a beautifully designed, reusable bag of a high quality, your brand will gain extra visibility in public. Those extra walks on which your bag is carried provide extra exposure for your brand, and the quality your customer experiences is transferred to their perception of your brand. Both of these factors provide additional sales, according to Professor Baumann.
#3 The bag that draws people (back) to your store
Among the strongest branding tools is something called “psychological ownership”.
Psychological ownership refers to a feeling of attachment towards the brand experienced by the customer, to an extent at which they feel like co-owners of the brand. One can achieve this particular degree of loyalty with intensive and persistent customer involvement, and by personalising the products to customers 2
With good customer insight, the right design, and tools from the theories on psychological ownership, it is possible to attract customers to your store solely due to the carrier bag.
”It requires you to get to know your customers and make the carrier bag an attractive item for them. The bag should help the customer create the self-image they want. It will also often require you to renew your carrier bag relatively often, so there is reason to come back to the store for the latest model,” explains Peter Mosgaard.
How to design a bag that functions as a brand ambassador
Look at Björn Borg for inspiration as to how a bag can function as a brand ambassador. It succeeded with an eco-friendly bag with a focus on both brand and tennis court that is recognisable for the customers, while also creating an association with the iconic tennis player the brand takes its name after.
Also take a look at Normal that creates recognisability through the graphics of a small man and green colour on its bags. Normal has created a bag in 80% recycled plastic, promoted as being unique among the countless bags typically seen on the street. Furthermore, it creates a focus on the message that defines the brand, “Ordinary products, extraordinary prices.” The bag functions as an extension of the brand and other marketing-activities with its customers in focus.
When you choose a bag type and design, you are able to utilise the bag as a marketing tool, which to a lesser or greater extent draws customers to your business. Your bag choice influences how many times the bag will be used, in which situations it will be used, and which customers will reuse it. With the right strategy, you can transform your carrier bag from a simple receptacle into an active part of your sales-driven marketing.
- Baumann C. How brand exposure and experience impact brand recall – Marketing science – CMO Australia. CMO – from IDG. https://www.cmo.com.au/blog/marketing-science/2015/01/22/how-brand-exposure-and-experience-impact-brand-recall/. Published 2015. Seen May 1, 2019.
- Kirk CP. How Customers Come to Think of a Product as an Extension of Themselves. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/09/how-customers-come-to-think-of-a-product-as-an-extension-of-themselves. Published 2018. Seen May 1, 2019.