In the age of reusable shopping bags, plastic bag bans, and rising costs, custom branded shopping bags represent a savvy choice for a business's marketing needs. The internet has become the great equalizer of brands today, allowing tiny start-ups to compete with massive, multinational corporations. However, building a brand is harder than ever thanks to an internationally crowded marketplace.
Think of brands that have used packaging and bags to their benefit so as to create a valuable piece of marketing out of what would otherwise be a simple wrapper, bag, or container. Whenever you see a box with little curved arrow on it, what company comes to mind? It's probably Amazon.com.
Likewise, when you see a simple shopping bag that says, "little brown bag" on the side, you immediately connect that bag to Bloomingdales. The right designs and graphics for your custom branded shopping bags can offer your business incredible benefits.
Here's how custom bags can enhance your business's future:
1. Inspire referrals from current customers
Sites like Yelp, Angie's List, and various industry-specific consumer websites feature reviews, opinions, and ratings of thousands of businesses operating around the country. Increasingly, consumers are checking these sites or asking their friends (online and in real life) about their opinions on products, services, and companies.
According to small business website AllBusiness, referrals constitute a huge chunk of new business:
Just ask any business owner or salesperson what their No. 1 source of new business is, and you're likely to hear some variation on the theme of referrals.
When your customers walk around with your custom printed bags, you're going to get some traction through referrals and conversations between those customers and their friends or family.
2. Build brand through graphics
Establishing specific guidelines on the graphics a business uses for marketing purposes helps build brand identity. Custom printed bags are one of the most important places where graphics may help reinforce a company's visual persona.
You can tell a story with your logo that draws upon the themes or ideals present in your business. A perfect example of this type of graphical representation is the Twitter logo. Twitter says about their logo:
The Twitter bird was created from three sets of overlapping circles, suggesting the way interests, events and people interact on Twitter.
Today, that familiar little bird is a universal indication of a Twitter feed. By creating specific guidelines for display of the Twitter bird, the company created a graphic that didn't even require that the word "Twitter" accompany it so as to allow viewers to recognize the bird.
3. Expanded marketing opportunities from creative campaigns
The simplest use for a bag is carrying items already owned or recently purchased, but a little creativity goes a long way in today's demanding marketplace. Businesses that don't look outside traditional advertising channels don't get the exposure they need to expand operations and bring goods and services to a new audience.
Consider the recent and innovative marketing ploy by Australian airline Quantas to encourage passengers to draw on the sick bags stored on each flight. The best drawings would be eligible for a chance to score some time in the airline's exclusive airport lounge.
According to an article on Skift:
The best entries will be posted on Qantas’s Instagram account throughout May, with winners receiving a double Qantas Club pass – valid for entry into Qantas airport lounges, as well as priority check-in and extra baggage allowance.
Using simple bags for something other than they were originally intended drew positive notice, and Quantas' idea was a home run for the marketing value of a regular, everyday object.
4. Reputation boost from using reusable, sustainable technology
Although plastic bags still represent an option for businesses, the opportunity to use custom branded shopping bags made of recyclable paper or that feature reusable features offers a simple and immediate boost to your company's reputation.
According to a McKinsey & Company article on building corporate reputation, encouraging customers to recycle was a simple way for big box store Best Buy to improve its reputation:
In 2008, for instance, Best Buy began inviting customers to bring their old electronics into its stores for recycling. The program has not only generated positive press and helped position the company as an environmental leader but is also increasing foot traffic in stores.
Creating a marketing campaign out of reusing the company's bags is a simple way to get the public on your side and improve reputation.
5. Reusable bags offer inexpensive marketing
Whether you provide customers with custom printed bags or not, you'll need to give them something when they walk out of your retail facility. Consider that printed bag as a walking advertisement for your company the moment it leaves your store.
Marketing and advertising often seem like a significant expense to small businesses, so a little creativity in this department goes a long way. Consider that a small business might already be paying for online marketing and offline advertisements, so employing custom bags as simple advertisements is a savvy use of company dollars.
You'll want to measure the rate of new customer acquisition before and after you start using custom packaging for an indication of the value of this marketing technique.
Tip: Offer customers a small discount if they bring in a reusable bag with the company's logo on it. A rebate as small as 10 cents is a terrific incentive for encouraging customers to use their bag regularly.
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