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The Best Way to Distribute Your Reusable Bags

So you’ve decided to use reusable bags for marketing purposes, but the question is … how, exactly? Should you give them away to people, or try to sell them and make your money back? Would your clients and customers care more about them if they paid for them, or if they got them for free? Should you sell them sometimes, and give them away others?

These are all great questions, and important ones to answer if you want your marketing plan to succeed. Before we answer them, know that reusable bags are one of the best marketing devices out there today. They generate almost 6,000 impressions in their lifetimes, and often last for years. They get 1,000 impressions per dollar, or less, and beats out many other types of marketing tool, including shirts, billboards and even television spots.

So should you be using reusable bags? Yes. How? Let’s talk about that now, with an eye on when to sell and when to give.

GIVE: If You Have a Brewery or Wine Shop

If you work somewhere that peddles libations – beer, wine, cider or even kombucha – then giving away bags is a smart idea. Our reusable four and six bottle tote bags give customers lots of carrying capacity … which is good for you, because you want them to take home lots of your product.

You can either give them a bag if they buy a certain amount (i.e. “Free bag when you buy four bottles of wine!”) or just hand them out no matter what. If you’re promoting an item heavily, like one particular type of wine that just launched or that you’re trying to use up, you might instead prefer to save your bags for that. If a customer buys six of those bottles, then, they get a bag. Perhaps that bag might even have a special logo on it in honor of the new product. Sky’s the limit!

SELL: If You Run a Grocery Store

Many customers these days keep reusable grocery bags on hand to help them with their weekly trips to and from the store. They pull them out when they park, then refold and tuck them back in the car after the groceries are put away. It’s a great system, and it may or may not require your assistance.

Therefore, you don’t want to just give free bags away. For one thing, the customer may have enough. For another, when they don’t have enough, that’s the perfect sales opportunity to get them to round out their reusable bag collection. Set the bags up right at the end of the register, so they’ll see them when checking out and realize they don’t really have enough bags to get them home. Emblazoned with your logo, those custom printed grocery bags with logo will not only help you keep loyal customers around, they’ll clue other people in to what you do as well.

GIVE: If You’re at a Trade Show

Guess what people just aren’t going to do at a trade show or convention? Buy your bag. Trade shows and conventions are rife with free goodies, so trying to sell a product is just silly. That doesn’t mean you should just give them away freely either, because that just adds to the general confusion caused by so much free marketing material – and isn’t very environmentally friendly.

Here’s a better plan: When someone walks up to your booth and seems interested in becoming a client, customer, vendor, partner or anything else, first engage them in conversation. Walk them through your services and approach, then give them a few pieces of marketing material: think brochures, packets or one-sheets. If they take several and seem interest, give them a bag in which to carry it all. Something flat is usually best, such as the “Metro” Grocery/Retail/Trade Show Bag, because it will keep the papers protected and won’t bulk them up while walking. That way, you avoid cluttering everyone up, but send away a dedicated prospect who will bear that bag proudly.

SELL: If You Work in Retail

If you work at a cute clothing or jewelry boutique, it’s fun to adorn your registers and display racks with bags. When you select bags in your company colors, that match the décor of your store, with your logo shown proud upon them, you give the entire place a boost. Not only are they cute in the store, they’re a great way to hold your customers’ purchases and showcase your brand to the rest of the world.

However, it doesn’t make sense in this environment to give those bags away. Unless you’re running a huge promotion and bags are part of it, selling is much better. Not only can you make a bit of money back, you convince customers of the worth of your goods – after all, a bag must be nice if you’re willing to charge money for it, right?

The best approach? Use the bag around the store as part of mannequin outfits, and hang it up as wall candy. Use it in displays, packed with beach goods or fake farmers market purchases (baguette and flowers, anyone?). That way, by the time the customer reaches the register, they’ll have seen it many times, and be much more willing to buy.

GIVE: If You’re Thanking People for a Job Well Done

Your business is the product of so many people, all working together. That includes your staff, your vendors, your referral partners, your clients and customers, your building personnel and your family members. Your bag is a great way to say thank you, especially when you stock it with a few other choice options, such as stationery or maybe a tee shirt. Even if all you put in it is a nice poem and some caramel corn, they’ll still appreciate it.

Don’t forget to dress it up, though. It is a gift. Stuff the bag with kraft paper grass, tie it with ribbons and sprinkle in some chocolate. Because, come on. Chocolate.

SELL: If You Are Creating Packaged Goods

One thing bags do well is hold other things. We know, we know … we just blew your mind, right?

But seriously, bags make great catchalls, not only for groceries and bottles, but also for gift baskets and packaged goods. Some stores, such as artisanal groceries, small boutiques or even pet shops, sell goods in a bundle: Think a variety of skincare products, say, or a new puppy package. When you put one of these together, you need somewhere to hold them. Voilà: a bag! Not only will your customer appreciate the handy tote and wear it proudly, advertising your name to the world, you’ll be able to earn the cost of the bag back by rolling it into the package price.

These are not, of course, the only opportunities to give or sell bags, but they are some of the most popular with our customers. If you’d like to learn more about our bags and how we can help you build the biz of your dreams with refined marketing techniques, we invite you to get in touch with us today.

Douglas Lober

Author: Douglas Lober

Douglas Lober grew up in Southern California and is an environmentalist at heart. He donates his time and finances to helping children better understand how they can become fine stewards of the Earth. He is he co-Founder and Chief Sales Professional at Reusethisbag.com with over 15 years experience as an overseas importer and exporter of fine eco-friendly promotional items.

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