Since carrier bags were banned, just about every time I go into a shop I’m asked if I’d like to pay 5p for a carrier bag. The answer is always no, I’ve not paid any 5p bag fines and have no intention of doing so.
Whilst this doesn’t directly affect online traders, it’s created an interesting shift in consumer behaviour which especially impacts small retailers. If you’re going to town to buy goods from a couple of shops it makes sense to make your first purchase with the small independent retailer who will give you a carrier bag for free and visit the national chain who’ll charge for a bag second. Amazingly it appears that consumers are so tight that they’ll buy a single item just to get a carrier bag from the retailer who gives them away for free rather than remember to bring their own bag or pay the 5p fine.
Bags have also become much more desirable as a marketing tool. This year at the various conferences I’ve attended I’ve seen many more bags given away and indeed gratefully collected by delegates than ever before. Whereas once a carrier bag was discarded on the way out, these days a canvas bag that’ll be good for a few shopping trips is one of the more sought after freebies.
If you’re thinking of new marketing materials, whilst pens are always a favourite, think about producing some branded shopping bags. If you want to get some long term mind share, getting your branded bag in the pile of shopping bags used on a weekly basis isn’t a bad way to get your business remembered.