Encouraging Reusable Shopping Bags

There are many benefits for retailers to use reusableshopping bags. In addition to supporting  the environment, it also eliminates the need to have bags supplied in your store for purchases made. This saves you money, plain and simple. This may also mean you don’t need to purchase tissue or additional packaging supplies, which can save you even more money. For any retailer, this is a good situation to be in.

There are three options that you can offer your customers that support reusable shopping bags. They include:

1. Sell Reusable Shopping Bags– If you sell reusable bags, you not only support the green movement but also can make some money doing so. A few favorite reusable bags that Retail Minded love include:

Earthwise Bags –  You can customize these for your store!

Envirosax – These offer great styles and scream style!

Neela – Chic and modern with tons of sizes! Insulated styles available, too!

2. Customers Use Their Own Bags – Encourage your customers to use their own reusable bags. For every purchase made that they use their own bag, offer them an incentive that thanks them for being “green”. One incentive idea is to have a small punch card and for every fifth or tenth purchase made where they used their own reusable bag, you can offer them a percentage off their next purchase. This is also a great way to support customer loyalty. Another idea  is to give them an immediate discount, even if it’s just a small 5%. Decide what’s right for your store and then promote these details. Tell the media, put up store signage and have fun being green.

3. Pack and go – No bag? No problem. Many purchases are small enough to fit into a customer’s purse, pocket, or hands (even without a bag). In the same signage you use to support using their own reusable bags, let them know that no bag is okay, too. Make sure you identify that you are supporting the environment in your efforts.

Ultimately there will be a customer who wants to use a plastic or paper bag provided by you, the store owner, for their purchase. You should always have a bag available for them just in case, however paper is much better for the environment than plastic. 

By encouraging reusable bags and using signage, telling the media and having your store employees verbally communicate your store preference in regards to bags, most of your customers will learn to respect your store ways. And if this doesn’t do it alone, share these details with your customers:

1. Did you know each year 12 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic bags?

2. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, and 96% end up in landfills for eternity.

3. Animals can choke to death when they mistake plastic bags for food that they find in their wildlife environments, including oceans, lakes and forests.

Finally, be persistent. This is a movement to support long term, not temporarily.


  • Simone
    March 13, 2010

    These days, I find that many of my customers decline the bag and just put their purchses in their purses, or in some cases, in their strollers (I’m a kid’s store). It’s not just the environment… people don’t want yet one more thing to schlep around.

    I do find, though, that older customers still love to leave the store with a bag!

  • Charlie
    March 16, 2010

    We have just got in stock the following and wondered if these really could be considered eco shopping bags as they certainly look a great idea

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