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Why Retailers Should Use Custom Shopping Bags to Make the Most of their Advertising Budget


No doubt about it: customers are the lifeblood of every retail business. If you are a business owner, whether you run one retail location or dozens, you likely put a lot of energy into keeping current customers happy, drawing them back to do more business, and motivating to spread the word about your company.

In addition to keeping current customers happy, you also have to draw in new business to keep growing. This can sometimes be a challenge for small retailers. As marketing industry experts point out, advertising costs consume, on average, from one to five percent of a business’s gross sales. It can be difficult for upstart businesses to shell out this amount of money on a consistent basis.

Simply put, small companies do not have the deep pockets that larger firms do, so must make every penny spent on advertising count. In addition, the plethora of advertising choices—including web, print, billboards, events, and many more—can be confusing to new business owners. Where and how can you get the most “bang for your buck” in small business advertising?

The smart solution: make your packaging budget do double duty.

By investing in custom shopping bags you can give your customers a convenient way to carry their purchases and turn customers into walking advertisements for your business.

  • Have you invested in custom shopping bags for your business?
  • What other tips do you have for small businesses trying to get the most out of their money?

Share your thoughts below and join the discussion.

Why Advertise?

At this point, you may be thinking: if advertising costs so much why should I do it. According to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), even if you have a great product, no one may find out about it unless you advertise.

As the SBA reports, advertising can provide seven key business benefits to your company:

  • It helps you inform customers and prospects about your products and/or services
  • It helps foster a distinct brand identity
  • It builds a positive reputation
  • It encourages repeat business from existing customers
  • It attracts new customers for your business
  • It helps you build sales and revenues over time
  • It promotes your business to potential investors and other key stakeholders

It is important to note that effective advertising is not a one-time thing. That means you cannot invest a lot of money in a single television and radio ad and expect to gain a flood of results. Instead, sustained advertising over the long term can create repeated impressions of your business, build brand awareness, and attract new customers. Custom shopping bags imprinted with your corporate logo and message can provide the repeated impressions needed to help your community get to know about your small business.

Packaging is Key Part of Every Purchase Decision

You may not think about it but how you package your products is an important part of your marketing strategy. If you are using generic shopping bags—or none at all—you are missing out on a key marketing opportunity. In fact, packaging industry experts recommend that companies think about the packaging to surround the products, and all the packaging required to get the product from the retail location to its destination safely and in pristine condition.

Research shows that the average customer spends just 2.6 seconds deciding whether or not to purchase a product. That means that the look and feel of packaging is vital to every purchase decision. Packaging industry experts recommend that all retailers should understand their target demographic.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know who your customers are?
  • Do you know what colors, images, and messages are going to appeal to your target customers?
  • Do your packaging materials appeal to your target demographic?

The right custom shopping bags can create a positive impression on your customers. They can reinforce the quality services and products you provide and motivate your customers to return to your location. Choosing the right shopping bags can inspire purchases, promote customer loyalty, and foster broad brand recognition.

How Much Should I Spend on Advertising?

As noted above, one to five percent of gross sales for ballpark figure for advertising spend across a broad range of businesses. You need to get more details about your industry to help you target the right amount of budget to promotional advertising.

One great resource for industry advertising spend retails is the annual Schonfeld survey by Schonfeld and Associates. The Schonfeld survey provides advertising as a percent of sales ratios (also known as A/S ratios) across 300 distinct industries. As an example, the Schonfeld study reveals that eating establishments have a 2.6 A/S ratio, but other industries are much higher. You can also seek out data from the United States Small Business Association or trade associations that focus specifically on your line of business.

Once you have a target number, you can adjust based on your business maturity and competitive conditions. If your promotional budget is tight, you need to come up with creative, low-cost ways to get your message and brand in front of potential customers. Remember that shopping bags are an effective tactic to turn your customers into walking brand ambassadors and build recognition in your local community.

How to Find the Best Custom Shopping Bags


If you have decided that custom-printed shopping bags are a must-have for your company, you should turn to A.N.S. Plastics Corp., a leading shopping bag manufacturer. We can bring our decades of packaging experience to help you create an effective design and purchase the quantities of bags you need without breaking your budget.

If your business uses customized shopping bags, we would love to hear about your experience:

  • How did you design effective shopping bags that double as packaging and marketing tools?
  • Do you have any anecdotes about new customers learning about your business by seeing your shopping bags?

Tell us your story in the space below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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