The plastic bag charge will be extended to small retailers in England in 2020 and the price raised to 10p. This is a a big change for small retailers and there are many advantages. The bag charge provides an opportunity to generate revenue, market your brand and gain valuable PR for your retail brand.
The 5p plastic charge was first introduced to England in October 2015. It had already been a great success in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, leading to a dramatic reduction in the amount of plastic bags used. It has had the same result in England, and there are now plans to raise the charge to 10p and extend it to small retailers who are currently exempt from charging.
Bag Charge Extension - Key Facts for Small Retailers
- The bag charge will apply to all retailers including those with less than 250 members of staff.
- Expected to come into force during January 2020, but this date has yet to be confirmed.
- All retailers will have to charge 10p for each single-use plastic bag, biodegradable plastic bag and plastic bag for life carrier bag.
- They must record revenue on plastic bag sales and what you did with the revenue.
To find out more about the carrier bag charge in England and how to comply with the law, take a look at www.gov.uk/carrierbags. At the time of writing, it has yet to be updated with changes for 2020 but is still a useful reference point for small retailers to get prepared!
The bag charge also provides an opportunity to generate revenue, gain customer loyalty, advertise your retail business and gain some valuable PR whilst raising money for a good cause.
Sound good?! Here's how retailers can take advantage of the sales & marketing opportunities:
4 Benefits of Bag Charge for Small Retailers
1) Generate Sales Revenue by Selling Branded Reusable Shopping Bags
Since the plastic bag charge was introduced in England alone the big 7 supermarkets sold 83% less plastic bags (2016-2017 compared to 2014). That's a whopping 6 billons bags from supermarkets alone. And personal usage is down to 25 bags per year per person, compared to 140 per year previously. (Source: Government Summary of Data 2016-2017)
By adding a range of reusable bags to your product offering which can be sold at a profit, you are creating an additional stream of revenue for your business, as well as providing a service! Have them available at Point of Sale at a reasonable price. They are great for charity shops, museum, art galleries and attractions, fashion retailers and food shops.
2) Give away Reusable Bags As a Customer Gift
We all like a freebie and customers will love being given a free reusable bag. This works well if you have a particular marketing campaign in mind such as an opening, birthday or milestone in the business or to generally create buzz around your brand.
A giveaway rewards your customers, which improves the customer experience which hopefully, will result in increased customer loyalty, recommendations and sales.
3) Let Reusable Bags Act as a Marketing Tool
An added bonus of selling or giving away a reusable bag to your customers is that the bag will act as a walking advertisement. A well-designed bag will be used again and again and each time it’s reused it will be spreading the message about your retail business & brand. It also provides a relatively low-cost way of marketing to a wider audience.
When you give away bags to your customers and improve their customer experience, you are also helping to create brand advocates. People who will tell others how wonderful your retail outlet and products are. Word-of-mouth is one of most powerful marketing tools there and is the holy grail of marketeers.
4) Team Up With a Worthy Cause and Raise Awareness
Retailers will be expected to donate revenue from the bags to a charity of their choice. This can be taken one step further by forming a marketing campaign/partnership with a local or small charity.
You could sell co-branded reusable bags with all profits going to your chosen charity. You might also want to organise some in-store events with all proceeds being donated. Which type of event will depend on what type of retail business you manage but you will receive valuable PR, increase footfall and do a good turn all at the same time!
The bag charge has raised a huge amount in the rest of the UK. In 2017/2018 over £51 million was donated to charities (based on a survey of 249 major retailers). It provides a wonderful opportunity for local charities to get funding they may otherwise miss out on, so get creative and think how you could benefit a local charity.
Get a Quote for Branded Shopping Bags
It takes 10-14 weeks lead time to get delivery via cheapest delivery method. We can also offer express orders in 4-6 weeks, which will cost a little more but is still economical.