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The 10p Bag Charge: 4 Sales and Marketing Opportunities for Small Retailers

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 10p Bag Charge: 4 Sales and Marketing Opportunities for Small Retailers

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. 

Read: 10p Bag Charge to Be Extended to Small Retailers in England

Bag Charge - Key Facts for Small Retailers

  • The bag charge will now apply to retailers 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. It is 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: Goverment Summary of Data 2016-2017)

As consumers are using less plastic bags, they have got into the habit of carrying reusable shopping bags with them to avoid the bag charge.  But if they forget their bag or need a new one, make it easy for them to pick one up!

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.
 
Read: Carrier Bag Charge Raises Bag for Life Use in the UK

 

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.
 
Read: Let's Get Physical - Promotional Gifts Win the Race to Attract Customers


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.
 
Read: Pardon! this Case Study: Brand Identity & Driving Sales


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.  


The Food Gatherer Protect the Environment & Promote Their Brand

The Food Gatherer Protect the Environment & Promote Their Brand

"As an online local food shopping hub and home delivery service the bag is something tangible that reflects what The Food Gatherer does..."

Emma Lundie, Food Gatherer



These are just a few ideas for small retailers to create sales & marketing opportunities from the plastic bag charge.

Read our Food Gatherer Case Study to see how a small food retailer is using branded reusable bags to promote their business. 

Please bear in mind it takes 12-14 weeks for delivery at our cheapest prices, so it's best to order by late Summer/early Autumn 2019. You could also use the bags for Christmas 2019 promotions to make the most of your marketing spend. Follow the links below for further help, advice and case studies.



 

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