For many retailers, choosing the retail bags, shopping bags, retail boxes and shipping cartons for purchased merchandise falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But that can be a mistake. Not only do these simple items serve a primary function of protecting your products once they leave your store, but they can also be powerful marketing tools. Customers expect a shopping bag, retail box or carton to perform to certain standards – it shouldn't break easily, for example. Your shopping bags and boxes speak volumes about your company image, reinforcing your brand with consumers. And consider this: a shopping bag with your company name on it can become a sort of walking billboard advertising your business. That's a lot of bang for your buck. To get the most out of your retail bags, boxes and cartons, consider:
- The protection provided. Be sure the shopping bag is roomy enough and sturdy enough to carry items safely and without breakage.
- How much storage space you can devote to retail bags and boxes. Plastic and polypropylene bags take up less room than paper; collapsible boxes, less room than hard boxes.
- Whether form is as important as function to your business. Some small retail businesses project an image of elegance by wrapping items in tissue and placing them in flat-bottom bags with handles or elegant gift boxes with a logo; others prefer the practicality of reusable plastic or polypropylene bags with their business name, address and phone number printed on the side.
Discover the best shopping bags for your biz
There are hundreds of retail shopping bag styles available. The right choice depends on several factors: your industry, your image and your merchandise size and weight. For instance, restaurants need plastic bags with handles for take-out orders (for this polypropylene bags are ideal). Upscale boutiques often select flat-bottom shopping bags with handles.
Retail gift boxes can offer distinction, or basic protection
Retail boxes can give your products an air of distinction and can provide protection, too. A retail box life-span and walking billboard aspects can be extended when it is elegant enough to be used as a gift box.
Select retail cartons for more specialized needs
Cartons are a must-have if you ship items to customers. The type you choose depends on the weight and size of the merchandise.
Look into packaging extras
If your budget only allows for the most basic shopping bags or boxes, add some flair with decorative tissue paper, ribbons or fills.
If you really want to make a statement with your retail packages, choose a shopping bag or box in a unique shape or color that reflects your company image. Baskets can also make a statement.
Get printing on your shopping bags
Most retail packaging suppliers also offer shopping bag printing options. Budget-conscious business owners may want to look into pre-printed shopping bags and boxes. Custom printing options, such as ink and hot stamping, can reinforce your brand and turn your bags and boxes into ads.
Gift boxes and bags
Create an upscale ambience by offering free wrapping using gift boxes and bags. Keep it simple by offering one or two papers and a few choices of ribbon.
- Track the use of your shopping bags and boxes to ensure accurate ordering. You can save money by purchasing wholesale shopping bags, but only if you'll use the whole batch.
- Reorder before you're close to running out; this is especially important during the busy holiday season, September through November for most retail bag and box suppliers.
- If your custom shopping bags run short, go generic. Most suppliers can deliver plain bags and boxes quickly to get you through the crunch. Even inexpensive polypropylene bags will suffice during a crunch (and they take minimal storage space, in case you want to keep them on-hand).