Using the reusable bag to increase sales.

ReusableBagPromo2As more cities and states enforce bans on thin plastic shopping bags, environmentally conscious reusable bags are becoming ubiquitous. What’s interesting is that there are psychological effects that come with this new, sustainable territory that may have a positive influence on the retailer’s bottom line.

Studies find that shoppers who bring reusable bags with them often extend that same sense of responsibility to their purchases. Whole and organically grown foods, recycled paper products, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies — along with their typically higher price tags — are gaining more real estate in the shopping cart.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Deloitte for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), green shoppers “actually buy more and shop more often than the typical shopper.” The study goes on to say that they are less price-sensitive and will frequently pay more for sustainable products.

But a surprising behavior turned up in another study published in the Harvard Business Review. Researchers found that the virtuosity from bringing reusable bags and filling them with green products also led to reward indulgences, such as junk food. Uma Karmarkar, one of the authors of the study, explains it like this: “You do good, and you give yourself a cookie… literally. In consumer psychology the word ‘licensing’ is the key. If I behave well in one situation, I give myself license to misbehave in another, unrelated situation. In this case bringing a bag makes you think you’re environmentally friendly, so you get some ice cream. You feel you’ve earned it.”

Not only will this phenomenon likely put more money in your cash drawer, but it could also present some creative marketing opportunities.

ReusableBagPromoConsider how shelf-edge tags and signs could be used to target shoppers who have already committed to a tangible action: bringing their reusable bags. Now develop a promotion that either encourages decisions green shoppers may be on the verge of making, or gives them “license” to buy even more. It could be a BOGO offer or a simple discount for whatever’s in the bag. It could be a discount for only your highest margin foods.

The point is, Bacompt can help retailers like you capitalize on the reusable bag trend and its impact on shopping behaviors. Talk to us about creating a reusable bag program that’s right for your business, and give your customers a pat on the back for doing right by the environment.