Bagging Up Big Sales
Bags have been around for all of human history. Cave people used animal pelts to carry rocks, the ancient Romans used bags to carry the vast amounts of wine they drank and people today use bags for everything from shopping on Madison Avenue to picking up seashells on the beach. Because of their widespread use, bags make great promotional items. We at Promo Marketing spoke to a few experts in the field of promotional bags and totes to find out what makes a popular promotion.
Having the Look
Users will want something that looks good if they're going to use it repeatedly. Christopher Duffy, vice president of marketing for Bag Makers, Union, Ill., noted that the look is how users make their first impression of the product.
"The look of the bag is very important to end-buyers," Duffy said. "It says a lot about who they are, their brand and the perception they want to put across."
Anne Zimmer, president of Sailor Bags, Victor, N.Y., also said that first and foremost, bags need to look good. She likened it to a first date: if the initial attraction isn't there, then it probably won't be successful in the long run.
"At the end of the day, all of the function, features and quality of a bag are pointless if it doesn't appeal to the customer aesthetically," she said. "So the appearance of the bag is critical—without that initial impression, the customer doesn't look any further, whether it's picking the bag up off a retail display, reading more about it online, or—of course—considering it for a promotional program."
Aside from just toting groceries, promotional bags can include a lot of cool features. Using a bag's features and abilities can help with making a sale. Zimmer laid out what she feels are the most popular bag features.
"Things like tote bags with flat bottoms—which both maximizes capacity and improves the user experience—are important," she noted. "So are pockets that keep portable electronics, especially phones, safe, yet very easy to access." She also included weather repellency as something customers appreciate in a bag.
Duffy seconded the value of pockets, and also pointed out good straps as a key feature. "Adjustable and wider straps add to the comfort and functionality of the bag, while pockets greatly increase their convenience—easy access to pens, phones, bottles, etc.," he said.
The Right Choice for the Client
Zimmer observed that clients look for particular features in a bag, and knowing these features can help boost sales.
"The key to getting the right bag for the client is to really pay attention to what they are going to use the bag for," she said. "This goes beyond the function of the bag as some sort of container and extends to the event where the bag will be used and the audience it will be given to. The bag should be chosen to enhance the theme of the event and to resonate with the interests of the recipients."
"The bag category is huge," she added. "There is a specialty bag for every need, and so many cross-functional bags. The good news is that the perfect bag for every purpose or event is out there. The challenge is to find it."