STORES - October 2010 - (Page 64)

NUTS AND BOLTS / CONSUMER BEHAVIOR Sustainability in a Bag Reusable bags present marketing and education opportunities for retailers BY D. GAIL FLEENOR he now-ubiquitous plastic shopping bag was an instant hit with retailers and consumers when introduced in 1977. The use of paper shopping bags declined as a result: By 1996, four out of five grocery bags were plastic. But when environmental evidence showed those plastic bags would languish in landfills for generations, retailers — particularly supermarkets — began to offer bag recycling centers. T Not wanting to be left holding the bag, some cities across the country have attempted to impose bag recycling programs, a tax on their use or ban them completely. While mandatory recycling programs have passed in several states, San Francisco is one of the few to ban use altogether. Negative consumer sentiment regarding plastic bags has mushroomed in some parts of the country, and consumer-level peer pressure seems to be mounting nationwide, according to Jeanne von Zastrow, senior director of industry relations for the Food Marketing Institute. She notes that the majority of supermarkets have been offering bag recycling and reusable bags for “quite some time,” but consumers haven’t really begun to embrace the change until recently. “There is a cultural change emerging in many pockets across the country,” says Ted Brown, founder of Brown Sustainability Solutions in Maine. “A gradual shift, in which consumers take pride that there is one little thing they can do to help the environment, and that is using reusable bags.” “Some supermarkets are customizing their bags to be unique and attractive to shoppers,” von Zastrow says. “Giant Eagle worked with a design class at a local university. The top five designs 64 STORES / OCTOBER 2010 “There is a cultural change emerging in many pockets across the country. A gradual shift, in which consumers take pride that there is one little thing they can do to help the environment, and that is – Ted Brown, Brown Sustainability Solutions using reusable bags.” and also gives the bag program attention.” Other retailers use signs in the parking lot to remind shoppers to take in their reusable bags when they shop. “A lot of innovation in bags was timed to coincide with Earth Day,” Brown says. “This helped advertise ways that consumers can be more responsible.” Reusable bags have grown in popularity over the last two to three years, to the point where they “have become almost a fashion statement or status symbol,” von Zastrow says. Creativity in displays, promotions or design helps communicate the importance of reusable bags to consumers, according to Brown. “There is a higher level of consciousness on the part of retailers to help consumers reduce their carbon footprint,” he says. “Promotion WWW.STORES.ORG were selected and used. It is a wonderful way to support the college community http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES - October 2010

STORES - October 2010
Contents
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Customer Experience
Game Changer
Marketing
E-Commerce
Applications
Payments
Operations
Power Players
NRFtech Recap
Concept 2 Watch
Customized Shopping
Communication
Localization
Sustainability
Consumer Behavior
Software & Analytics
Self-Service
Crowd Control
Q&A
Payment Fraud
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

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