The era of the free shopping bag is over.
The Problem – Always forgetting to bring a reusable shopping bag and discounts/coupons to the store
How many times has this happened to you: You go to checkout at the grocery store, only to realize you don't have your reusable bag. You also forgot to bring that special offer, discount, reward, coupon, club card, or gift card that would have saved you money. It would take too much time, effort, and money to go home and come back, so now you're forced to pay for the bag AND pay more for your groceries. Your forgetfulness is not only bad for the environment: It’s also bad for your wallet.
The Solution - A reusable bag that saves you money
Shopping Bag Solutions has created the first reusable bag service that also saves you money, solving two problems with one bag. The service is based on patent pending clear external pockets that hold all of your special offers, discounts, rewards, coupons, club cards, or gift cards. Along with receiving this groundbreaking, domestically produced bag, you’ll also have access to money saving incentives at ShoppingBagSolutions.com.
On average in 2013, SBS Alpha Testers saved between $2-3 on top of traditional loyalty savings when using our initial prototype bag, and they were able to do so because the incentives helped them remember to bring their bag to the store. Help launch Shopping Bag Solutions and join our community to see how well it works for you.
Pad your wallet, while supporting the environment, our economy and our veterans!
How It Works
As your reward for supporting our launch, you'll receive an American made SBS bag and one-year access to our Incentives Gallery. You can select incentives and print them at home, just as you would print airline boarding passes or concert tickets. Slide your printouts into your SBS bag pockets and any time you receive a direct mail offer, gift card, or coupon at checkout, add those to your incentives stash. Place the bag either in a visible location at home or next to your printer/workstation, as a simple reminder.
Domestically Manufactured by US Veterans: Knowing that you support this project and our business model means we can pay a living wage and give our domestic bag manufacturing partner, Green VetsLA, a chance against cheap foreign imports. Moreover, if you use the SBS bag to organize your other paper and plastic bags, it becomes a great way to support stores with recycling programs.
2013 Alpha Test Feedback
We've had 50 users in an alpha test since 2013. Here is some of their feedback:
"A similar bag at Whole Foods is going for $4.99 and doesn't stand up to your bag."
"Can I buy another one?"
"The clerks at the store always give me compliments and ask where I got your bag."
"I found some old gift cards, put them in your bag and actually was able to spend!"
"I never knew about digital coupons before: Now I do and will not give up this new behavior."
"I used to just throw out the Redplum mailer, Valpak envelope, etc.. Now I put them in my bag and actually use the offers."
"I love having a way to remember my shopping bag without having to install another useless app!"
Core Design Values
The Shopping Bag Solutions indiegogo Reward Bag. A clerk says this works better than a smart phone app!
We started our design process by looking at the core values we shared:
1. Promote multi-function bag use, recycling, and reusable bags
2. Produce our bags domestically
3. Drive engagement with savings
Early test of the very first SBS bag at Walgreens.
Early prototype of the SBS Bag.
Later prototype of the SBS bag
Quality Stitching that will last
Risks and challenges
$20 is asking a lot: Why aren't SBS bags cheaper?
When you factor in the SBS savings to be had and the bag fees in certain cities, the SBS bag easily pays for itself - and then some! In addition, as SBS grows, we aim to reduce costs through scale and production efficiencies.
That said, there are indeed legitimate productions costs factored into the price. SBS community members are investing in more than just their own bank accounts by buying a bag and using the incentives gallery. They are also supporting the environment, our economy, and our veterans.
The price also includes estimated fulfillment and shipping costs of $5-8 dollars per bag, which many Indiegogo direct-to-consumer companies forget to take into account.
NOT Made in China
Over 90% of the reusable bag market is dominated by foreign imports, and the domestic alternatives are fighting a commodity price war. Call it "fair trade" or wrap it up in whatever cause you want, but even the rare companies that do offer domestic options still make most of their profit by manufacturing abroad, as well. Rather than pursue this option, we are attempting to pioneer new value-added features and services to give the domestic industry an edge.
The restoration of American/Domestic manufacturing depends upon creating products right here and employing people living right here, even when it costs more. SBS is starting with the bags you use every week – And we don't just want to sell you one bag one time. We want to be the company providing you bags and savings, year after year. Think of a subscription service: Once a year, we will ask you to support this effort by buying another bag for yourself or to give as a gift.
Why Printed Vs. Mobile SBS Bag Incentives?
Isn’t mobile the way to go? Not this time – or at least, not yet. For all our technological advancements, printed incentives still dominate. In fact, 99% of the coupon market is printed out on paper. To quote one industry insider, “Paperless coupon formats are currently dependent upon unique point of sale (POS) system enablement, and they require a change in consumer planning or shopping behavior to engage the consumer compared to other forms of coupon media.”
New technologies are emerging every day that might change the way we shop, checkout, and purchase; but unless we grow pouches, we’ll always need bags to carry things.
ProductionFirst indiegogo Bag Production Run: July 2014
When we meet our goal, Shopping Bag Solutions will partner with GreenVets Los Angeles to manufacture our first production run of 1000 SBS bags. GreenVets is a non-profit vocational rehabilitation program that works closely with the West Los Angeles V. A. Hospital to provide job training for returning veterans. Both injured and non-injured Veterans are offered a wide variety of training through this program. Every part of their manufacturing process is done locally in Los Angeles, CA.
The business model of GreenVets can be replicated to VA Hospitals across America - With your support, it can happen.
Second indiegogo Bag Production Run: September 2014
We’d be thrilled to exceed our goal! And in that event, we are prepared to scale our production to meet the demand.