Monday, 2 November 2015

See how to turn the plastic bag charge to your benefit

We are now a month on from the start if the charge for plastic bags in shops in England.

As people start to settle into the routine of bringing their own bag or paying, it's worth taking a look at the charge and seeing how it works and how it can work for you. There are quite a few exclusions to the plastic bag levy and some may apply to your business-

A main area that you don't have to charge is if you employ less than 250 full-time employees.

Many of my readers are small independent retailers but the exclusion doesn't mean that you can't charge for bags - it means that you don't have to. I think that a large part of the charge is to educate customers to the dangers of disposable carrier bags so a small retailer can be as much a part of this education as a large one. Customers won't necessarily know which shops have to charge and which shops are exempt. So this is your opportunity to help a charity of your choice by charging for bags and donating the proceeds to them. If it's communicated in the right way then your customers will feel positive about the charge rather than negative.

Your alternative is to advertise that you are one of the retailers that don't (have to) charge for bags. It feels like a strange strategy but it could give you a small competitive advantage as bag charge fatigue sets in.

And it's by looking at your structure when changes like this happen that helps you assess your business plans. Having plans set out for your business and regularly assessing them keeps you on track. I suggest that you set out business plans annually, reassess quarterly and monitor progress monthly. Changes to legislation, the trading landscape or your competition will prompt a further review and assessment. As a business, you will need to know where you are and where you are going. Getting to grips with it all can transform what you do.

In my next blog I'll take a more detailed look at business planning.

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