5 Things You Should Optimise In Your Retail Shopping Bag

A life long expression of ours is to never lose track of the little things we do.

In the grand scheme of all things packaging, the retail industry and everything in between - it's the little things that matter.

If you're a business person that lives and breathes the continuous opportunities for improvement in the important aspects of your brand (like your retail shopping bag), it is beyond question that the future of your business will be far more defined, and influentially trend-setting.

In Dieline's article 'The Anatomy of the Shopping Bag', you'll find that the shopping bag is much more than its aesthetics.  

In this article, we'll plunge into the specific 'roles' and functions of the shopping bag structure (sort of like the human anatomy, but minus the explicit imagery of internal organs)

 In summary, we'll explain the five important parts of the retail shopping bag that will improve a customer's return of experience.

 #1 Handles

A shopping bag obviously cannot perform its full functionality without the lifeblood of handles to physically grasp the hands of the consumer.

In reality, your bag has got to be as strong as it is nice to pleasantly look at. From rope to paper, ribbon to cotton, there is quite the selection for you to choose from to enhance the bag's performance, and expose your customers to the beauty of your tailored packaging.

Check out our previous article  'Top 4 Handles Your Customers Will Love'

#2 Turn Tops


Turn tops are the fine inner flaps of the shopping bag that hide the reinforcement panels.

You might be thinking... what are reinforcement panels?

Essentially, they are a strip of board which secure the handles from tearing, thus provides structural integrity, weight distribution, and maintaining a crisp wrinkle-free face.

Often, businesses neglect the potential of utilising the turn top as a principle of art. With its smooth and delicate finish, the turn top allows for complete customisation (i.e. personal messages, social media, patterns etc) and an opportunity to provide quality information that does not disrupt the art on the face of the bag.

At competitive prices, the customisation of your Turn Top can be easily achieved.

#3 Face

The majority of the design efforts heavily focus on the face as the 'main attraction' of packaging. Needless to say, it is arguably the first point of contact an individual has with the 'walking billboard'.

The face, otherwise known as the 'front panel', does not contain the crease line. Therefore, the face is crease-free, preventing any obstruction of cracking in your art.

Be creative with your front panel.

Go a step further and allow your bag to interact with the other components of your shopping bag to optimise your return on experience (i.e. designs that extend to the side gussets)

Inspire your customers to proudly carry your bag wherever they go!

#4 Side Gussets

Side gussets are the left and right side panels of your retail shopping bag. They are the perfect opportunity for you to take advantage of the great area of space. 

Add a contrast of colour or design that can overall complement the rest of the shopping bag masterpiece.

Like the turn top, the side gusset gives you the chance to provide additional information and contact details that avoids disrupting the overall design of the retail shopping bag.

In the 'Better Burger' bag (the image above), the creases runs along a top-to-bottom vertical line with a triangle at end.

#5 Bottom Gussets


From what you can see, there are quite a few options to choose from (in regards to how you want your bottom panel to form its base)

A standard bottom gusset is the most commonly constructed bottom panel where the gusset folds flat to the back. An inverted or Japanese bottom folds inwardly into the bag itself - providing a cleaner and 'modernesque' feel to the shopping bag because of its lack of crease.

A cost effective option is the machine-made bottom. Almost identical to the look of an envelope, this bottom gusset is assembled by machine, and has shorter flaps that meet at the middle.

A step away from the machine-made bottom is assembling by hand. The hand-made bottom is the option you're looking for if you're aiming for that luxurious and seamless finish. The flaps are longer, and are hand-folded and glued closer to the edge of the opposite side of the bottom panel, with a final flap covering the other three.

Finally, the bottom board keeps the bag flat on the bottom. It is an extension of structural support for the bottom gusset to distribute its weight of the contents inside the bag, and support the integrity of the bag to not collapse.

If your products are seemingly known to be heavier than most of the items you offer, choose a heavier stock of board. The bottom board also gives you the chance (yes, again!) to show off your art! When customers remove the contents from their bag, they'll be left with a surprise!


Achieving success in all aspects of life comes from doing the little things, and giving that extra push and initiative in effort.

Your bag should leave an indelible imprint on the mind of the consumer - and just as a bag carries around products from specific brand, the customers also carries a brand through out their lifetime. Your retail shopping bag is merely one of the most important ways you can leave a great first impression onto the person beholding your product.

Here at Gispac, we strive to understand your business needs and deliver packaging that sets you apart. Connect with us on Instagram by searching @Gispac or contact us so we can help maximise your customer experience through customised packaging.



Sold Out