Putting the Shopping Cart before the Horse

Putting the Shopping Cart before the Horse: A General Discussion about In-Store Shopping Carts & Baskets

TIn-Store Shopping Carts hough the title is a play on words, putting the ‘cart before the horse’ is ostensibly connected to many business decisions.  Is the store shopping cart an after-thought or one that you actually think about?

If you have taken time to get the right size store shelving for your store and product assortments, do not forget your shopping cart or hand-carry shopping baskets.  Your customer cannot shop without them!

Everyone needs a Cart

Yes, every shopper needs a way to gather and carry their product selections around your store, ending at your checkout.

And, every shopper expects the shopping cart to fit the store they are shopping.

Big home centers, for example, have very wide aisles and give shoppers extra large carts; chain groceries provide large carts with a few smaller double deck carts; pet stores offer medium size carts; pharmacies even smaller carts, etc..

In-Store Shopping Carts Each retailer, based on their store size and product mix, must determine the right size shopping cart to maximize sales, including important impulse buys.

Customers also want a cart or shopping basket that fits the kind of shopping they do.

Every store should offer a hand-carry basket for the shopper wanting the quick in-and-out purchase. A cart must be available to hold a week’s worth of groceries or a list of DIY project items.  It is the retailer’s job to fulfill that customer expectation.


A Bigger Cart is a Better Cart?

‘The bigger the cart, the more customers will buy’, sounds like a retailer’s dream.

But yes, it is true. Research says customers will buy up to 40% more than they might normally buy if the cart is twice the size of a regular one.  The psychology is if a cart looks half full we must fill it.  This sounds great in theory, but the store must be able to accommodate larger carts.

If you use this strategy, that means wider aisles too.  Wide aisles may impact the amount of floor space needed for the shelving that displays the product.  The end game must balance your desire for more sales with the shopping experience you want for your customer.  Would a shopper want to push around a big box size cart in a convenience store?

Conversely, a cart that is too small reduces your sales potential and customers will experience frustration not able to get what they need into their cart.

Shopping Baskets:  What to Choose

It may be easier to gauge the size of the hand-carry baskets you provide your customer than the sShopping Basketshopping cart.  But there are more choices now than before.

Generally speaking, most stores offer a small or medium size plastic hand-carry basket.

Adding to your choices is the hand basket on wheels, some with a flip-up handle, some with telescoping handles, similar to carry-on luggage.   These pull-behind baskets have hand-carry handles too, offering a customer a choice to carry it or pull it.  The “fill it up” psychology, that encourages filling up the larger shopping cart, applies to hand-carry basket as well.

Shoppers start by carrying the basket, adding items they really need.  Since the basket is larger, there is room for few impulse items.  When it becomes heavy, they set it down and use the pull-behind handle.

Suddenly, it is easier to shop, and more products are added to the basket.

Shopping BasketsSome fun with History

It was 1937 at the Piggly-Wiggly supermarket chain where the shopping cart made its first appearance.

Developed in the late 1930’s, it was patented in 1940 by Sylvan Goldman, owner of Piggly-Wiggly.  Two baskets, one above the other, were wheeled around on a simple metal frame.

Hand-carry baskets were first made of wicker but were not very sturdy, so the wire mesh basket came along.  But, they were pretty heavy at the time and customers just stopped shopping when the basket became too full.  How familiar is this?

For more information about selecting shopping carts and hand-carry baskets, contact Midwest Retail Services today.  Call 800-576-7577, use our convenient site link, or email us at info@mw-rs.com.  One of our shopping experts will be available to help you!




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About Midwest Retail Services

Midwest Retail Services provides all the store fixtures needed to start, expand, or update your retail store. We serve a wide variety of businesses including pharmacy, grocery, pet supply, party supply, book, C-Store, discount, and many other retailers. We also support POP design and fulfillment, retail designers, architects, contractors, installers, and store fixture resellers.