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How shopping carts increase sales and can create losses.

A brilliant idea!

It was a day like any other in 1937 in Oklahoma City. Syvan N. Goldman had been the owner of a new kind of store for a few years; customers could grab their own products from the shelves in the store and then checkout those products at a cash register. Goldman found that his shopping baskets were filling up quickly and he had been thinking for some time how he could entice his customers to buy more products per store visit. EUREKA: suddenly he knew! Customers should grab a cart at the entrance and then put their groceries in it. That way, they would buy more than they could otherwise carry.

Not a great start

Goldman’s first shopping cart consisted of a moving rack in which two baskets were attached one above the other. Unfortunately for Goldman, his shopping cart was not popular with his customers at first. Women found walking with this shopping cart very similar to walking with a stroller and men found it very feminine to walk behind a shopping cart. Like a true entrepreneur, Goldman came up with a trick. He had young men and women walk through his store with a shopping cart. Slowly then, more and more customers saw the convenience of a shopping cart and began to use it, resulting in increasing sales for Goldman.

The success of his invention must have surprised Goldman as well. Every supermarket discovered the convenience of the shopping cart and more importantly the increase in sales when the customer was enticed to shop with a shopping cart.

The downside of having shopping carts

Everyone who goes to a supermarket today expects to find plenty of shopping carts in good condition. Today, therefore, every supermarket has shopping carts. Unfortunately, every supermarket also knows that its shopping carts get stolen or just disappear because they can easily be used for other purposes. Goldman never imagined that his idea would also be used for other purposes. Countless are the shopping carts that have ended up as storage racks, chairs or barbecues. Not only are shopping carts used for these new applications, but they also create unsafe situations when they are left to wander around on public roads.

A blessing or nightmare for the store owner?

The more popular the shopping cart became, the more of them disappeared each year. As early as 1998, the Central Food Trade Agency calculated that more than 20,000 shopping carts disappeared every year in the Netherlands. (Trouw; May 19, 1998) This number only increased in the following years resulting in huge costs for the supermarkets. In the 1980s and 1990s there were attempts to stop the theft of shopping carts. These attempts were not very successful.

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Many may not even know they have a shopping cart theft issue because most Loss Prevention executives do not ever see the financial loss information regarding shopping carts. Find out what the impact of loss of shopping carts really is and how it affects your sales.

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Making shopping carts more sustainable

In order to prevent shopping carts from being wasted and to make them last longer, Rocateq started from Barendrecht (NL) in 2000 with the conviction to stop the loss of shopping carts by using the intelligent Rocateq wheel. The Rocateq wheel, which fits under all shopping carts, is equipped with a brake mechanism that slows down the shopping cart when it leaves the parking lot near the store, making it possible to push the cart past the boundary of the parking lot only with a great deal of force and effort. However, when the customer pulls the shopping carts back towards the supermarket, the braking mechanism in the Rocateq wheel is deactivated and the shopping cart can easily be driven towards the shopping cart receptacle. In this way, the store stays in possession of the shopping cart, the shopping carts last longer and it is no longer necessary to purchase new shopping carts every month.

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