The Shopping Cart Differentiator

Jan 07, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Competition between retailers for consumer dollars is intense, especially when high-spending families with children are involved. Every retailer is looking for any advantage
they can get, even including shopping carts.

A report in the Seattle Times looks at the growth of kid-friendly carts designed in the shapes of cars, trucks, etc.

Nancy Splaine, a product specialist with McCue Corp. in Salem, Mass., which manufactures kid friendly carts, said the appeal is easy to understand.

“There’s a tremendous push, given the changes in retail, for stores to find ways to differentiate themselves,” she said. “Families with small children are a huge demographic
for the grocery industry.”

The kiddie carts, because they are lower to the ground than traditional carts, offer an added element of safety.

The Seattle Times piece, citing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as its source, said, “About 20,250 children under age 5 visited emergency rooms in 2002 because
of injuries related to shopping carts.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the value of carts, shopping bags and other items, as a differentiator at retail?

He who builds business through the kiddie cart can also lose it that way.

True story: A local store had mini shopping carts for kids to push around the store as they walked with their parents. Our kids loved them, so much so they
asked for them as we entered the store. After a single incident of a cranky three-year old and no mini carts to be found, we stopped shopping at the store until the kids got older.

Anderson – Moderator

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