History of the shopping trolley
"If we say that shopping trolleys are a symbol of our life, we are not much mistaken..."
That was written by Szív Ernő in the 35th issue year II. of "Élet és irodalom"
(Life and Literature) (31. 08. 2007.). How true since we live in consumer society.
Consumption is no longer only a means to satisfy needs but it also represents differences in social status.
1. The first shopping cart
The first shopping trolley was put to service for customers on 4th June 1937 in Oklahoma.
Sylvan Goldman the owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain was the inventor. This construction resembled
nearest a folding chair made from wood. Later with a little help he created the trolley with wheels made from metal.
Thinking of mothers with children, they were provided with seats for children. News of the shopping trolley spread
quickly and as it unburdened customers during their bigger shopping thus the return of the shop increased significantly.
Seeing this, the managers of other stores placed their orders of the trolleys; their usage began to spread like wildfire.
Thus Goldman became a millionaire.
There is not much difference between trolleys at that time and today. The various stores have them modified during
manufacture to an extent which adapts to the design of their store and to the size and packaging of their products.
2. Shopping trolleys today
If someone says shopping trolley, means usually a Wanzl product. The owner of the company brought this idea from America to Europe in 1953 and significantly improved it. Consequently the group of self-service products expanded greatly.
Regarding the offer of Wanzl Ltd. the following two main types exist:
- Transport trolleys
- Shopping trolleys.
Transport trolleys are mostly made on the order of big warehouses; these are good quality and heavy-duty trolleys which can be aligned with smaller baskets and boxes in case of distributing other type of products. These trolleys belong to the multi-car category.
The company also manufactures furniture transporters since time and money can be spared with furniture that can be carried away immediately, which is greatly appreciated by customers but besides they expect that furniture could be transported safely and easily from the store to the parking-lot.
"Do it yourself" is one of the most popular free time activities. In accordance with the product range of the do-it-yourself stores the Wanzl also manufactures panel transporters.
The types and dimensions of shopping trolleys are very diverse and different. It is understandable since we do not need such a big trolley in a drugstore than in a supermarket.
But trolleys are also manufactured according to the special needs of stores. Among the clients of the Ltd. not one store requested to find a solution to decrease inventory shortage. They tried to realize it with trolleys which do not have other load area than the basket area, thus the cashiers have to concentrate only to one area. On request they manufacture trolleys with coloured coating. In this way the logo of the store can be harmonized with the shopping trolleys. Besides the coloured coating has many positive attributes as well. The coating is weather and corrosion-proof, muffles noise, pleasant to touch,
easy to clean and has a thermal insulating effect even below zero.
So far only the transport function has been introduced; however the trolleys have other useful functions as well. The shopping trolley as and advertisement surface runs together with the customer. Shopping in great store chains is not a 5-minute process, thus trolleys conveys advertisements to customers anyway. Their other advantage is that not only the customer pushing the trolley can see the advertisement surface but the ones coming towards the other. It can be used most effectively together with floor stickers. The shopping trolley is a double advertisement surface, which can be seen from both directions, is together with the customer during the whole length of shopping and this sometimes means 3-4 hours, thus the advertisement is totally engraved in the customers ´ senses.
3. The future
The shopping trolley – however simple device it is – can be improved. Almost all customers are keen to find everything immediately in the hypermarkets and supermarkets. Thanks to the effect of shelf-management it is not a simple task at all. Intelligent trolleys have been invented for this.
The shopping trolleys will help the customers not only to look for the selected product, to read the barcode and to pay for the products without queuing but thanks to their LCD display they will provide an excellent advertisement surface.
The customers compile a shopping list then they orientate themselves with the help of the display and can monitor what else to put into their trolleys and how much the products in the trolley cost so far.
The high-tech trolleys have radio-frequency connection with the system of the store, which is able to determine where the customer within the store is at the moment. The advertisers can display the offers of the given department on the display of the trolley. When, for example, the customer reaches the sweets, the commercial related to the actual chocolate offer appears.
An American technical company would install barcode-readers into the shopping trolleys, which would warn the customer if (s)he has bought too much consumables rich in calories among others. Besides this, the trolley would report on the fact how environment-friendly the given product is.
According to the managers of the company called EDS the customers have the demand for the thing that the trolley would tell them if they have exceeded their calorie portion for that day: according to the survey carried out with this aim one-third of the customers would support the idea. With the introduction of the barcode-reader less packaging material would be needed at the same time.
In Hungary intelligent shopping trolleys as samples have been introduced in the Praktiker Store in Vecsés. Within the framework of the couple of hundred million HUF investments the store has introduced equipment 5-10 years in advance of their time in its European model store. One of these is the intelligent trolley.
Electronic price tag shows the price of all products, this means almost 55 thousand kinds of products. The customers can learn the latest commercial information through plasma televisions; they can find direction in the store with info-terminals connected to the internet and can make their ideas come true with the help of modern interior decoration design programs.
In the checkout zone new generation IBM fast cash registers with touch-screens operate; they decrease the awaiting time with minutes and also displays the photo of products to be purchased as a control.
Nowadays it is not the only important thing that customers would find the products they need easily. In our accelerated life great stress is laid on the issue of our health. A British store chain has introduced the fitness shopping trolleys. Although the trolley slimming the customer must be pushed like the traditional ones, resistance on the wheels can be increased, thus greater force is needed for shopping. On the trolley there are a pulse indicator, speedometer and calorie indicator, thus the person pushing the trolley shall know how many calories (s)he has burnt during shopping and based on this (s)he can quickly calculate if (s)he can afford a slice of cake or anything else.