Shopping Carts…who knew???

Right now your probably asking yourself, what is a shopping cart doing on a blog about consumer behavior?  A few weeks ago I would have thought the same thing.  There are so many little things in life that people dont think twice about. Products that we all take for granite. Now at this point im sure your probably filling your head with all these ideas shopping carts and how they may play a role in our society.  That is the beauty behind consumer behavior. All you have to do is plant a little idea into someone head and it all makes sense.  There are facinating stories behind every little thing we are surrounded by. In reality, shopping carts having everything to do with consumer behavior.

When one of the first shopping carts were first introduce in 1937 by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the super market chain Piggly Wiggly, they were rejected by the public. people hated the idea of them. not only were they unfamiliar with this concept, they were perfectly contempt with their carrying basket.  On one hand, women saw this as another baby carrage they had to shlep around, “Ive been pushing my baby around all day in the carriage, the last thing i want to do is come to the grocery store and have to do the same with my groceries.” On the other hand, men saw them as unmanly, “I am a man! look at these bicepts! you dont think i have the strength to carry my basket around the store!?  Now a days consumers would be lost without them. they are so integrated into shopping exerience, those who do not offer them lose business. So what did Goldman do when his idea was rejected? He did what any sensible man would do…hire a bunch of sexy models to push them around the store.   After that, he delegated several employees and greeters to introduce them and explain there use.  It took a lot of effort and money but in the end as we know carts absolutely blew up and became an essential, at-least in the United States.

If you think thats the whole story behind shopping carts, you are completely WRONG. Check this out…there has been studies that show its the SIZE of the cart  that makes all the difference.  Ever notice how Walmart has the biggest shopping cart you’ve ever seen! you can fit like 16 toddlers in one of those things. At the same time stores like Whole-foods have tiny carts? Now lets compare the amount you purchase at each store. There is no comparison. Why is this?  People feel they need to fill their cart to capacity.  Simply put, if you have a little cart and as your shopping it gets full, that typically signals your done shopping. If there no more room in the cart, you cannot buy anymore. If your cart is huge and as you are shopping you can keep buying more and more.  I guess at this point the real question is how much bigger can they get? more importantly, can this be a cause to Americas obesity problem? If Walmart were to decrease the size of their carts could that encourage people to buy more frequently and fresher groceries? This is be an interesting story to follow as we see the life of shopping carts continue.


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