When Supercart Australia developed its suite of sustainable shopping trolleys and hand baskets it was with the customer experience at the heart of the design. In this interview Technical Director Louw Van Tonder shares his thoughts on small format retailing and what he believes will influence the shopping experience in the future.
Retail World recently asked Supercart Australia's executives for their thoughts on the future of the in-store retail experience. It's an ever-changing landscape with innovation and environmental consciousness becoming more important every day. In this Q&A Supercart Australia's Technical Director Louw Van Tonder shares his insights on the future of the industry.
How can store equipment improve the retail experience?
The shopping trolley or hand basket is the first touch point a customer has with a store and the store’s brand. It is imperative that a fleet of aesthetically pleasing, well presented and maintained shopping trolleys and hand baskets are available to assist and enhance shoppers with their shopping experience.
Supercart’s range of sustainably produced shopping trolleys (and soon sustainable hand baskets) provides retailers and shoppers alike with the following improved retail experiences:
- Made locally with sustainability in mind, it resonates well with shoppers as they push retailers to become more sustainable.
- Recyclable and environmentally friendly
- Contemporary, stylish design - an aesthetically pleasing shopping trolley to use
- An easier reach, making packing and unpacking of goods much easier and catering to a changing demographic.
- Prominent branding in corporate colours, with many branding options available
- Less likelihood of being stolen due to visibility and brand prominence
- Lighter, quieter and easier to manoeuvre. Hybrid trolleys are 30% to 40% lighter than the current imported steel trolleys
- One of the lowest ratio (weight to load carrying capacity) shopping trolleys currently on the market
- Being much lighter, they are easier to collect and transport back to the store by the trolley collectors, resulting in less injuries and Work Cover compensation claims
- Polymer construction results in less momentum required to push/pull them, resulting in less damage to cars and store fixtures, i.e. less claims as well as reduction in capital replacement costs
- Plastic is a poor conductor of heat and therefore the hybrid trolley will be much cooler to the touch when they are standing in the hot Australian sun for lengthy periods of time
- The baby/child seat is also more comfortable and softer to the touch than steel and therefore the baby/child will also have a more comfy and pleasant shopping experience
- Durable, rust-proof, providing many more years of life and service than the heavy, imported steel clunkers
- Won't bend, buckle or break like the steel trolleys are prone to
- No wobbling or jamming, with seamless nesting and de-nesting of trolleys, with the use of only one finger
- Longevity - replaceable parts results in extended shopping trolley life (up to three times longer than steel trolleys)
- RFID ready - compliant with shop RFID systems
What trends are currently influencing store equipment?
More retailers are investing in sustainable equipment such as solar to power their stores as well as using new energy efficient CO2 refrigeration systems. As global warming issues become a bigger threat, consumers will undoubtedly become more mindful of their purchases and will choose to align themselves with businesses that support their values.
From ethically sourcing goods and materials to using sustainable products and packaging, we can expect this trend to continue, with customers pushing for sustainable change. Therefore store equipment that’s made from recycled materials or which can be recycled, will be favoured.
Having a point of difference is another trend that retailers are looking for but finding hard to achieve. Supercart provides retailers with the following key points of difference:
- Quality, branded shopping trolleys made locally and sustainably from recycled plastic
- Shopping trolleys that look great, are more fun to use, providing shoppers with a unique shopping experience and that resonate well with shopper’s sustainability values
- Future ready and compliant with shop RFID systems (something which steel trolleys cannot achieve)
What should a retailer look for when upgrading store equipment?
Consumers are becoming increasingly mindful of their purchases as well as where and from whom they purchase. More and more shoppers are choosing products that are sourced responsibly and are good for their bodies and the environment.
Retailers that place health and sustainability at the core of their business will therefore continue to thrive.
Retailers should therefore look towards retail solutions that are truly sustainable and those that resonate well with shoppers as they become more focused towards sustainability and products that are environmentally friendly.
They should also consider aspects such as whether the store equipment is imported or available locally, the quality and longevity aspects of the equipment and whether it provides them with a niche or point of difference.
How can your business help a retailer?
The future is looking bright for those retailers who adapt to the needs of their customers and who are able to successfully evolve along with consumers. Evolving might mean exploring new store formats or revamping their selection. In essence it should be all about putting the customer first, and creating a more personal in-store experience. Our retail solutions are unique, providing retailers with many points of difference. They are produced locally from 100% Australian recycled plastic. They are quality products, made ethically according to Australian labour and environmental laws and more importantly are sustainably produced, utilising Australian waste plastic (something we all generate).
Every 1000 of our large trolleys diverts seven tonnes of plastic from going into landfill or our oceans. We are not just helping retailers, we are assisting councils and governing bodies with their environmental challenges as well as benefiting the country and planet.
What are your predictions for the future of store equipment?
Australia tends to lag behind when it comes to new equipment and trends in this area. Most overseas retailers have made the switch to hybrid shopping trolleys or those made from plastic. Supercart is already at the forefront of shopping trolley design and manufacturing, being the first company to make our hybrid shopping trolleys from 100% recycled plastic.
If you Google Anglesea IGA you will discover this was the first Australian supermarket to become truly sustainable, banning plastic bags years ahead of its time. It’s a classic, coastal shopping centre, located in the centre of the Anglesea shopping precinct, so close to the ocean you can feel the sea breeze on your face. The store has been family-owned for 37 years, with father Peter Calvert handing the reigns to his son Ryan in recent times. Peter and Ryan trialed the Supercart trolleys in their store during the Green Living Festival and this is what customers had to say.
One of Melbourne’s renowned supermarkets in the heart of bustling North Fitzroy, Piedimonte’s is an institution for quality Italian produce and wide variety of products available throughout the store, and with a heritage going back almost 60 years. Store owner Joe Piedimonte recently purchased a set of lightweight, user-friendly shopping trolleys from Supercart to enhance the customer experience in his North Fitzroy store and we thought it might be good to check in on the customers and Joe to see their feedback.
Former Brand Power Australia presenter Sally Williams has joined local shopping trolley manufacturer Supercart Australia to continue the Big Push for a more sustainable nation.
The popular 3AW presenter and TV personality has joined Supercart as its first ambassador, a partnership designed to create more awareness of the sustainable shopping trolleys which are made from recycled plastic milk bottles.
The trolleys are already gaining attention in Australian supermarkets with a number of independent business owners and supermarket giants having replaced their steel- trolleys with the range of products created by Supercart Australia.
Key points about Supercart Australia trolleys:
- Each 180-litre shopping trolley is manufactured using 154 recycled 2-litre milk bottles otherwise destined for recycling depots or landfill.
- The manufacturing process uses significantly less water and energy than the equivalent steel trolley with the accompanying benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
- They are typically 30% lighter than steel trolleys resulting in a pleasant shopping experience and are proudly made in Australia.
- Supercart is the leading manufacturer of shopping trolleys and baskets in South Africa with a history dating back more than 30 years.
“We need Australians to get behind the Big Push, moving decision-makers to improve their response to sustainability which is so important in protecting our environment.” – Supercart Australia ambassador Sally Williams
Supercart Australia Technical Director Louw Van Tonder said the partnership with Sustainable Sally brought together two brands committed to sustainability.
“We are delighted to be involved with Sally who represents the values and ideals we have about our products. Like many Australian manufacturers we are concerned about our environment, its future, and the role we all play in creating positive change,” Mr Van Tonder said.
“We need everyone to get behind our Big Push for sustainability and create lasting change.”
Williams, who has a regular sustainability segment on 3AW and Vasili’s Garden TV show on 7Two, said her ambassadorship was an opportunity to draw attention to manufacturers who play an integral role in sustainable practices.
“The team at Supercart Australia has been doing an amazing job developing products which lead to more sustainability, especially in the supermarket space where we all can do our little bit for the planet,” she said.
“We need more Australians to make conscious decisions about sustainability, but we need shoppers to pressure supermarket owners and big business decision-makers about their responsibility to do more to protect the planet.
“Supercart has a proud track record spanning more than two decades and have now chosen to be sustainable by only offering trolleys made from recycled plastic. It’s time Australians did more to support businesses who act responsibly, and I’m thrilled to be involved with the team and its vision.”
Keep an eye out for our editorial on sustainable shopping trolleys that will be featured in the sustainability section of Retail World's March 2019 edition.
With many local councils having to resort to sending recyclables to landfill, Supercart Australia manufactures shopping trolleys via upcycling of some of these waste materials. Every 1,000 of our large trolleys removes 154,000 used 2L milk bottles (nearly 7 tons of plastic) from the waste cycle.
Supercart Australia is serious about sustainability. Are you?
SPAR branded Superbaskets inside as well as at the entrance to Suffolk Park SPAR near Byron Bay (courtesy of Ben and Justin).
Visit SPAR Suffolk Park. Meet up with the friendly store owners Ben and Justin, grab yourself a Superbasket and pick up a great selection of products the store has to offer.
Upcycle your shopping trolleys to Supercart’s new generation, hybrid shopping trolleys, now made locally from Food Grade, FDA approved, recycled plastic (milk bottles).
We’ve busted the misconception that products labelled as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ are in some way inferior with our trolleys made from recycled HDPE. In fact, our trolleys perform to an extremely high standard, so the included recycled material is simply the icing on the cake.
Piedimonte’s Supermarket in North Fitzroy is the first Supermarket in Australia with these trolleys which enhances their existing fleet and demonstrates their commitment to the community values.
Since the launch of our Hybrid Shopping Trolleys, the Boatshed Market welcomed the arrival of their fleet of branded Mini-Hybrid and Mid-Size Hybrid Shopping Trolleys.
Supercart Australia launch of our Australian Made Hybrid Shopping Trolleys at the Inside Retail Live Expo (MCEC), March 2018.