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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.