Every business venture is full of unknowns. How many employees should you hire? Which products will sell the best? What should your new logo look like? The list goes on, and the questions will vary from one business to the next.
For grocers and retailers, determining the proper number of shopping carts for a given location can prove challenging. Providing enough carts for all your customers is crucial to keep everyone satisfied, but having an excess of these items can become untenable and even obstructive. And from a financial perspective, you don’t want to invest in more carts than you need.
So, if you’re opening up a new location, how can you decide how many shopping carts you need? While you’ll find it hard to land on a concrete number, there are several factors to consider when making this estimation.
How Big Is Your Store?
The first and most obvious consideration when buying new shopping carts for a location is store size. The more space you have, the more carts you can fit inside, after all. However, just because you have the capacity doesn’t mean you should clutter it up with carts. This space must be utilized for other important things as well.
For one thing, customers should have plenty of room when entering, exiting, and shopping. Beyond that, you have to think about the size of your aisles, where products are placed, and more. So, while store size in part determines the size of your fleet, you want to strike a balance where the number of carts available doesn’t overwhelm the other aspects of your store.
Parking Lot Size Matters, Too
Of course, the size of your store isn’t the only space to measure when buying shopping carts for a new location. Keep your parking lot in mind, too. Sure, in most cases, larger stores will require larger parking lots. But if your lot capacity is limited, an overabundance of carts quickly clogs things up. As a result, you may need to hire additional employees to regularly reel in carts from the corrals, which may put a strain on your resources.
Factoring in Foot Traffic
Even if your new location is large, a store’s size doesn’t always suggest its number of customers. There’s no point in purchasing a huge fleet if the foot traffic doesn’t match it. Whenever a business first opens a new location, though, they can’t fully know how many customers they can expect on a given day. It takes time to collect this sort of data and use it in meaningful ways.
That said, if the store is big enough to handle a lot of carts, it’s best to overshoot your estimate of regular foot traffic. This way, you’ll have enough carts on hand if it does get busy. And, if you have fewer customers than expected, you can send some shopping carts to another branch that needs them, or you can sell them or store them.
Can You Store More?
On the note of cart storage, this is another factor to consider when determining how many carts you need. If you can afford some extra carts, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup supply nearby. But this is only possible if you have enough space to store this additional stock. If you have plenty of storage space, you can control how many carts are readily available to customers based on necessity.
Grocery stores and retailers tend to see the most activity on and around holidays, for instance. To prepare for these periods, you can take some carts out of storage and make them accessible when it matters most. Additionally, if a cart should break, you can easily replace it this way.
Balancing Your Budget
Shopping carts are a necessity for any grocer or retailer, but they’re not free. The quantity you purchase will largely depend on your business’s budget. Keep in mind, of course, that this purchase is an investment since customers will shop more often and purchase more items when they can use a cart.
Your financial department will have to weigh the short-term costs against the potential long-term gains to find the right number. And to save money upfront, you might consider purchasing some old shopping carts from a different location to bolster your supply.
Taking Different Cart Types into Consideration
Not all carts are alike, either. Different customers may prefer different types and sizes of carts based on their needs. Determining how many carts you need becomes a more nuanced equation, then. You must also ask how many carts of each size or type you need.
Large shopping carts are useful for those large weekly or monthly trips, but they, of course, take up more space than medium-sized and smaller carts. Keep in mind that some customers would rather use a basket than a cart as well. How you distribute this range of shopping vessels should be based on your customers’ shopping habits so you can meet all of their needs.
Inform Your Decision on Past Experiences
Until you have hard data on these aforementioned shopping trends, you have to make some rough estimates to figure out the ideal size of your cart supply. Fortunately, your new location can lean on the data derived from other locations as a starting point.
The locations you use as examples should resemble yours in various ways, such as size and demographics. See how many carts (as well as which types of carts, baskets, etc.) these locations offer their customers, and go from there. If another location has found the formula, you should follow suit.
Acquiring the optimal quantity of carts is no small feat. But with some careful consideration and proper planning, you can keep your customers happy without breaking your budget. After that, you just have to find the right provider!
Good L Corporation delivers innovative shopping cart and basket solutions for retailers on a global scale. From a fleet of new custom carts to launch your store opening to replacement baskets that supplement your existing shop supply, Good L Corp can configure the right carryall strategy to boost your retail business. Let’s get started! Contact us today for a no-pressure sales quote.