When we talk about “small businesses,” we’re usually referring to locally-owned, single-location companies with a handful of employees — in many cases, “small” also refers to a business’ physical size, however. If you own or operate one of these small shops, you must keep your surroundings in mind at all times. Limited space requires you to make some sacrifices when it comes to stocking your store’s inventory and other items, such as shopping baskets and carts. Some stores might not have the capacity to offer both carts and baskets to their customers. Still, a store’s size isn’t the only factor that determines whether it should carry baskets or carts, nor does it immediately indicate which types of carts or baskets are best suited for its needs.
So, should you invest in baskets or carts for your small shop? To find the right answer to this question, you must first make some key considerations.
Things to Consider When Deciding on Using Baskets or Carts
How Much Space Do You Have, Exactly?
As mentioned above, the size of your store is the primary factor that determines your choice to use shopping carts or baskets. Simply put, carts take up more space than baskets do, both when stored and when in use. That said, not all small shops are created equal. Two stores can be considered “small” but still feature significant differences in square footage. If your small shop has some breathing room (i.e., decent space between aisles, outdoor storage, etc.), you might be able to offer a small number of carts to your customers. If not, carts will most likely become more of an obstacle than an advantage. Keep in mind, however, that baskets take up space, too. Fortunately, baskets stack vertically rather than horizontally when stored, allowing you to fit a far greater number of them in your small shop. On top of that, standard baskets are much easier to maneuver through aisles and tight spaces.
Who Is Your Audience?
There’s more to consider before making the final call. Next, think about your shop’s average customer. While there’s bound to be exceptions here and there, most shops cultivate a specific demographic by virtue of their location and what they sell. If your shop mostly caters to younger, limber folks, you might find that most of your customers don’t use shopping vessels at all — and those that do will opt for a basket rather than a cart. Conversely, the stability and mobility afforded by shopping carts may appeal to an older crowd. The purchasing habits of your customers also contribute to your decision to implement baskets or carts. If the average customer only picks up one or two items at your shop, carts might not be necessary — the opposite is true if your audience tends to grab several handfuls each time they come in.
What Types of Items Do You Sell?
Just because your shop is small doesn’t mean you only sell small stuff. Indeed, not only does the quantity of items included in the average purchase make a difference — so does the average size of items you sell. For example, larger goods (i.e., computers, box fans, posters, furniture, etc.) won’t easily fit into a standard-sized shopping basket. In fact, large enough items might not even fit into a typical cart. Regardless, if you mainly sell smaller objects, baskets will do a fine job carrying even a significant haul, but if you offer a fair amount of larger items, carts may be necessary. There is a tricky balancing act here — on the one hand, you want to encourage customers to make larger purchases (in terms of price), but you also want to ensure that they can easily grab the items they want while shopping. Offering the optimal vessel for the types of things you sell will help you stick the landing.
Size Matters for Baskets and Carts Alike
So far, we’ve discussed the categorical between carts and baskets. However, there is plenty of variation within each category. Put another way, both baskets and carts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As such, even if one type of vessel is better suited for your small shop, you still have some choices to make. Mini shopping baskets, for instance, might provide the perfect carrying device in a very small shop that sells tiny goods (like makeup, trading cards, hand-crafted figurines, etc.). Small shopping carts can come in handy for smaller shops that sell a wide variety of products to an audience that prefers carts over baskets. The list of possibilities goes on. For the most part, larger baskets and carts won’t serve small shops very well, but smaller iterations can fit right in.
Smaller businesses tend to have tighter margins and fewer resources than their larger counterparts. As a result, certain duties may fall to the wayside just to keep operations afloat. While it’s always important to stay on top of maintenance, a small shop might not have the time or resources to take proper care of their shopping vessels. It’s worth noting that carts tend to require more maintenance than baskets (especially wire carts) — if this is a major concern for you, baskets might be the better option (these require maintenance as well, of course).
The Best of Both Worlds?
While the question of whether you should use baskets or carts is posed in binary fashion, you’re not limited to choosing one or the other. If you want to offer your customers the portability of baskets and the mobility of carts, you might invest in rolling shopping baskets. These hybrid vessels can be used both ways, carried like a basket or rolled along the floor like a cart. Roller carts also take up space, of course, but they’re a solid option for stores with diverse customer bases and product offerings.
So, should you use baskets or carts for your small shop? The answer depends on your space limitations, customer base, products, and resources. At Good L Corp., we provide a wide variety of shopping baskets and carts that suit your store’s specific needs.
Good L Corporation delivers innovative shopping cart and basket solutions for retailers on a global scale. Good L Corp. can configure the right carryall strategy to boost your retail business from a fleet of new custom carts to launch your store opening to replacement baskets that supplement your existing shop supply. Let’s get started! Contact us today for a no-pressure sales quote!