The Best Shopping Carts for Smaller Stores

Toy rolling cart in a grocery store

Smaller stores may have the benefit of less overhead, fewer property taxes, and a lower carbon footprint, but this lack of space comes with several challenges as well. Stores with limited square footage have less room to store and display their inventory. Additionally, customers may have a hard time navigating the space without bumping into shelves and other customers. These concerns are only intensified by the introduction of shopping vessels like carts and baskets. Some small stores might not even bother to offer carts or baskets to their customers. This might make sense if said store sells relatively small and light objects in limited quantities. Other stores, however, may lose significant sales by forcing customers to carry their purchases without some sort of convenient container.

If you operate a small store that sells a variety of products that warrant the regular use of such receptacles, you must carefully consider how to implement them without obstructing your operations or your patrons. Let’s go over what you should think about when searching for the best shopping carts for smaller stores.

What to Consider When Buying Shopping Carts

Size Matters

It only makes sense that a smaller store would imply smaller shopping carts. After all, smaller stores will naturally feature narrower aisles and tighter corners. A large or even standard cart might barely be able to navigate such a limited space without knocking several things over, let alone several of them simultaneously. The size of your shopping carts shouldn’t merely relate to your store’s square footage — the size, weight, and average haul of your products must also be factored into this equation. Your small shopping carts might be well-suited to cruise through your aisles, but are they optimized to carry the kinds of things you sell? For instance, if you offer several large, long, and/or heavy products, your carts should ideally be able to hold them. 

Of course, there are exceptions — the largest items you sell may have to be carried to one’s vehicle by multiple employees or delivered separately on a specified date. Special cases aside, the best shopping carts for smaller stores should be slight enough to allow for easy, comfortable maneuvering, but large enough to bear the load of the average shopper.

Mind the Material

The best carts for smaller stores strike a balance. Not only does this balance exist between size and carrying capacity, but also between weight and durability, which is largely determined by the material of which the cart is composed. Heavier carts are often built from stronger materials, such as steel. This enhanced durability is a plus, ensuring that your carts will stand the test of time. However, if you run a smaller store, these bulkier carts might actually do a number on your property in the form of pressure and impact. After all, heavier carts are more difficult to maneuver than lighter ones, so customers may have a harder time avoiding obstacles when navigating your store.

Fortunately, you don’t have to completely sacrifice durability for a lighter, more maneuverable shopping cart. If you want to keep things light but still strong, you can shave off some pounds by purchasing plastic carts instead. These carts still feature some metal components, but the nest itself is made from plastic, which offers the additional bonus of color variety. 

Storage Considerations

Choosing the right-sized, easily maneuverable carts is crucial in helping your customers pick up everything they need, therefore increasing your sales. However, you must also think about what you’ll do with said carts when they’re not in use. You must have the proper amount of space to store all of your shopping carts. While many larger stores feature shopping cart corrals in their parking lots and breezeways, most small stores don’t have this luxury. Most stores keep their supply of carts inside the building and/or directly next to it, which can take up precious space.

One way to limit the necessary space needed to store your carts is to limit your supply. This is risky, however, because you may run out of available carts for customers during busy periods. Another storage solution is offering portable/folding carts for sale and/or in-store use. This way, customers can purchase their own small personal shopping carts from you and bring them in and out without requiring storage, and/or you can easily store several of these folding carts within your store without taking up considerable space.

Would Baskets Be Better?

It’s worth noting that some small stores might be better off providing shopping baskets rather than shopping carts. Baskets take up less space, don’t wear down floors or lead to serious collisions, and still allow customers to carry several items with relative ease. Of course, baskets have their limitations when it comes to weight and carrying capacity, and not all customers will be able to carry a full basket throughout the store. If your store is small enough and mostly carries small, light items, you’ll be able to accommodate most of your customers just fine. To cover all your bases, you might also invest in a limited supply of small carts. Additionally, you might consider a hybrid solution: rolling shopping baskets that can act as both baskets and carts depending on the situation and customer’s needs.

The Verdict

So, what are the best shopping carts for smaller stores? Every store will have its unique goals and challenges, but generally speaking, you’ll want carts that are small enough to easily get through your space yet capacious enough to carry a typical haul. You will want the perfect combination of light for maximum maneuverability yet durable for maximum longevity; portable for simple, unobstructive storage; and versatile so customers can get the most out of their shopping experience without discomfort, frustration, or limitation. 

Time to invest in a new fleet of carts for your small store? 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.

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