We’ve finally gotten past winter (officially, anyway), which means it’s time to start looking forward to longer days, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities. If you live in a colder climate, this transition to warmer weather cannot be taken for granted, since cooler temperatures will return in a matter of months. No one wants to think about winter’s return so soon, but it’s important to consider how future conditions might affect your assets.
The shopping carts and baskets you provide for your customers are essential for streamlining the shopping experience and maximizing sales. If these vessels begin to fall apart, you’ll need to invest in a brand new stock, which can take a major blow to your bottom line. Knowing this, it’s important to purchase baskets built from the best materials and maintain them so they remain functional for many years to come. When things get cold outside, however, your baskets are at greater risk of damage and deterioration. If you want to keep your baskets around, you’ll have to account for these environmental threats and take actions to preserve them.
So, will wire shopping baskets stand the test of time if your store is located in a cold climate? Let’s discuss whether wire baskets are a solid investment in the first place and how to get the most out of them in a colder region.
Wire Shopping Baskets in a Cold Climate
How Cold Conditions Affect Metal Materials
If you’ve ever touched a metal rail on a chilly winter day, you know just how cold metal materials can become when surrounded by low temperatures – this is because metals are effective thermal conductors, meaning they quickly transfer heat to other objects and absorb heat from warmer objects. As such, when metal baskets stay out in the cold for too long, they quickly drop in temperature. The colder your baskets get, the more stiff and brittle they become. And the more brittle your wire baskets, the more prone to damage they are. Fortunately, outdoor temperatures rarely dip low enough to render your wire baskets fragile enough to snap apart at the seams. That said, cold conditions are often met by other factors that can take an even harsher toll on your wire baskets.
The Dangers of Snow
In colder climates, precipitation can take the form of rain, sleet, hail, and snow. No matter what form it takes, moisture poses a significant threat to your shopping baskets. Most wire baskets are at least partially composed of steel, a corrosive metal. Corrosive metals easily give up electrons when exposed to electron-absorbing elements. Iron, for instance, transfers electrons to oxygen atoms in the presence of water. This process is known as oxidation, or, more commonly, rusting. So, if your wire baskets are left to linger in a cold, damp environment, they’re more likely to rust over time. If enough oxidation occurs, a wire shopping basket can threaten the safety of shoppers and develop holes and cracks that render it useless.
This particular deterioration process can occur more rapidly in cold climates for a few reasons: snow accumulates and sticks around, covering significant portions of baskets if they’re left outdoors; there’s often more moisture in the air thanks to the increased presence of snow; salt and other snow-melting chemicals can also contribute to metal corrosion. That said, objects also tend to rust more rapidly in warmer climates, so colder regions have this one advantage in this regard.
Where Do You Store Your Shopping Baskets?
Thanks to the advent of climate control systems, mother nature has less of an impact on your assets so long as you bring said assets inside. As such, the matter of where and how you store shopping baskets plays a major role in determining their longevity. Most stores are set up to keep baskets indoors at all times – customers grab a basket inside the vestibule or entrance, gather their items, unload them on the conveyor, and place the basket back in its holder (or leave it for an employee to gather). Carts, on the other hand, end up outside more frequently, since they’re often used to carrying large loads of groceries to vehicles. As long as you generally keep your wire baskets indoors, the outdoor environment should have little to no effect on their overall condition.
Does Plastic Fare Any Better?
Wire baskets are more susceptible to fragility and oxidation in cold climates. If you’re concerned about these matters, you might consider investing in plastic shopping baskets instead. It’s worth noting, however, that cold air can take a toll on plastic materials as well. Like metals, plastics become more brittle when exposed to extremely cold temperatures – unlike metal, however, plastic is an insulator (not a thermal conductor), which means heat does not flow through the material itself. Plastic is also non-porous, making it resistant to moisture and chemical intrusion. Overall, plastic baskets are typically a better option for your store if you plan on keeping your baskets outdoors for extended periods of time, regardless of your local climate.
Protecting Your Wire Baskets
No matter where you live or how you store your wire shopping baskets, certain measures will protect them against all threats, including extreme temperatures, chemicals, moisture, impact, abrasion, and more. For starters, invest in metal baskets that are thoroughly coated with a high-quality finish (i.e. enamel) – this layer of protection will help prevent rusting. Additionally, clean your baskets regularly and with non-corrosive, non-abrasive solutions. Lastly, keep your parking lot, entrances, and exits clear of snow during the snowy season to limit the potential for moisture intrusion. If you take these precautions, your wire baskets should fare just fine, even in a colder environment. Thinking of purchasing new wire baskets for your store?
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!