Scrap yards, random apartment buildings, rivers, the side of highways…stray shopping cart turn up everywhere. Some even find their way onto containers and are shipped overseas. No matter what happens, cart theft is a significant cost for many retailers to recover or replace these stolen carts. But…what if you didn’t have to look? What if you could always know where your carts were?
At Bemis, we’re committed to helping retailers solve their biggest cart challenges. We’ve realized that our carts can uniquely help address the problem of cart theft: For over a year we’ve been developing and testing various technology solutions to track shopping carts anywhere outdoors.
Bemis carts are ideally suited for this because they use a modular, polymer design. The modular design allows tracking devices to be installed INSIDE the cart, away from view and protected from the elements. This also allows the tracking device to be easily retrofitted. The all-polymer construction of Bemis carts also leads to less radio wave interference.
Our CartTrac system can be used to enable easy and efficient cart retrieval: When a cart leaves your property, an alert can be sent via email containing the cart’s location on a map. Your cart retrieval (whether it’s in-house or an outside company) can than easily retrieve the cart without looking and searching.
One retailer went a step further and used this system to determine WHO was actually taking their carts. Many of their stolen carts consistently went to the same location and followed a similar path to get there. Using this information, they were able to work with local officials and put a permanent end to this form of cart loss. Do you have stores that struggle with shopping cart theft? Our CartTrac solution can be easily deployed with no installation in many cases.
You might be surprised to find out what is actually happening to your stolen carts.
We’ve seen some incredible changes in grocery over the last 2 months. Store sanitation and the safety of customers and employees has become more important than ever: Plexiglass barriers, something no retailer ever thought it would need to investigate, have been installed at hundreds of store locations. Many stores also have several employees exclusively cleaning shopping carts. If we’ve learned anything as a result of COVID-19, it’s that customer and employee expectations for sanitation and cleanliness are more important than ever.
Which brings us to the picture in this article…This is an active cart at an open store. This may have been tolerated before COVID-19 by customers, but moving forward – it’s unlikely having this type of cart in your store will be well-received by customers.
The unsightly appearance aside, rust is a haven for bacteria growth (COVID-19 is a viral infection not bacterial but you don’t want either of these living on your carts). The message about store cleanliness you are trying to send with plexiglass barriers and floor markings will easily get lost on your customers if they have no choice but to use a rusty cart. Store employees also have to retrieve these from parking lots, which means they are frequently touching and handling areas of the cart besides the handles.
Bemis carts will never rust. The increased surface area on our carts can collect more dirt and dust, but that can be easily cleaned (as opposed to rust). In fact, Bemis handles were specifically designed without store logos and snap on grips to make them easier to clean. Our carts also use advanced material formulations that allow them to sit in the sun without fading and cracking.
Grocery stores are on the frontlines of COVID-19 along with our healthcare professionals: The medical industry has used various types of plastic materials to make hospitals and their equipment more sanitary and easier to clean. Shopping carts are the one piece of equipment you can count on customers using in your store – at Bemis we’ve made a cart that’s ideal for providing your customers a more sanitary and safer experience. If you are a retailer that struggles with rusty carts, now is the perfect time to upgrade and send a message to your customers that sanitation and cleanliness are a priority for your stores.
One of the most common questions we are asked is: “Why make an all-polymer or “plastic” cart? What’s wrong with metal?” The best answer is to look at the automobile, agriculture, aerospace and ATV industries. The use of advanced polymer/composite components in these industries has led to longer lasting products, more design freedom, easier maintenance and increased durability…Aren’t these all things we are looking for in shopping carts? In cars, advanced polymer content has grown exponentially and is often credited with prolonging car lifespans. The MAJORITY of an aircraft is now polymer and composite materials. The housings and hoods on your lawn mower and tractors were once entirely metal. They are now entirely polymer. One of the key differences in these products is the use of advanced polymer materials, not off-the-shelf plastics.
Hoods and shells manufactured by Bemis have extended the lifespans of many heavy-duty, outdoor use products.
As it relates to shopping carts, there is often some ambiguity around what actually constitutes a “polymer cart”: Many manufacturers will refer to a cart as “plastic” if the cart has a plastic basket mounted to a metal frame…This is not a plastic cart and is certainly not a polymer cart using advanced material formulations. Because it’s frame is metal, this hybrid cart can still bend out of alignment, it can still rust and will require welding/grinding/recoating. Most shopping cart problems can be traced back to an issue with the frame. Simply placing a plastic basket on a metal frame doesn’t address these issues.
To add to this, most plastic baskets seen on this type of plastic basket/steel frame cart do not use advanced material blends. In our lab testing, most plastic shopping cart baskets like this have an Environmental Stress Crack Rating (ESCR) of 10 hours. For comparison, a Bemis shopping cart basket has an ESCR rating of 1,000 hours. The same polymer material that is used to make a 5-gallon bucket you buy at a local store isn’t being used on a Tesla. The same should go for polymer carts. Bemis supports the agriculture and ATV industries we mentioned by manufacturing heavy duty components that weather harsh conditions outdoors (click here to learn more about our custom manufacturing capabilities). We have seen first-hand how these products were improved by using advanced polymer and UV technology. By applying that same expertise to shopping carts, our retail partners are experiencing longer cart lifespans, vastly reduced maintenance costs and most importantly, a product that customers actually enjoy using.
To learn more about the the revolutionary way Bemis carts are designed and built, click here.
A hybrid cart with a plastic basket on a steel frame.
Bemis Polymer cart clearly having no issues supporting over half a ton of sandbags.