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Germany: Netto is testing new features for its shopping carts

Discount Brand Retail Chain Netto (owned by the German Edeka Group) wants to offer a new service for its customers. To this end, the discounter, is cooperating with the shopping trolley manufacturer Wanzl from Swabia.

Everyone who works in retail knows how important shopping carts are for supermarkets, drugstores or discounters. They are not only used to transport goods, but also have a great psychological effect. Customers are more likely to shop with a shopping cart than without.

The fact is that for several decades it has been common practice for customers in a store to have to use a coin or chip (usually plastic) to release a shopping cart from its holder. This so-called deposit is intended to ensure that people who use a shopping cart bring it back to its intended place. For some years now, it has been the case that more and more people do not take cash with them when shopping or do not have a suitable coin for their shopping cart in front of a supermarket, for example.

"Then go to Netto!"

Netto is testing a new system for shopping carts in two stores. Specifically, these are the Bavarian stores in Burglengenfeld (Regensburger Straße) and Sünching (Bahnhofstraße). Netto works with the shopping cart manufacturer Wanzl. It is a digital system called Hybridloc. The lock on the shopping cart is unlocked using a coin, chip or smart device. In order to use the digital system called Hybridloc, customers need the Netto Marken-Discount app. There you will find the point “Open shopping cart”. The Wanzl company, the world's largest manufacturer of shopping carts based in Leipheim, Baden-Württemberg, has been testing more options for unlocking the carts for several years. In the future, shopping carts will even be able to be opened using the Netto app if the customer does not have a suitable coin or chip on hand. To this end, the company has now started a pilot test with Netto in two markets. Here it is possible to unlock a trolley with the app by holding the smartphone with the net app open against the handle of the trolley. For the discounter, this is also a good chance that customers will use the Netto app more.

The history of the shopping cart

The history of the versatile shopping cart as we know it today began 75 years ago in Oklahoma City, USA. There, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket, wanted to increase his sales and save his customers the often tedious lugging of shopping bags. So he mounted wheels and a metal basket on a simple folding chair and set up the first "shopping carts" in front of his supermarket on September 8, 1937. Only a few years later, he met Rudolf Wanzl, junior manager of a metal goods factory in Leipheim near Günzburg.

This encounter is very momentous and the cornerstone for the rise of what is now the world's largest manufacturer of shopping trolleys. It all started with 20 models called "Pick-up", trolleys with two suspended wire baskets, which were delivered from Leipheim to a supermarket in Hamburg in 1949. After the invention of the folding rear end by the American Orla Watson, which allows the cars to be pushed together, Wanzl built the "Concentra" model in 1957. To this day, it is still the basic model of all shopping carts.

Wanzl is also currently looking at the market in Asia, where people shop even more cashless than in Europe. It will be interesting to see whether Netto's current test will remain unique or whether other retail chains will follow this new path.


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