Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shopping Cart 2.0

Australian Markitcart has developed an award-winning alternative to the traditional steel shopping cart, aimed at improving the concept not just for consumers but also for retailers and advertisers. Made of UV-stable and fully recyclable plastic, Markitcarts are available in 12 colours that can be matched to a retailer’s brand palette. The carts weigh less yet hold more than traditional carts. They also feature larger, easier-to-control wheels, and their lower center of gravity makes them less likely to topple when children climb aboard.

For advertisers, Markitcarts feature large, easily interchangeable side panels that function as mobile billboards with exposure right at the point of sale. Advantages for retailers? Besides the carts’ improved durability, safety and aesthetic appeal, Markitcarts are also RFID-compatible, so that when RFID technology is rolled out in retail—allowing an entire cart’s worth of shopping to be scanned at once—the carts will be ready. Markitcart also offers maintenance service with fortnightly cleanings and safety checks, sourcing and changing of adverts, and a recycling program. Pricing is “much the same” as that for conventional carts, Markitcart chairman and CEO Mark Fraser says.

Markitcart was founded in 2001, but is just now in the midst of its global launch. The carts are already available in Australia, and the next batches are due to begin shipping to Germany, Iceland and the US later this month. The cleaning and ad-changing service operates as a franchise, and Markitcart is in the process of organizing licensees and distributors worldwide, who typically serve as country licensees or territory development agents and need to be experienced in either selling advertising or providing a support service, Fraser says. While they’re not the first plastic shopping carts to be launched, Multicart’s highly integrated approach sounds promising.

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