This issue of Happy Fiver I’d like to devote to shopping. With expansion of online deliveries shopping soon be the thing of a past. Let’s enjoy it why we can. 

“Did you know that The first shopping cart was a folding chair with a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs.”

I have to say, I love grocery shopping and always buy more than I need or more than on my shopping list (1st problem identified! :-). I hate shopping for clothes – prefer to buy online everything even shoes. 

OK, let’s brainstorm what can be improved in the shopping experience today (note, I’ll be talking about shopping in England but I’m sure it’s the same all over the planet where we have supermarkets). 

Problem 1 – Shopping Trolleys or shopping carts


One thing which somehow hasn’t changed much is the trolleys in the supermarket. 

We have smart shops now, where you can scan food with your phone or food scanner, put it in your bags and pay at the checkout but we still use old metal (sometimes plastic) trolleys. How I would improve them?

1. Add shopping list holder. Younger generations would use the phone (holding in one hand) but older people still use good old pen and paper. 

2. Using coins to detach the trolley from other ones must be the THING OF A PAST! COMMON!!!!!!!! We’re moving to a cashless society. Frankly speaking last time I hold a £1 coin in my hands was about 7-8 month ago. With Covid pandemic more shops are asking for contactless payment with credit card increasing limit from £30 to £45 per transaction. So how the heck I’ll take trolley than? I don’t and most of the time just use 2-3 blue wheelie bins. 

How can we change it? 

  • Slot for the credit card. Insert it, use, get it out or scan and pay it at the till
  • Have magnetic card reader and connect it to the shops Clubcard (two in one – they’ll push people to apply for the shops discount card getting valuable information from the customers and it will remind customers to take a card with them if they want to use the trolley)

3. Add food separators at the trolley – walls to split veggies, meat, toiletries etc.

4. Have trolleys with the cheapest screen where you can scan your shopping list from the phone to the screen. After the list is scanned, it sorts the product by the way you move in the shop directing you to the right location for every product (isle number or arrow)

4.1. The same screen can give you light or sound signals if you passed by the products in the list e.g. you had carrots in the list, didn’t notice them, passed by them, the list gives signals to come back and pick the item

4.2. Trolley with the scanner incorporated – scan the QR code of the trolley, take a trolley with the scanner in the handle (charge the scanner from the movement of the wheels), scan while you shop, leave the shop

5. Trolley with opening front/back for ease of load/unload

6. Trolley with an incorporated cover so your food doesn’t get wet while you walk from the shop to the car

7. Different colour trolleys – more fun! 

8. Trolley the kid’s chair facing forward if they drive it 

9. Trolley where you can scan the meal you want to make e.g. spaghetti bolognese, trolley shows you where all ingredients are and how much you need

Problem 2 – Buying too much food


1. Create a website which allows you to choose the meals to be cooked for every day of the week. Based on the recipes it shows the products which need to be purchased. e.g. stew on Monday, stake on Tuesday etc. sums up all ingredients add 10-15% to the total amount, put it all in the basket, which then automatically purchased online.

2. Back to the screen on the trolleys – have a trolley with the scales in them. If you bought more items than in your list, it switches off the brakes on and you can’t move the trolley until you remove the item. Or…trolley which generates hand vibration if you bought too much (as a gentle reminder)

Problem 3 –  Club cards and shop discount cards should be simplified! 

1. Every time I scan the discount card I’d like to see on the back of the card number of points I have

2. Conversion of points should be more simple and spending of the points should be simplified. Instead of 1% (1 point is 1p for each £1 spend) it should be 3p to 5p (3 – 5%) and it should be possible to pay with the points rather than getting vouchers by post or email, spending them etc. If I spend £100 for grocery I’d like to know that I can spend at least £5 on a treat for myself. And if they make it £10 from £100 no need to have any discounts on any products in the shop

3. Some shops give fuel points to exchange for petrol. Cool. What about giving an extra point for people living e.g. more than a few miles from the shop to attract them to your shop or giving some bonuses to people who walked in the reduce carbon footprint? 

4. Send birthday card and present if client spend a minimum amount per year e.g. £1000 per year in the shop

I think it’s enough ideas for now. I bit more than 5…..:-))

Feel free to pass them to any shop managers or shop owners you know.


Small Disclaimer!

After I’ve finished writing the article, I’ve googled Smart Shopping Cart and found that some ideas above are already implemented. But who cares! I took them from my head without using Google and very proud of it….:-)))