How Stores Can Prevent Shopping Cart Theft

Grocery carts have made the lives of shoppers easier for decades. They can carry large loads, allow for quicker shopping, and make it easier for customers to transport groceries to their vehicles.

Unfortunately, many grocery stores often fall victim to shopping cart theft. Theft can be frustrating for many reasons, but fortunately, there are a few theft prevention methods stores can implement.

Why Do People Steal Shopping Carts?

The main reason shoppers steal grocery carts is due to portability. With a cart’s durable 5 inch caster wheels and large cargo capacity, a shopping cart is a tempting option for transporting groceries home if there is no vehicle available.

How Can Theft Be Discouraged?

There are a few ways shopping cart theft can be discouraged. The most common methods of preventing theft are wheel locks, cart retrieval services, and coin systems.

Wheel Locks

One way many grocery stores prevent cart theft is by using wheel locks. These locks activate when a customer takes a cart past a specific boundary. The boundary consists of a wire that sends out a signal to a device on the cart that causes the wheels to lock.

This boundary usually runs along the parking lot’s perimeter, but it can also be found inside the store, preventing customers from taking the cart outside.

Coin Systems

Some stores use coin systems to discourage cart theft. A coin system requires a shopper to insert a coin in a cart’s handle to unlock the cart from the cart return. Then, the customer must bring the cart back to the return to get that coin back.

Cart Retrieval Services

A cart retrieval service is a paid service that grocery stores use to collect abandoned carts. Smaller grocery stores typically use retrieval services because they are more cost-effective than replacing stolen carts.

The Importance of Returning a Cart

Increased Prices

Stores need to replace shopping carts that customers don’t return. Unfortunately, the cost of replacing carts is ultimately passed on to the shopper through raised prices.

Safety Hazard

Shopping carts that are removed from store premises are often left unattended on sidewalks or in streets. Abandoned shopping carts can present a hazard to pedestrians and drivers.

Shopping carts make grocery shopping much more accessible by making it easier to transport groceries through the store and to a vehicle. However, shopping cart theft can cause many problems for grocery stores. Implementing a theft-deterrent system using one of the methods above is the best way to avoid increased costs for customers and the frustration of a cart shortage for store owners.

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