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If you want to sell more change your shopping trolleys

Christian Fernsby |
Shoppers are likely to save money in the run up to the holiday season if they use standard shopping trolleys, new research has found.

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The study, led by Bayes Business School, explores how using the standard shopping trolley with a horizontal handlebar such as you would likely find in a supermarket—activates the triceps muscle of the arm, whereas using a newly designed trolley with parallel handles—like that of a wheelbarrow—activates the biceps muscle.

Psychology research has proven that triceps activation is associated with rejecting things we don't like—for example when we push or hold something away from us—while biceps activation is associated with things we do like—for example when we pull or hold something close to our body.

When testing the newly designed trolley on consumers at a supermarket, report authors Professor Zachary Estes and Mathias Streicher found that those who used shopping trolleys with parallel handles bought more products and spent 25 per cent more money than those using the standard trolley.

The findings indicate that retailers are likely to accumulate greater sales and profits by providing customers with shopping carts with parallel handles, while consumers are likely to exercise more control over their spending if they use the standard shopping trolley.

Interviews found that leading shopping trolley manufacturers had not previously considered using parallel handles on their carts and were surprised to know that the position of the handles was able to impact sales.


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