Check Out the Shopping Cart

Nov. 26, 2003

About the author: Wendi Hope King is editor of WQP.


The area in which I live has in the past five to 10 years become very overcrowded. Even though our old roads do not support it, new housing and commercial developments continue popping up on lots that you never thought could hold such construction. A continuous stream of traffic jets by at all hours. No, I don't live in a city. In fact I live in a town that used to be quite small, but somewhere along the way it developed some of the best shopping in the area. All of this growth--and I know, it is good for the economy--has made it difficult to do the simplest of things such as run out for a gallon of milk. One must have a great deal of patience and time in order to complete tasks outside of the home.

I share the following sentiment with anyone in my area and those of you that find yourselves in a growing suburban location: I hate going to the grocery store. It is a challenge; it is a test of patience. The traffic to the store, traffic in the store and mean or agitated shoppers and staff all create such a distraction that you can get home and not even remember which way you drove home.

I bring this up now to mention a clever little advertising avenue that actually had enough punch to grab my attention for the first time. Supermarket shopping carts. Although computerized carts telling you where items are located and containing small text advertisements never made it very far, the advertisement about the size of half of this page at the front of the cart still remains.

I'll admit this is not a new advertising method. Advertisers have utilized this in-store advertising method for many years. However, I am used to viewing ads for Kellogg's, Welchs or Prego. What made me stop to take notice was not these companies you expect to see, but rather the local businesses--insurance, banks, restaurants and craft stores--that have been exploring this avenue. My most recent cart had a picture of a local realtor, her location, what is unique about her and what she can do for you. A simple message and a photo of her business--in this case, her picture--that you will remember even after you leave the store.

Picture it: Your dealership and the products and services it offers spelled out right in front of the consumer for the entire length of his shopping experience. Typically, you only have seconds to get the consumer's attention such as in a newspaper or television ad, but imagine stepping that up to 30 minutes or an hour. All that time the person will have your ad right in front of them. Also, I know that prices will vary depending on your area and some stores may even require a specific amount of time to run the program, but it doesn't hurt to speak with your local stores about what they offer.

Now, I will add that this particular realtor's face can be found on billboards, fliers and local newspapers. This aggressive publicity has made her a very well-known and successful realtor. There is no reason this can't work for you, too.

So, while you are out in the hustle and bustle and haggling with someone to give you the last carton of eggnog, take a moment to check out who is advertising in your cart ... is it your competitor?

Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays.

Wendi Hope King

[email protected]

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