Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Icon Becomes Real

I've always hated the jangly, busted-down, one-wheel-doesn't-work, clank-clank shopping carts at Target. But last week my local store finally got the new ones. They look like the "shopping cart" icon on any ecommerce site. I understand this is a weird thing to get excited about, but you've never pushed a cart like this.

Below, a portion of my review for "Cart and Driver"

The steering improves on the numb performance of earlier models with a smooth ride, the insulated handle not transmitting a lot of unwanted feedback to the driver. A sporty front end really helps give the cart a more modern look. The new model makes previous generation carts look ancient. Handling, acceleration and stopping performance are second to none. Responsive, powerful, and sexy, you will love driving this cart for hours, the wind in your hair as you roll carefree through the landscape of the chain store's smoothly laid aisles. When you're done, attempt the time-honored practice of riding it, scooter-style, through the parking lot to your car.

For the moment, it seems the Target cart is without competitive peer. The question then becomes: Does the cart matter? When a shopping cart occupies such a unique niche in the market place, pointing out the highs and lows becomes moot, because customers will push them all day long. After all, where's the competition?

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  • A nicer cart = a nicer brand experience. Target sets themselves apart from Walmart with their design aesthetic -- now their carts have joined the movement. Also, nothing makes you want to leave a store faster than a ill-rolling cart. Except a proliferation of inappropriate Spandex.

    By Blogger J_Fox, at October 26, 2010 at 10:09 AM  

  • I have to agree that the cart adds to the shopping experience.

    Plus, think about it, if you are writing about the shopping cart, you can't be the only one that notices them or doesn't notice them because they aren't busted. So that one thing alone should validate much of the effort put into design and implementation.

    By Anonymous Dave Wakeman, at October 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

  • Exactly on brand experience, Jason and Dave - as I walked into the store yesterday I was already anticipating the negative cart experience, wondering if I would get lucky and find the one-in-15 cart that didn't suck. Then, boom! A fleet of bad-ass carts waiting for me.

    You have to wonder if Target designer Michael Graves was in on the design.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at October 26, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

  • Okay, but just who greenlit those damn full-size NASCARTS in Home Depot? Do kids REALLY need something the size of a bed to ride around in?

    By Blogger mtlb, at October 27, 2010 at 1:47 AM  

  • Jangly and beat-up? Every Target I've ever been to has remarkably quiet buggies. I thought you were describing Walmart or any local grocery store until I landed at the end of your sentence.

    Well, if the carts are even better than before, that's great!

    By Anonymous Java Bean Rush, at October 27, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

  • Java: You must visit Target's test-stores, where the good things go before the rest of us get them. Locally, Target carts were sad and rusted, wobbly hell buggies. Maybe we just live near the last Target on the list as I've found people blogging about these new carts in the summer of '09.

    By Blogger Keith Reef, at October 28, 2010 at 7:46 AM  

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