Smart trolleys launch at Richie’s HQ

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 25th January 2011

Australia’s first smart supermarket trolley, VIP Trolley, will roll out at supermarket chain Ritchie’s head office store in Carrum Downs on February 1, adding to the two stores already equipped with the technology at Delahey in Victoria and Hawker in the ACT.

The smart trolleys are equipped with a control pad, video display, barcode scanner and locating technology similar to a GPS, allowing the trolley to know where in the store it is at all times. Customers can access a pre-planned shopping list, loaded using a unique shopper ID card, ask for directions to an item, keep a running total of the cost of their items, and be alerted to specials as they walk past them.

In addition, the technology will provide supermarkets with valuable shopper insights, particularly relating to in-store shopper marketing and buying patterns for various items.

VIP Retail (licensee of the VIP Trolley system in Australia) said they have collected over 10,000 shopping journeys and are focused on providing valuable insights to help both retailers and brand owners understand how their shoppers shop their store and/or category.

“So far the feedback we have received from shoppers has been very promising,” said Nathan Dunn, General Manager of VIP Retail.  “We’ve found that 83% of shoppers enjoyed shopping with a VIP Trolley for the first time.”

Dunn said the running total and directions to items were proving popular with shoppers.

“We’ve noticed that shoppers seem to enjoy having an element of control over their shop – gone are the days when you need to ask a staff member where something is!” he said.

In-store specials were also a popular feature with consumers.

“With 70% of purchase decisions made at the point of purchase, we’ve found that this is the time when shoppers want to cut through the clutter and know what’s on special,” said Dunn. “The VIP Trolley delivers relevant communication to the relevant shopper at the relevant time”.

The trolleys could also be capable of displaying advertisments to shoppers alongside their shopping information, allowing a uniquely direct form of shopper marketing.

Fred Harrison, CEO of Ritchies Supermarkets, known for trialling new initiatives in his Head Office store, said he was excited to commence the showcase of the VIP Trolley fleet at his Carrum Downs store in February.

“We’re really looking forward to introducing this amazing technology and providing our shoppers with a unique shopping experience.  We think it will not only be fun and enjoyable, but enable them to save valuable money and time,” said Harrison.