I'm a Senior Industrial Design student at the University of Washington and I'm currently working on my Senior Capstone project. I'm working to design a new shopping cart and I'm currently wrapping up the research phase of the project. I'll post the concept sketches as soon as I get started on them sometime next week. It's a two quarter (20 weeks) long project and I'm six weeks into the first quarter.
So far I've done my research by going online and reading as much as I can about shopping carts and watching a lot of videos on YouTube, which includes the shopping cart designed by IDEO about 10 years ago. I also have been going around department stores around my neighborhood observing the way how customers shop and conducting interviews with managers and courtesy clerks getting their opinions on what are the current problems with shopping carts and what improvements they would like to see in the new shopping cart (so far I've been to Safeway, Top Foods, Costco, Target, and Uwajimaya).
I thought cart theft and steering problem (it gets really hard to steer the cart when you have a lot of stuff in it) were big issues but after interviewing people I found out that they were not really big problems after all, at least not from the management's perspective. What I'm trying to focus on now is designing a shopping cart around making the customer's shopping experience better and easier. Maybe I can focus on the check out process because people have to put stuff into their cart, take them all out once they get to the counter, put it all back into the cart, and then take them all out again once they are at their cars. Another thing to consider at this point is the type of carts, because bigger stores like Costco uses different type of carts than stores like Safeway. Maybe I should pick one store and design a cart specifically tailored to it, just like how Target has their own designed cart.
I'm attaching the mind map of everything that I've done so far plus couple pictures that I got from visiting these stores. (Is there a way that I can attach more pictures? or maybe I can make a public dropbox folder with all the images in it?)
I would appreciate it if you guys can at this point give me some opinions about possible directions and your inputs on what the problems are with current shopping carts and what improvements you guys would like to see.
Anything will help! Thanks for your time