UK supermarket trials iPad shopping cart, sports fans targeted

When we heard that British supermarket giant Sainsbury’s was trialing the use of iPads on its shopping carts, we thought perhaps it was so that food shoppers could gain quick and easy access to more information about products they were interested in, or to help keep track of the total cost of the cart’s contents.

But according to a Telegraph report, it seems as though that’s not the case. They’re actually intended for sports fans, so they can keep up-to-date with the latest news, or even watch live broadcasts of events. Sainsbury’s hopes that this will encourage sport-obsessed shoppers tied to the sports channels at home to actually climb out of the sofa and make their way to the local supermarket instead.

The custom-made carts are the idea of broadcaster Sky to promote its Sky Go service – a service which enables iPad owners to watch live sports events on their tablets.

For cart-pushers who become too involved in a sports game and so aren’t looking where they’re going, sensors on the front of the cart will sound a warning beep if the cart is about to roll into something. The special carts are also fitted with batteries with solar panels ensuring the iPads never run out of juice (even if the supermarket does).

Setwo Designs’ Ian Burgess, who designed the unique cart, said: “Being able to create a gadget that is practical yet innovative is often a challenge but I think with the trolley we’ve cracked it.”

He added, “The trolley can be used in the traditional way for shopping yet streams the latest sports news easily.”

One wonders if some shoppers will become so engrossed in a sports game that they end up just wandering mesmerized through the supermarket, eyes fixed on the screen, before arriving at the checkout with an empty cart.

At the moment, only one Sainsbury’s branch, in Kensington, London is testing out the cart. If the trial proves popular (ie. if the company discovers it’s getting more people through its doors), then Sainsbury’s shopping carts across the whole of the UK will likely come with an iPad attached.

[Images: Sky/Jack Barnes, via Silicon]

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