Why Do Grocery Stores Place Carts At The Exits?

Whether you love it or hate it, for most of us, grocery shopping is a fact of life. An FMI report found that 53% of Gen Z and 55% of millennial shoppers value convenience above all else when it comes to grocery shopping, via Food Industry Executive. In fact, 72% of Gen Z and millennial shoppers won't visit a grocery store if it's over 20 minutes away. It looks like today's shoppers want to get in and get out, and the spots where grocery stores keep their shopping carts can make a big difference.

In many smaller stores, states shopping cart and basket purveyor Good L Corp, the entrance and exit are right next to each other. So placing the shopping cart corral there would naturally make sense. However, even if your local supermarket's entrance and exits are far apart from each other, Good L Corp still recommends grocers keep a supply of carts near the exit. 

The reason is good old fashioned human error. Maybe you take a grocery list with you on every shopping trip (69% of women and 52% of men do reports CreditDonkey). You might even be a professional grocery list maker; organizing your lists by store department (produce, toiletries, etc.) for maximum efficiency. You're on a mission in this supermarket. But even for the most seasoned shopper, there's always the annoying inevitability that you'll remember to grab eggs or the bread crumbs for that casserole after you've already checked out.


Paul Reber, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, says that the memory capacity of the human brain is virtually unlimited (per Scientific American). The brain contains roughly one billion neurons – for reference, per Legacy Box, if your brain were a laptop, it would have the storage capacity of 2.5 million gigabytes (enough to hold 300 years of television shows). "We don't have to worry about running out of space in our lifetime," said Reber (per Scientific American). 

But, according to LiveScience, your three-pound brain is roughly the same weight as that half-gallon of milk you just forgot to grab. It's totally normal Healthline reports that the brain typically begins to lose some of its memory capacity by the time a person reaches their late twenties. Plus, short-term memory only has space for 7 pieces of information, each being stored for 20-30 seconds or less (via Very Well Mind). But as normal as forgetting a grocery item here or there is, it's also still annoying. Good L Corp states that's where those shopping carts at the store exit come in. Most shoppers, it explains, are going to turn around and re-enter the store to grab that item, and keeping carts at the exits is a convenient way to help shoppers carry the groceries they just bought and promote more sales in one swoop.