Nowadays in modern world most shopping carts are made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic and have been designed to nest within each other in a line to facilitate collecting and moving many at one time and also to save on storage space.The carts can come in many sizes, with larger ones able to carry a child. There are also specialised carts designed for two children, and electric mobility scooters with baskets designed for disabled customers.
Shopping carts are usually fitted with four wheels, however if any one wheel jams the cart can become difficult to handle. Most carts in the United States have swivel wheels at the front, while the rear wheels are fixed in orientation, while in Europe it is more common to have four swivel wheels.
An alternative to the shopping cart is a small hand-held shopping basket,.Most retailers in North America utilize a cart retrieval service, which collects carts found off the store's premises and returns them to the store for a fee. The primary strength of this system is the ability of pedestrian customers to take purchases home and allow retailers to recapture abandoned carts in a timely manner at a fraction of the cost of a replacement cart. It also allows retailers to maintain their cart inventories without an expensive capital outlay,.
ELECTRONIC AND MAGNETIC
Electronic systems are sometimes used by retailers. Each shopping cart is fitted with an electronic locking wheel, or 'boot'. A transmitter with a thin wire is placed around the perimeter of the parking lot, and the boot locks when the cart leaves the designated area. Store personnel must then deactivate the lock with a hand-held remote to return the cart to stock. Often a line is painted in front of the broadcast range to warn customers that their cart will stop when rolled past the line. However, these systems are very expensive to install and although helpful are not foolproof. The wheels can be lifted over the electronic barrier and/or pushed hard enough that the locks break.
Another method is to mount a pole taller than the entrance, onto the shopping cart, so that the pole will block exit of the cart. However, this method requires that the store aisles be higher than the pole, including lights, piping, any overhead signage and fixtures. It also prevents customers from carting their purchases to their cars in the store's carts. Many customers learn to bring their own folding or otherwise collapsible cart with them, which they can usually hang on the store's cart while shopping.