Coles trials groundbreaking change to shopping trolleys

Coles has unveiled a new scheme to make grabbing a trolley even more convenient, all while reducing the number of abandoned trolleys in the community — and all you’ll need is your smartphone.

A short trial taking place in a Victorian Coles store is paving the way in digitised shopping experiences by offering customers the option to unlock a trolley using their smartphone.

The new trial offers customers the opportunity to unlock a trolley through the Coles sMart Shop app, by purchasing a digital $2 coin and scanning a QR code.

Coin-operated trolley next to Coles app scanner trolley tech. Source: Coles, Getty Images
Coin-operated trolley bays may soon be a thing of the past with Coles' new trolley tech. Source: Coles, Getty Images

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News that the technological trial is aimed to provide a more convenient option for customers.

“Coles is trialling coinless shopping trolley locks at one of our Victorian stores, using technology which means customers will no longer need a coin to unlock a trolley, instead using a QR code linked to an app,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers simply download the Coles sMart Shop app, purchase a $2 digital coin and scan a QR code to unlock a trolley. Once the trolley is returned and locked, the $2 deposit will be returned to the customer’s account, ready for the next time they shop.”

The good news for customers who don’t wish to participate in the new trial, is that traditional trolley options will also remain available.

“Customers who don’t wish to use them can speak to a team member to arrange a trolley to complete their shopping,” the spokesperson said.

Trial hopes to rectify common gripe

The spokesperson also told Yahoo News that “it’s hoped the technology will help minimise abandoned shopping trolleys in the community".

A Coles spokesperson previously told Yahoo News that “abandoned trolleys are a nuisance to local communities,” while pledging that the supermarket giant is committed to addressing the common gripe of dumped shopping trolleys.

"We are actively working to make this better across the nation, including regular collections of abandoned trolleys with vehicles on the road daily and installing wheel lock systems where suitable,” the spokesperson said.

Abandoned shopping trolleys from Coles and other supermarkets abandoned on footpaths. Source: Getty Images

A widely used Trolley Tracker app has allowed community members to report abandoned shopping trolleys in community areas for decades, and has reported over three million abandoned trolleys in that time.

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