Assembly required


For the past six months, my local Target has dedicated an endcap display to foldable utility carts. This sort of thing can come in really handy in the city: you take the folded-up cart with you to the store, unfold it during checkout, put all your bags in there, and wheel it home. And since few people have one, promoting them in the store should generate quite a few impulse purchases. But there’s one problem: the folding carts are sold unassembled, making it very difficult to buy the product and use it during the same shopping trip.

I’ve actually thought about buying a cart the last two times I visited the store. The first time, I saw that the wheels aren’t attached in the package, and figured that it would be hard to assemble. The second time, I actually looked at the instructions on the back, which confirmed my fears. As soon as I saw you needed a pliers and glanced at the illustration where you’re installing some sort of spring mechanism, I knew this was more than I’d be willing to fuss with on the way home. I’m sure other potential buyers have felt the same way.

Considering that the fully-assembled cart folds nearly flat, the space required to store ready-to-use models would be about the same as the partially-assembled ones they sell today. Thus, I’d love to see Target experiment with offering fully-assembled carts for say $5 extra. Plus, this opens up a whole new world of marketing opportunities for the product. I can envision today’s boring endcap display transformed to show a before and after scenario. On one panel, you would see a customer struggling to carry all their bags home, and on the other panel, you’d see the same customer wheeling all those bags home with their shiny new cart. If buying the cart meant that level of instant gratification for the customer — rather than just promising some nebulous future benefit once you put it together — I bet sales would skyrocket.