Shopping cart media: two visions of the future

The recent Springwise newsletter shares a new breed of smart shopping cart that displays text ads on a small screen right on the handle. Its simplicity allows retailers to run messages for one store or for a whole chain, and the retailer can easily change messages for dayparts and clearance items. It’s manufactured by Modstream, a New York based company that claims:

Modstream’s messages are so powerful that national retailers have
reported sales lifts of featured products up to 35%! These
extraordinary sales results are possible because Modstream requires no
change in shopper’s behavior.

No buttons to push or screens to
navigate — shoppers push their cart and see your messages! And, since
Modstream resides on the shopping cart handles, retailers and
advertisers have 30-40 minutes to engage customers every time they shop.

This innovation seems a bit like Google text ads to me. Low-tech text – but located where it counts. As both a supporter and critic of new media placements in our lives, I am mixed about this one as usual. But as long as it’s quiet and shoppers can choose to ignore it, Modstream could be a win-win for both shopper and retailer.

Compare Modstreams’ cart to one at the opposite end of the spectrum: the beautifully redesigned shopping cart with ad space on the side. It looks exactly like a Volkswagen Beetle – if the Beetle were wrapped in a giant ad. It’s called the MarkitCart.

Two polarized examples in the evolution of mobile shopping containers.

What do you think? Are cart handles like the Internet search dashboard – best used for fast and readable low-concept messages? Does Modstream’s technology hit the sweet spot somewhere between interruption and engagement? Does the MarkitCart take it too far?