It’s hard to imagine a time before the shopping cart, but it really wasn’t that long ago. Sylvan Goldman, who owned a number of grocery stores in post-Depression America was the mastermind behind the shopping cart. His was a business problem to solve. The stores were suffering, and he needed shoppers to buy more groceries. In order to do this, however, they needed a tool that would be functional (to keep their arms from tiring) and, ideally, would encourage the purchase of a few more products without the carts becoming too big for the store space.
As we all know, the shopping cart, which began rather small, has evolved over time to fit the way that consumers use the grocery store. Now, shoppers fill baskets—both at the grocery store and online—to the brim. Goldman would likely be shocked at how the cart has evolved, but the point is that he saw a problem and created a solution that would allow shoppers to get more of what they want, and, in turn, he increased his business.
When I think about how simple it is to fill up an Amazon cart with a million things, big and small, I am confounded at how we have limited ourselves to just a few options for booking a hotel room. You select a category, a pre-determined assembly of key room features, offered at a price.
Distinct views, corner rooms, the high floor, and so many more features that have true value to many guests are relegated to either find their way into such a category – or they can only be given away for free. Adding extra services such as breakfast, or the occasional massage, some even try selling teddy bears, towels, and bathrobes; that is about as creative as we get when it comes to the use of shopping carts.
Yet, we want to inspire them – get them excited and delighted. These are not inspiring choices. And, let’s be honest. There are no guarantees their preferences will be delivered. All too frequently, travelers are disappointed when they arrive onsite to find out there are no more king-size beds available, or that their preference of being on a high floor could not be accommodated.