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2 September 2016

FairPrice introduces new Trolley Enforcement initiative to address supermarket trolley abandonment issue

  • Pilot Trolley Enforcement Project aims to engage and educate the community on responsible trolley use and deter trolley abandonment.
  • Initiative will be piloted at a FairPrice supermarket and a FairPrice Xtra hypermarket at Jurong Point Shopping Mall - both stores experience a high incidence of trolley abandonment cases where 150 to 200 supermarket trolleys are retrieved daily from residential and public areas in the vicinity of the mall.

Singapore, 2 September 2016 – NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) today launched a new initiative, called the Trolley Enforcement Project, to address the industry-wide issue of supermarket trolley abandonment - a problem that is not unique to Singapore and prevalent in many other countries as well. The initiative will be piloted at a FairPrice supermarket and FairPrice Xtra hypermarket located at Jurong Point Shopping Mall where customers will be informed that action will be taken against shoppers who wheel trolleys out from the mall. Public outreach for this new initiative will include various community touchpoints supported by town councils, grassroots organisations, schools and tertiary institutions, and community engagement agencies. 

Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO of NTUC FairPrice, said: “Supermarket trolleys are provided as a service for shoppers and enhance the overall shopping experience. Unfortunately, some users have developed an ungracious habit of abandoning the trolleys after use instead of returning them. This obstructs walkways and public spaces which pose as a safety hazard and cause inconvenience to others. It also deprives other shoppers from using our trolleys. The pilot Trolley Enforcement Project adopts a holistic approach of educating the public on responsible trolley use through various community touchpoints, while also deterring shoppers from wheeling trolleys away from the mall.”

Last year, FairPrice lost about 1,000 trolleys - from over 90 FairPrice stores that provide trolleys - costing the organisation over $150,000 in trolley replacements, repairs and manpower required for retrieval of abandoned trolleys. This is an increase of almost 20 percent compared to five years ago, where over 800 trolleys were lost for the year.

The new Trolley Initiative will be piloted at both FairPrice stores located within Jurong Point Mall as it experiences the highest incidence of trolley abandonment cases. 150 to 200 trolleys are retrieved on a daily basis there; this is despite having installed 17 trolley return bays located throughout the mall to make it convenient for shoppers to return their trolleys.

Trolley enforcement officers

To enhance engagement with its customers on the issue, FairPrice will pilot trolley enforcement officers at its two FairPrice outlets in Jurong Point, located within Jurong West, a major trolley abandonment hotspot.

These officers will don a vest that identifies their role as trolley enforcement officers and proactively educate customers on returning trolleys. They will be stationed at the exit of stores to give them advice and share educational flyers, highlighting the seriousness of trolley misuse.

Public Education

Campaign collaterals will state clearly that trolleys are the property of FairPrice and inform customers who wheel trolleys out from that mall of FairPrice’s right to report offending customers to the police. The mall management of Jurong Point Shopping Mall will also publish campaign materials through its social media, website, mobile app, and electronic direct mailers to its subscribers, which will complement FairPrice’s own publicity efforts through its online and social media assets. These are in addition to existing in-store signs and in-store messages played to remind customers to return trolleys.

Community partnerships 

To enhance education and influence, FairPrice has worked with Singapore Kindness Movement’s (SKM) Seed Kindness Fund to involve students from Republic Polytechnic to spread the word about considerate trolley use through video content on social media. The completed work is part of its campaign around the issue, and will be disseminated through SKM’s website and FairPrice’s Facebook page.

Involvement on a grassroots level includes support from Frontier Community Club, which has engaged students from Jurong West Secondary School to distribute fliers at the mall and door-to-door to residences in the vicinity of the mall. In addition, FairPrice has worked with grassroots organisations overseeing the area to put up posters in the neighbourhood.  

Past efforts to address trolley abandonment

FairPrice has organised multiple public education campaigns annually over the past 6 years to urge shoppers to be considerate and responsible by returning shopping trolleys. The decision to adopt public education campaigns was based on a survey conducted in 2010 that revealed 91.1 per cent of customers agree that they are responsible for returning trolleys, 87.4 per cent agree that failing to return trolleys causes inconvenience to supermarket staff and customers, while 96.6 per cent agree that not returning trolleys is inconsiderate. To address this, an annual public campaign was initiated with Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) to urge shoppers to be considerate and spare a thought for others. Past initiatives to implement various security initiatives such as exchanging IDs, perimeter fencing and the coin-lock system also did not effectively address the issue.

 

The initial public education campaign, which was implemented in partnership with SKM, saw a reduction in trolley abandonment cases and increased the number of reports on trolley sightings in 2010. However, annual education campaigns since then have yielded limited success, hence the decision to complement public education efforts with the current initiative to prohibit shoppers from wheeling trolleys out of the mall.  

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