This Agency Created a Self-Sanitizing Shopping Cart Handle

The product launched in 2015 but is being reintroduced during the pandemic

Closeup of a woman's hands pushing a shopping cart filled with healthy food
Geometry's Handle on Hygiene aims to make cleaning carts more efficient. Geometry

As grocery stores and other retail brick-and-mortars grapple with how to keep spaces germ-free in the era of the coronavirus, one agency is proposing a slick solution.

WPP-owned creative commerce agency Geometry’s Middle Eastern office is reintroducing a device that slides across shopping cart handles, dispensing a thin layer of disinfectant for between-use cleaning.

The agency first conceived the product in 2015 in partnership with fellow WPP shop Barrows and Unilever Lifebuoy soap. Back then, Handle on Hygiene was part of a campaign meant to highlight the places people might come into contact with germs and functioned more as a brand activation for Unilever.

As it started to see success, though, the agency decided to retool it for mass production. That process presented more challenges than initially expected, according to Nick Walsh, CEO of Geometry Middle East & North Africa. Designers had to figure out ways to keep the price per unit down while ensuring the canister of sanitizer wouldn’t leak and that carts remained stackable.

“There’s also a logistical element that we had to think through,” added Geometry global CEO Beth Ann Kaminkow, “especially given how quickly this can scale with the company. So it was really about how to have a supply chain set up and the ability to produce rapid quantities that might be needed.”

The agency claims that the invention has seen implementation in more than 500 supermarkets worldwide over the course of two years. And now, with companies scrambling to implement quick-clean practices that lessen the workload of essential workers, they are hoping to expand the market even more.

“There’s going to be a new kind of responsibility on companies and organizations providing a different level of sanitation and security to be able to go back into a commerce shopping, commercial environment,” Kaminkow said.

The project is not the only agency effort looking to make regular sanitization more efficient and integrated into commerce operations. Creative health agency The Bloc recently rolled out a combination UV disinfectant and barcode scanner for package deliveries, and some stores are outfitting their workforces with branded personal protective equipment to match uniforms.

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.