British high street grocery chain the Co-operative is trialling a scheme whereby it mounts touchscreen tablet devices on trolleys in certain branches in order to interact more with shoppers.

The tablets will quiz customers as they walk through the stores about the layout, ranges and products on offer, in order to better the service in future. Shoppers can therefore express their views on services and social issues directly.

An online version of the questionnaire will also be available for those who don't have a participating Co-op near them.

"The hi-tech trolleys not only make it easy for customers to tell us about their shopping experience, but because the information is collated digitally, we can access what they say almost instantly," said Andrew Mann, the Co-op's customer director.

"Our new stated purpose emphasises the importance we place on communities and so this feedback will also enable us to find out what our members and customers think about our community engagement."

Whether it will use the trolley-mounted tablets for future uses, such as browsing items for their nutritional or calorific content or getting in-store offers, is yet to be revealed. At present they will simply be used to gain customer feedback as they shop.