Ep. 145 Twelve Elements of a Great Cash Wrap
Well-designed cash wraps are an investment, but they help you be more efficient, organized, and create a better customer experience.
Let’s look at some of the factors you should consider for this workhorse furniture piece for your retail space.
36 inches seems to be the sweet spot for a cash wrap’s height. At our store, we have two tiers on our cash wrap. The lower counter is 36 inches to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This allows wheelchair users to reach the counter and see the point of sale screen. The upper counter is an appropriate height for standing customers.
Many cash wraps are between 48 and 72 inches in width, but I would love one up to 120 inches (10 feet!). The more counter space, the better!
With all the tissue paper, bags, batteries, scissors, tape, and other loose items you might need, storage space should be part of your cash wrap. It’s helpful to have a mix of drawers, shelving, and vertical bag slots.
We have a lot of bins and baskets to help keep our supplies organized, as well as a twice-yearly cleanout.
#4. Surface Space & Shape
Ample surface space on your cash wrap is helpful for wrapping and bagging items (and allows customers to set down their personal items, too).
You have a couple of options when it comes to the shape of your cash wrap. A single solid counter is a popular choice, as is an L-shaped cash wrap. U-shaped cash wraps are a good choice if your retail space is large enough and won’t feel crowded by it.
#5. Impulse Buys
Small items like keychains, lip balms, chocolates, or other sweet treats are perfect impulse buys. These items are usually low-cost and high-margin.
I was recently shopping at TJ Maxx and Old Navy, and both of these stores have maximized their checkout lines and counters with impulse buy items. While you might not have a big space for a checkout line with shelving, they’re still good examples to look at for the kinds of items that customers might pick up right before checkout.
#6. Outlets or Charging Station
The days of a manual cash register are over—nearly every retail store uses a POS system that requires multiple devices and chargers. Examples are your credit card reader, iPad, iPad stand, and barcode scanner.
You’ll need ample outlets to charge all of these devices or a central charging station on one of the shelves of your cash wrap. Be sure to consider the aesthetics of your space, too. If you can, keep cords out of sight of customers and off the floor so they don’t create a tripping hazard.
Choosing where your cash wrap goes is essential not just for the functionality of your store but for psychological reasons as well. Most customers will enter, turn right, and explore your store in a counterclockwise direction. Putting your cash wrap on the left side of your store allows customers to see everything before checking out.
Cash wrap placement all depends on the size and shape of your store, though. For example, we recently expanded and took over the adjacent storefront. There’s an opening in the center wall between the two spaces.
Customers enter the store, walk through the first side, go through to the second side, and then circle back to where they entered so they can exit. Because of our unique layout, we have our cash wrap near the entry and exit door.
#8. Two-Part Units
Two-part units give you lots of counter space if you have the square footage to accommodate it. Gift shops usually have two-part cash wraps so that staff can wrap purchases on the back counter and have enough space for tissue paper, ribbons, and bags.
I would love to have a two-part cash wrap, but it just doesn’t make sense for our square footage. Be sure that you have enough space before getting a more oversized cash wrap built.
And if you do have a back counter, it’s essential to keep it free of clutter! Since this area faces the customer, you don’t want it to feel disorganized or messy.
#9. Customer Pickup Area
With so many shopkeepers embracing omnichannel retail, having a pick-up area for online orders is key. This doesn’t have to be part of your cash wrap, but it is helpful to have it close by.
#10. Focal Point
Make your cash wrap a focal point in your store! We have a decorative element behind our cash wrap, but I could easily see us getting a custom sign with our logo made for that area. Having your logo or store name displayed helps customers recognize where they are and remember your name.
#11. ADA Compliant
Your cash wrap must be ADA-compliant to accommodate customers in wheelchairs or with other disabilities. You can learn more about ADA standards for your store on the ADA website—they have an excellent primer for small businesses.
#12. Safety & Protection
Lastly, consider how your cash wrap will help keep you and your store staff safe. When designing our cash wrap, my sister made sure that we had a shelf where our cash drawer would be hidden. It’s very difficult for someone to reach around the counter and grab anything from the cash drawer.
Don’t keep purses or personal items up at the cash wrap. You should have a locked storage room, back office, or locker to keep your and your staff’s personal items safe.
- ADA.gov’s primer for small businesses
- Pinterest board with cash wrap design inspiration (from Becky of Retail Details)
- Apply to join Master Shopkeepers
- [02:48] Height
- [03:56] Width
- [04:27] Storage
- [05:33] Surface Space & Shape
- [06:21] Impulse Buys
- [07:51] Outlets or Charging Stations
- [08:56] Placement
- [10:49] Two-Part Units
- [12:28] Customer Pickup Area
- [14:01] Focal Point
- [14:39] ADA Compliant
- [15:01] Safety & Protection