Designs & Displays: Cash Wrap Magic

“Everything at our checkout desk is a talking point,” says Nathalie Velasquez, owner of Nathalie & Co. Dancewear and Little Things. “The longer customers are there talking to you, the more you can increase your bottom line.”

A well-designed cash wrap is more than just a place for customers to pay for things; it’s your chance to give them a positive last impression of their shopping experience at your store—and for you to add to the sale. The space should be comfortable for both your customers and your staff. Be sure you have enough room on both sides—about three feet is standard—so staff can work comfortably and efficiently (thus giving better service) and a customer can easily set her purchases and her purse down. There should be plenty of storage space behind the counter for shopping bags and other supplies—and ample counter space for enticing, on-brand displays of tempting product.

The visual merchandising of this area is crucial: Thoughtful and curated fixtures, like glass jars and metal stands or trays, will avoid stress-inducing clutter and make small products pop. And you’ll achieve your add-on sales while staying true to the look and feel and branding of your store. Follow these five merchandising tips, and you won’t miss any sales opportunities.

Wow customers with last-minute temptations.

Think creatively about the add-on sales possibilities at the cash wrap, advises retail strategist Georganne Bender, of Kizer & Bender Speaking. This is where impulse purchases live. Load your cash wrap with product customers just can’t pass up.”

Small hair accessories, earrings, headbands and small stuffed animals line the front desk at Ballet Boutique in Doral, FL. Owner Gaby Martinez acquired a large circular counter from a retailer going out of business. It has plenty of room for staff to work and an expansive countertop for displaying add-on purchases in an organized, attractive way. What’s more, the front of the unit features shelves where Martinez can display larger-ticket products, too, like dance bags. “We change the display every week,” she says. “When you come to the register you will always find something new right there.”

Martinez intentionally packs her cash wrap so it’s full of product. “When you pack something, it looks less expensive than when you display a single item alone,” she says. “This gives the impression that this is just a little something, that it’s not expensive and it’s easy to add it to your purchase.”

Test new and nondance items.

If you have a wall behind your cash wrap, Bender suggests using it to create displays that keep customers thinking about product. “Put slatwall or shelves up so you can display a pair of shoes or a mannequin form wearing an outfit,” she says. This can be a great way to introduce new arrivals or categories you just started carrying.

Owner Gaby Martinez at the spacious cash wrap of Ballet Boutique

Bender also suggests looking beyond dance products for cash wrap displays. “I think today retailers have to be smart about their merchandise assortment,” says Bender, “and about who is coming into your store and what they want.” Moms shopping with children may appreciate inexpensive books, puzzles, small toys—or even snacks—to amuse their child while they shop. “Even though you sell ballet clothing and accessories, that doesn’t mean you can’t add to sales by selling something like candy,” says Bender. If you’re not sure what else your customers might like, ask them, she says. People always need gifts—some stores have had success with versatile or on-trend bags that work for nondancers and dancers alike, and water bottles for the gym and beyond.

Nathalie Velasquez, owner of Nathalie & Co. Dancewear and Little Things, is located in a mall, so she likes to display products that will appeal to the nondance customers who wander into her store. She has a small section of slatwall next to the cash wrap where she displays rotating inventory that will appeal to everyone, like fun socks and bags. In November she displayed “Shop Small” tote bags, and during the holidays she changed the display to feature Nutcracker gifts.

Keep a supply of easily forgotten items at the counter.

In addition to small gift items, it’s important to keep easily forgotten must-haves within reach. Tights, hairpins, foot-care products and pointe shoe accessories are easy for shoppers to forget about while they shop. They can be displayed in jars or stands on the counter, and extras can also be stored in a shelf behind the desk. When a customer says, “I forgot to get tights. I’ll get them next time,” that makes it easy for your cashier to quickly present them with a pair, saving them time and energy, says Bender.

Last-minute temptations at Ballet Boutique’s cash wrap

“Our store is big; it’s 1,700 square feet,” says Martinez, “so we concentrate on the small things customers may miss before they check out.” Hair accessories like bun holders, bobby pins and hair ties are good examples of items dancers always need and are easy to forget. “Things that are super-marginal, super-cheap and don’t require much thinking can always be added on to a sale,” says Velasquez. “Hair coils are great because customers don’t think about them. I like to do a lot of little things that are easy to miss when you’re shopping around the store.”

Velasquez also keeps gift cards prominently displayed on her counter and trains her staff to suggest them to customers shopping for that special someone, or just as a treat for themselves.

Train your staff to talk up extra sales (in a nice way).

The best thing your staff can ask customers while they check out is: “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” Bender suggests training your staff to ask open-ended questions. “Who, what, when, where and why” are good conversation starters, she says. Consider questions like “What about your recital are you most excited about?” and “What does your costume look like?” These can encourage conversation about (and sale of) recital-related products like makeup, hairpins and extra tights.

“Everything on our desk is a talking point,” says Velasquez. “The longer customers are standing there talking to you, the more you can increase your bottom line.”

At Nathalie & Co. Dancewear and Little Things, signs make store policies clear—before customers pay.

Don’t forget to add signage.

Signage is important at your checkout, specifically any store policies, such as returns, that customers should know about before they purchase. “You need a policy sign at your cash wrap, and it needs to be printed and framed,” says Bender. She adds that signage should never be handwritten or taped anywhere on your cash wrap, and it should be friendly and positive, not scolding. (Also, avoid leaving visible notes or instructions for your staff at the desk. “Your customers have no business seeing that,” she says.)

Velasquez is lucky to have a staff member who practices calligraphy and makes beautiful signage for the store. She uses small frames and chalkboards from IKEA to make signs that spotlight new products and feature fun sayings. She uses all-white frames since they are neutral and in line with her store branding and design. “We also print out pictures from our photo shoots,” she says. “Customers love recognizing dancers from their studios. They like seeing something they can relate to.” A positive last impression, indeed.


Photos: Ballet Boutique, by Mayra Roubach; Nathalie & Co. Dancewear and Little Things, courtesy of the retailer

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