The Cash Wrap Process Explained

Revel Blog | Revel Systems | June 4, 2021 |


Cash wraps are a combination of practicality and psychology in retail. The correct execution of the cash wrap counter can increase sales and make or break the customer experience.

Major retailers have spent millions on understanding the psychology of consumer behavior. This is where the cash wrap is beneficial. 

Execute smart psychology by learning how to configure your retail cash wrap desk and tweaking it to increase your bottom line.

What is a Cash Wrap, and Why is it Important?

Wondering, “what is cash wrap in retail?”

The truth is, many just see it as the cash register desk. Otherwise known as the check-out counter, this is the last stop for any customer that comes into your store. They will either pay for their goods here or pass it on their way out without buying anything.

It’s the single most powerful point of purchase you have. We have to ask ourselves how we can maximize this area of our retail space.

The actual cash wrap meaning involves improving the customer experience and encouraging purchases. Executing retail cash wraps counters effectively can dramatically increase your bottom line in the long term.

Here are the significant benefits of focusing on your cash wrap counter:

Increase Sales

The cash wrap is the number one part of your store where customers make impulse purchases.

Quick Checkouts

Intelligent design can reduce the time it takes to pay for items. Fast checkouts improve the customer experience and leave your target market with a positive impression.

Enhance Convenience

Make sure your counter has enough space for customers to set down armloads of items. A convenient check-out space goes a long way to improving the retail experience.

Improve Security

A well-positioned retail desk ensures that employees have a better view of the store, thus improving security.

Build Your Brand

Cash counters are an excellent location for branding. It’s not uncommon for retailers to invest in significant branding in this area. This can come in the form of branded products and special offers.

Types of Cash Wraps

There are many types of cash wrap design retailers can invest in for their business. Obviously, many counters are determined by the amount of available retail space, which we’ll discuss later.

Firstly, let’s examine the different types of cash wrap available.

Single Countertop

The single countertop is placed perpendicular or parallel to the wall. This may act as a freestanding island.

Two-Part Unit

One section is placed parallel to the wall, and another free-standing unit is placed in front.

Three-Part Unit

Otherwise known as a U-shaped or horseshoe unit, this is the same as a two-part unit, except an additional part is used to enclose the whole counter.

The type of cash wrap design largely depends on the size of your store, the number of employees, and the number of customers. It all plays into a more extensive debate over customer flow, floor space, and design goals.

Finally, you need to remember the American Disabilities Act, as well as general health and safety regulations.

This means a countertop should be at least 30-36 inches wide, with an allowance of three feet for employees to work. There should be enough space for a wheelchair in front of the counter, and the counter must be no more than 36 inches from the floor.

Factors to Consider When Designing Your Cash Wrap

When designing your retail space, there are many factors to take into account to maximize the value of your retail cash wrap.

This is why even when you’ve decided upon a design, it’s wise to change it up every so often to see what impact it has. Retail stores that experiment tend to experience superior results in the long term.

Let’s take a look at each factor that should go into your design.

Location & Available Space

This will be the defining factor in designing your retail desk. Depending on your retail space, you may not be able to accommodate that big three-part unit.

You must factor in retail and disability guidelines when figuring out how much space you have.

Furthermore, you need to think about how customers are going to line up. Do they have enough space, or are they getting in the way of people who are still browsing?

Finally, it’s always recommended to place your counter on the left. Studies show that the majority of customers automatically turn right when entering a store. This encourages customers to walk past your retail counter on their way out.

Think customer experience.

POS System/Payment Management

Your Point of Sale (POS) equipment should be positioned in a way that gives your check-out counter a clean, streamlined look.

Choose a counter that enables you to hide messy electrical cords. Your POS shouldn’t get in the way of customers while, at the same time, enabling employees to process transactions quickly.

Fast processing is not just important during peak hours. Customers want to pay for their items and go about their business as fast as possible.

One consideration you need to take into account is the number of available sales positions. When customers are waiting in line at the check-out counter, it’s an excellent time to expose them to your merchandise. However, you don’t want to keep people waiting too long or you’ll ruin the customer experience.

Regularly tracking expected sales volume and foot traffic can help you determine how many sales positions you need.

Aesthetics/Brand Consistency

Your cash wrap counter is a chief point of branding. Avoid default, neutral designs on cash wraps. Brand your check-out counter with your colors. Make your brand a natural focal point for this area.

You can do this through lighting and non-intrusive props. This is one aspect you can change up throughout the year to keep things fresh.


Don’t just think about your obligations; think about how your counter size influences the customer experience.

Is there enough space for customers to set down their items? Too many stores only consider the customer at the front of the line. Make sure customers also have a place to put down their items while they wait.


Ensure your employees have enough space to organize themselves properly. Shelves that are hidden behind the counter keep your area looking clean and organized. It’s all about impressions.

The same goes for electrical cords. Keep them hidden. Customers who spot a messy retail counter automatically think the same about the business as a whole.


An often overlooked aspect of cash wrap design is the security aspect. Placing your counter too far away from the entrance can mean your employees are unable to see people entering and exiting.

Theft costs the retail industry untold millions every single year. Most thieves are opportunists, and if your retail counter is in the wrong place, it could increase the amount of product lost to theft.

Consider the natural flow of the store and the eyelines of employees when placing your counter.


Merchandising is the act of placing certain items at the check-out counter to encourage further purchases. This is where the term “Cash wrap counter” was derived. Many retail stores rely on this form of merchandising to turn a profit every year.

Ensure your counter has enough space to accommodate these additional products.

Cash Wrap Merchandising Strategy

It’s estimated that 68% of all retail purchases are impulse buys. The check-out counter is the ultimate location for impulse buys.

Customers waiting in line often find their eyes wandering towards these products and decide to make an impulse purchase.

Retailers must carefully craft their counter merchandising strategy to encourage further sales and maximize profits.

What Products Should a Cash Wrap Area Include?

The answer to this is simple. The best cash counter products are small, high-margin products that require very little thought on the part of a customer.

For example, a supermarket typically includes lighters, magazines, drinks, candy, and chewing gum in this part of the store. Customers shouldn’t have to leave the line to grab these items.

Low-cost products with high margins are strongly recommended because products with bigger price tags require more thought. You want the customer to spend as little time as possible thinking about these purchases.

The average supermarket, for example, will rarely have any product at the checkout costing more than $10.

Create Customer Loyalty

One of the major concerns of retailers is creating customer loyalty. Whether you have a rewards program, or simply a special offer, the retail desk is the place to breed that loyalty.

Selling a product in this area of the store, with the offer of a discount attached, can be a great way to get someone to sign up for a store card or to your email list.

Make Regular Changes

Certain products, such as chocolate bars, always have a place at a cash register desk. However, if you stock the same items every time, customers will eventually become blind to them.

Stores tend to have sections that are swapped out regularly. Seasonal products and services will appear for a short time before being switched with something else.

This keeps the attention of your regulars and increases the chances of them buying something.

It’s the one area of your retail space that invites experimentation throughout the year.


There are whole areas of research dedicated to the retail psychology of the cash wrap. Part of maximizing the value of your check-out counter revolves around purchasing the right POS solution.

Facilitate additional purchases and improve the customer experience by opting for a retail POS platform from Revel Systems.

Contact Revel Systems to learn more about the different cutting-edge POS equipment for your business.