Next time you’re in line to check out at a grocery store or even Target or Bed Bath and Beyond, take a good look around. Walking through their checkout lanes is like running the gauntlet. You try to make it through without picking something up and buying it. It’s a cooler filled with ice cold sodas and waters. 20 different magazines – everything from Cooking Light to the gossip rags to the tabloids. It’s candy candy candy and more candy. Rows and rows of gum and mints. Gift cards and phone cards. Disposable cameras, batteries. And on and on and on.
To some people, a checkout aisle seems like clutter and that it just is what it is – a checkout aisle. But to retailers, a checkout aisle has a purpose – to raise the average transaction. And if you put your mind to it and think about other retailers and their cash wraps, everyone merchandises their cash wrap to some extent. Pottery Barn sells CDs. Many retailers have their gift cards ready for the grab. Best Buy has their own version of a gauntlet. Quicksilver sells necklaces and bracelets.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Retailers have conditioned shoppers to buy stuff at the checkout. So jump on board and raise your average transaction through effectively merchandising it. You don’t need to bring in new merchandise. In most cases you can use what you have. Here’s how to do it.
Select a broad range of products. Products at the cash wrap generally fall into three categories:
- Products that have recognition
- Products that are tactile
- Products that are grab and go
In the beauty business, we had everything from candles (we had one burning with 8 of the same scent stacked around it) to lip balms to travel sized shampoos. We had a tester of hand lotion with more of the same stacked around it, gift cards, even eau de toilette testers. People love to touch, smell, see, hear and taste when they’re waiting in line. So give them merchandise that rewards their senses. Target stores sell DVDs – there’s a recognition factor there (“I should get Finding Nemo DVD for little Johnnie and Susie”) so they put it by the cash wrap. Grab and go items are the other big seller – candy and gum, lip balm, disposable cameras, batteries, etc.
Keep the price reasonable. Since a cash wrap item should be a quick decision, you’ll have more success if someone doesn’t have to break the bank in order to buy it. Remember, they didn’t plan on buying it so spending an extra $5 or $10 isn’t a big deal. Spending an extra $50 is. There was a phase at this beauty retailer where our merchant was trying to move $100 teeth whitening systems and $135 anti-again creams at the cash wrap. It didn’t work. Keep a variety of items priced from a buck or two to about $20 — that’s the max.
Display merchandise well to move it. A cash wrap should be as uncluttered as possible. It’s the last impression a customer leaves with. So don’t make them think about pushing aside a display in order to put their purse down. A cash wrap should be visually merchandised just like the rest of your store. At the beauty retailer, we displayed the eau de toilettes on a silver tray with tester strips. The candle burned in a glass sleeve with the boxes of candles neatly stacked to the side. Even lip balms were in a little jar. As I learned cooking in a restaurant when I was 16 years old – Eye Appeal is Buy Appeal. So please the senses with the way you merchandise your cash wrap.