A New Design On Cash Drawers
New payment options and end-user demands drive the development of new cash drawer features.
Business Solutions, February 1998
Making Cash Drawers More Functional
Compared to other point of sale (POS) components, a cash drawer is least likely to follow a "price/value technology curve," says Bruce Mann. He explains that over time, advancements in technology make POS components more functional. These advancements help drive down the cost of POS components. At the same time, competition to sell the technology increases. Mann likens it to "doubling the functionality of a product at half the price." Magnetic stripe readers and scanners, for example, are continually enhanced as their competitors vie for market share. There is little technology to improve in a cash drawer, however, he notes. Instead, Mann says, retailers and end users are driving recent trends in cash drawer design.
Making a cash drawer more functional may simply mean changing its size, or footprint. "A drawer with a smaller footprint is more functional in a convenience store, where counter space is at a premium," explains Mann. Conversely, a store with only one drawer is more functional if it is large, to hold extra bills and coins for all shifts and all employees. Molding a drawer cover (embossing) Molding or embossing the top surface of the cash drawer housing allows POS components such as monitors or keyboards to sit snugly on top of the drawer. This prevents the monitor from shifting when the cash drawer is opened and closed. Embossing is a low-cost method of making a cash drawer more functional.
Mann also points out that retailers want to make use of space in the rear of the drawer. Drawers made with a removable rear cover can hold a tangle of connecting cables and wires out of sight, using that space.
The Need For More Media Storage Space
The way in which consumers are paying for goods and services is also driving changes in the design of cash drawers, says Rick Legue. He says consumers are relying more on debit and credit cards, as well as checks, as payment methods, rather than dollars and coins.
A 1996 survey by the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina, supports Legue's belief. The survey results, published by the National Retail Federation, indicate that consumers paid for department store purchases using cash and checks only 28% of the time during 1996. Bank and store credit cards were used the remaining 72% of the time.
For retailers, this means storing less currency and more media (store copies of payment transactions) in the cash drawer. Legue points out that, depending on the store, media could also include cashed-in lottery tickets, food stamps, travelers' checks, or money order receipts. Most drawers average only ½" of space for media storage. In response to this trend, MMF is launching a new drawer that will provide the most media storage on the market. To do this, the company increased the drawer height from 3 ½" to 5".
According to Legue, vendors develop new drawer functions in response to market trends, such as payment options. "VARs noticing trends with customers should share that information with their vendor," he says.