The benefits of cashless technology are winning over consumers in growing numbers:
- Global digital payments will total $6.6 trillion in 2021, a 40 percent increase from the total recorded in 2019.
- Cashless transactions in North America are forecast to jump from $170 billion in 2018 to nearly $200 billion in 2023.
- Millennials are leading the cashless trend: 34 percent of adults under age 50 make no cash purchases at all in a typical week.
In addition, a growing number of retailers have gone completely cashless. The Los Angeles Times reports that from early March to late April in 2020, at the start of COVID-related restrictions, the number of retail establishments in Los Angeles County that operated completely cashless increased from 8 percent to 31 percent.
While most forecasters don’t expect the world to be cash-free anytime soon, it’s clear that retailers have to be ready to meet their customers’ growing preference for cashless transactions. The best way for stores to capitalize on the cashless trend is by getting ahead of it via a cloud-based POS system that supports a range of payment types.
Is Going Cashless a Good Fit for Your Store’s Operation?
Any change to the way a retailer does business has to be implemented deliberately. The first step in planning for cashless technology is to anticipate what could go wrong before it does go wrong. Your store’s POS system, accounting procedures, and security protocols will all be affected by the transition to cash-free operation.
- In some locations, retail businesses are required to accept cash payments. In addition, several states and major cities are considering similar restrictions on cashless stores.
- While most retailers report that the majority of their customers prefer to pay via credit card, digital wallet, or other cashless method, certain businesses still record most of their sales from cash. These include food trucks, small kiosk stores, and pop-up retailers.
- Confirm that your POS system supports payments via EMV, swipe cards, and touch-to-pay digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
A viable option for retailers who want to continue to support their cash-paying customers is to adopt a modern cloud-based POS solution that can be integrated with a legacy cash register. This allows the store to realize the many benefits of cloud-based POS, including sales analytics, advanced inventory management, and automatic customer relationship management, while retaining some of their existing equipment.
However, cash management comes with its own set of potential problems:
- Cash transactions have to be recorded manually, which introduces the possibility of errors and makes sales analytics less effective.
- Cash sales are difficult to associate with specific customers, so the store’s customer history will be less accurate.
- Handling cash is problematic, entailing regular trips to the bank and making the retailer more vulnerable to theft.
A Step-by-Step Approach to Going Cashless
In today’s retail environment, a store’s POS system serves as the foundation for all of its operations. Supporting cashless technology depends on the features built into a cloud-based POS solution:
- Step one: Minimize your hardware footprint. Digital payment options, including online payments, smartphone payment apps, and gift cards, become interchangeable add-ons to the POS system. The store’s POS app running on a tablet or smartphone takes the place of a traditional cash register and serves as the central hub for the business’s online network.
- Step two: Match your peripherals to your needs. Cloud-based POS systems allow the hardware components, such as credit card readers, QR code and barcode scanners, and contactless payment devices, to be linked to the network via wired or wireless internet connections.
- Step three: Expand your online presence. Your store’s website becomes an integral part of your POS solution. It extends your brand and your reach while providing your customers with a consistent experience whether they’re shopping in the store or online.
- Step four: Manage everything via a single interface. The store’s mobile app serves as the command center for all retail management functions, from employee scheduling and inventory management to sales tracking and purchase order monitoring.
- Step five: Gain new insight into your financial performance. The real-time reporting capabilities of cloud-based POS systems put up-to-date sales and revenue figures at your fingertips at any time and from any location with a network link. Identifying your best-selling products, your slow movers, your best customers, and those you need to work harder to reach helps you allocate your resources more effectively.
How Going Cashless Enhances the Customer Experience
No technology will benefit retailers unless it also benefits retail customers. That’s why any adaptation to the way a store does business starts and ends with how it will improve the experience for shoppers. Topping the list of retail customer concerns at present is staying safe while shopping. Offering cashless payment options helps ease concerns by removing several potential points of contagion.
However, the pluses of cashless technology for customers go far beyond hygiene. Mobile and online retail were becoming more popular before COVID struck and are expected to gain in popularity after COVID-related restrictions are eased. At the same time, it’s easier and more affordable than ever for retailers of all types and sizes to support mobile and digital payments via scalable, flexible, and accessible cloud-based POS systems.
The two most powerful trends in retail today are clearly driven by customers: they want stores to provide them with a range of cashless payment options, and they want stores to bring the shopping experience to them rather than requiring that they come to the retailer. Cloud-based POS systems provide the ways and means for retailers large and small to do business how, when, and where their customers prefer.
talech has a number of POS solutions that can help your store adjust operations smoothly. From reaching new audiences to engaging with your existing customers more often, we give you the tools to adapt quickly and with confidence.
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