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Are retailers and customers ready for a cashless society?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to adapt their shopping behaviour in lots of ways. One notable change has been the growth in card transactions – and the consequent decline in people using cash.

The impact of a cashless society has been discussed since the advent of electronic banking in the 1990s, and there is no denying that the future of retail, and the digital transformation of the sector has been accelerated during the pandemic – but is cash really now on its way out?

In 2020, card payments represented more than half of total payments in the UK1. Estimates show that cash payments are now set to fall at an annual rate of between 2.3 and 6.2% across Europe2.

Are we heading for a cashless society?

Card transactions are increasingly common across Europe. Chip & PIN payments lead the way, with an 8% monthly increase in the three months after the initial lockdown restrictions eased2.

Contactless payments have also accelerated as consumers opted for this socially distanced method of payment. To help minimise contact with others, many locations increased the value-limit of contactless sales, which pushed this process even more into the mainstream. Financial giant Visa has reported growth in contactless payments across Europe, with 80% of in-store payments on their cards now contactless2.

Does cashless shopping deliver good customer service?

The pandemic has created tough conditions for retail stores, but if they are to thrive in the new shopping era, it’s vital that they respond with processes that reflect the changing needs of consumers.

86% of banking executives worldwide agree that it’s important for consumers to influence the personalisation of their financial user experience.3  That’s why savvy retailers are exploring ways of taking payment that enhance the shopper’s personal experience.

Indeed, offering options that give customers the flexibility to pay using the method of their choice is now a key part of delivering good customer service, whether that’s using contactless technology or payment methods like Klarna or PayPal in store.

How can technology deliver a better customer experience?

Technology has changed our expectations as consumers – and retail stores are compelled to change in-line with rapidly evolving needs. Customers, now comfortable with the speed and simplicity of cashless transactions, are pushing retailers to develop solutions that address consumers’ other pain points. 

For example, one of the biggest complaints that retail customers have is the length of in-store queues. Thanks to new technologies, the point of sale can now be anywhere within a retail environment, with cashless payment taken wherever the customer happens to be within the store.

But, whether it's mobile payment terminals that reduce check-out queues, digital ordering and payment points that streamline transactions or simply the hygiene benefits of not handling cash, the growing expectation that technology makes things simpler, easier and faster is transforming the customer experience for all of us.

Flexible, contactless payment systems are at the heart of that change. And, increasingly, those businesses prepared to embrace the cashless revolution will be the ones most likely to succeed in the new retail landscape.

Brother’s retail team understands how technology can improve the in-store experience and help your point-of-sale experience run smoothly. Why not check-out how we can help keep your customers happy with our retail solutions.


References

1. UK Finance: 'UK Payment Markets Summary 2021'

2. Oliver Wyman: 'Covid-19 and European Retail Payments'

3. Finextra: 'Contactless payments surge across Europe'

4. Stylus: 'New Ways to Pay'

 

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