Retailers Must Accommodate the 86% of Consumers Who Still Use Cash

With recent research showing that only 14% of South African consumers are ready to go completely cashless, retailers should be looking at ways to accommodate their customers’ preferred way to pay, while also reducing their operating costs. Leading retailers are looking towards automating the handling and management of cash, so that they can meet this objective.

The research from BCG shows 86% of South Africans today use cash for at least some of their transactions. Nearly a third (29%) said they wouldn’t be comfortable with a cashless society, while 95% withdraw cash from ATMs at least once a month. This shows that it is as important as ever for retailers to support cash payments, says Mark Templemore-Walters, Operations Director at Cash Connect.

“Despite the growth of digital payments over the past few years, cash still has a vital role to play in the retail ecosystem,” he adds. “It is a trusted payments instrument that people can use without involving a third party. They can pay with cash when there’s load shedding, there’s no internet connectivity or the card terminal is down.

“Plus, it’s a low-cost way to pay and accept payments, and helps people to manage their spending more carefully. It also ensures our fundamental right to privacy. These features make cash one of the most inclusive payments options in a country where around 11 million people are underbanked*.”

Supporting consumer choice 

For retailers, one of the keys to success is giving customers choice in how they pay, allowing them to choose the option that meets their needs in terms of speed, convenience, accessibility and security, he adds. Retailers should ensure that shoppers can transact safely and conveniently in-store, whether they want to use cards, cash or a digital wallet.

Although there is a perception that cash acceptance is expensive, the reality is that the costs of handling and securing cash compare favourably with accepting card payments, says Templemore-Walters. Retailers can further reduce cash costs by automating cash management. Today’s solutions save time and money by eliminating manual reconciliations and banking, and counting and double-count supervision.

“Automated cash handling solutions have become an essential component of a successful retail store,”  Templemore-Walters adds. “Smart, robust cash vaults enriched with fintech solutions can demonstrate tangible cost savings to the retailer’s balance sheet. Automated cash handling can deliver a saving of up to 40% in time and money.”

Automation saves time and money 

Market leaders such as Cash Connect, a member of the Connect Group, offer automated cash management and payment solutions as part of a wider portfolio of fintech solutions. Retailers can Click & Borrow to access working capital in just 24 hours. If they have a Cash Connect retail vault, repayments are deducted in small daily instalments straight from cash in the vault to limit the impact on cashflow.

“In today’s challenging retail environment, retailers need to exploit the latest tools and technologies to improve cash flow and efficiencies,” says Templemore-Walters. “Automating cash management is a quick win because it enable companies to protect cash, increase business efficiency and save money at the same time.”

*BCG research

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