Years ago, predictions of a paperless society fluttered about the place like so much confetti. Today, the subject of predicted demise is cash—and retailers should take note.
Last September, payment tech behemoth Moneris published a report that said cash will account for just 10 percent of all purchases in Canada by 2030, with the balance made up by credit, debit and mobile-facilitated technology.
There are many who would predict that this development is already upon us.
Vancouver-based Kit and Ace’s 60-plus North American, British and Australian active apparel stores—founded in 2014 by family members of Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson—are pioneers on this front, with its two Vancouver shops celebrated for being among Canada’s first to go cashless.
They join the ranks of airlines (most in-flight merchandise and food sales are done without any cash changing hands), parking meters (the green P app is going gangbusters) and a whack of quick-serve retailers (McDonald’s Canada launched self-serve kiosks in 1,400 stores in late 2014) who’ve seen the wisdom of accelerating technologies that facilitate contactless transactions.
And why not? Consumers love it because it’s convenient, it saves them trips to the ATM, and it reduces the time and effort of a retail transaction.
Retailers, meanwhile, are fans of the cashless concept because it delivers an efficiency to their operations like nothing else. Better still, studies have demonstrated that people actually buy more when they’re not paying cash (a much-cited Dun & Bradstreet study found that people spend 12-18% more when using credit cards instead of cash, and McDonald’s has reported its average ticket is $7 when people use credit cards versus $4.50 for cash).
Finally, a cashless store doesn’t suffer the same risks of robbery and employee theft as one with stacks of bills fluttering about the place. And everybody’s wallets can get thinner, too.