With the advent of technological innovations, including dedicated servers and cloud hosting, businesses of all shapes and sizes are shifting to a more digital way of working. From international companies to locally owned small businesses, the landscape of how business is done has been gradually changing for some time now.
One of the most significant changes—hastened by the global pandemic where contactless payments gained traction—is the switch from cash-in-hand transactions to cashless. In the UK, for example, the volume of cash being used has dropped by an astonishing 60%—and the trend seems set to continue.
As cashless culture becomes more readily available thanks to features like contactless pay becoming commonplace, now is the best time to get your business ready for these changes.
Here are 5 things entrepreneurs need to do now to prepare for a cashless future.
1. Spread the word about cashless payments
There’s nothing worse than walking into your favorite coffee shop, only to realize it doesn’t accept cash and you don’t have your bank card. Such small moments can severely tarnish your brand reputation.
It’s vital to keep customers well informed of any changes you make or plan for your business, including the transition to cashless. Post signs and share information on social media to inform customers of upcoming changes so that they can prepare for the update.
2. Understand customer payment preferences
There are multiple methods for cashless payments, so be sure to facilitate the ideal payment channels for your customer base. As an entrepreneur, familiarize yourself with your customers’ preferences and habits, including how they pay for things.
Although credit and debit cards are the gold standard for cashless, emerging technologies such as e-wallets, Google Wallet and Apple Pay have seen a quick uptake in recent times. Try to assess which methods are best suited to your business and, more importantly, your customers.
3. Encourage contactless payments with a rewards scheme
From a 10 percent discount to a free coffee after six purchases, rewards schemes and loyalty programs are an excellent way to encourage business. You can adopt that framework to encourage cashless payments, too.
The standard setup for rewarding customer behavior is to offer greater rewards for repeat business. By providing those same rewards for cashless transactions, you will encourage customers to go cashless more readily. This can also reinforce the safety, security and usefulness of cashless transactions for your customers.
4. Create a more secure framework for payments
Cashless systems for business bring the additional risk of cybercrime, so it’s vital that you set up a secure system for cashless payments. As cash-free payments grow in popularity, they’ve become a much more lucrative target for criminals. This means things like fraud and hacking are a new risk for many entrepreneurs.
Thankfully, contactless payment is an extremely secure payment method that features multiple layers of security to deter theft or fraud. Tokenization of contactless payments ensures that all transactions are secure and safe from possible fraud. Modern credit cards are also encrypted, offering additional security for a cashless business.
Entrepreneurs must ensure that your customers and business are secure when handling cashless transactions. In order for the system to work effectively, business owners and customers both need to trust that cashless payments are safe and secure to use.
5. Cover all bases with different payment options
To accommodate the broadest range of customers, set up your payment system to accept the gamut of cashless payment methods. This will empower you to maximize sales, and you’ll never have to turn away business due to the wrong payment type.
As mentioned, Google Wallet and Apple Pay are regularly used—but also consider other payment methods available, including PayPal and Venmo. Offering multiple payment methods not only increases sales, it also boosts your brand image and heightens your company’s credibility. This, in turn, can draw in more customers and retain repeat business—provided cashless transactions have been set up effectively.
Preparing now for a cashless future can help entrepreneurs hit the ground running and promote a beneficial service for customers as payment protocols continue to evolve.
Contributed to EO by By Ross Hansen, digital media consultant, and principal of Hansen Ross Media.