It may seem like credit card processing fees are an unavoidable part of doing business today, but many people still prefer to make cash transactions. To thrive, merchants need to get creative about accepting cash for online purchases.
In this post, we take a look at why cash is still king when it comes to cutting operational expenses like credit card processing fees and why it still matters to your bottom line.
Digital payments can leave some people behind
One of last year’s most dramatic retail trends was the massive shift from shopping in stores to shopping online due to COVID-19. Thankfully, most of us discovered that it’s entirely possible to stay safely at home and buy almost everything we need or want using our laptop computers and cell phones.
At the height of the pandemic, businesses were highly motivated to facilitate e-commerce with safer last-mile fulfillment solutions like buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS). However, few considered the impact it would have on the way people pay for the things they purchase.
Not everyone has a credit card
In October 2020, The New York Times took a hard look at what happened when restaurants and stores stopped accepting cash due to Covid. They concluded that online ordering and electronic payments might be safer than in-person interactions, but “businesses that refuse cash put at a disadvantage people who lack traditional bank accounts or can’t qualify for credit cards.”
About 25% of Americans were “underbanked” in 2019. Many of them are less educated than other shoppers or part of minority groups that tend to earn lower wages, which can make it hard to get credit. For these consumers, cash is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank, despite the pandemic, consumers still used cash last year for 26% of all purchases and nearly half of all payments under $10. A business that chooses to serve diverse communities that prefer to use cash can have a significant advantage.
Can e-commerce and cash sales co-exist?
It takes some extra effort to fulfill online orders in person. But when you accept cash to complete online sales, your business avoids credit card processing, gateway payment (applied to most ecommerce transactions), and chargeback fees — as well as actual chargebacks if customers dispute a charge.
Here are three steps to help you complete any sale so you can serve the largest possible number of customers:
1. Establish a physical presence.
First, you need the ability to accept cash in person. That means, in addition to your online presence, you need a place to conduct physical transactions. A walk-in customer convenience center allows your customers to order products online, pick them up the same day, and pay however they want.
2. Make cash sales more desirable to customers.
Offer incentives for paying cash while shopping with you. For example, offer your customers a discount on cash purchases — a discount that is less than what those credit card processing fees would cost you.
3. Provide great customer service that encourages cash purchases.
In an increasingly competitive omnichannel environment, it pays to provide superior customer service. Small steps — like having bilingual customer service representatives — can be a big bonus for your customers. Your offering stands out when reps can help communicate the many benefits of picking up products at a convenient local sales center (e.g., same-day pick-up) and also remind buyers that they’re welcome to pay with cash.
How CURA Resource Group Can Help
It stands to reason that if you can’t accept cash, you’ll pay more in credit card fees. A local sales center gives you the ability to provide better customer service to more people while accepting cash payments to lower your operating costs.
Contact us today to find out how CURA Resource Group can help you build a high-volume neighborhood sales center staffed by professional multi-lingual representatives to welcome every kind of buyer.