A recent Daily Mail article has heralded what we’ve probably all expected for a while – the beginning of the end for cash transactions in supermarket sales. The store attracting attention is a business branch of Waitrose, based in the London headquarters of the media giant, Sky.
The branch accepts no cash sales in the shop, which provides purely self-service checkouts that handle only electronic transactions.
For a while, now Apple Stores and other big eCommerce brands have been developing increasingly inventive ways to encourage electronic interaction in the physical world, attempting to close the gap between the physical and virtual shopping experience. But the introduction of a cash-free supermarket is likely to send a particularly strong message to consumers. While cash is unlikely to drift completely out of the picture for a few decades yet, a cashless supermarket represents a major step in ushering consumers towards purely electronic transactions.
The worldwide trend towards electronic purchasing is about making transactions slicker, quicker, and less cumbersome than when handling notes and coins. Money in the form of cash needs physical transportation, gets worn out, mislaid, and needs replacing regularly. In our fast-moving world, it all seems a bit old-fashioned. Electronic payments aren’t without potential hazards though. Electronic fraud is a consideration; the Waitrose store will apparently limit daily amounts spent with contactless cards and smartphone apps to try to cut down on that risk.
In truth, this store is comparatively small fry. We’re not talking about a full-sized department store or even a supermarket trading with the general public. This is a small-scale outlet selling convenience foods and items Sky employees might want during the course of an ordinary day. Having no option for cash payment may barely register to that demographic; busy lunchtime workers are used to optimising their behaviour for speed and convenience. But on a wider scale, perhaps supermarkets are the ones to watch when we’re considering the demise of cash transactions. As the familiar domestic retailers start to dispense with notes and coins, homes and families will be affected. That will be the telling moment.
What is certain is that cashless spending is the direction we’re heading in, a trend that is sure to make Magento eCommerce selling an increasingly everyday experience.