Procurement · 21 November 2017

Cash-only businesses are risking sales and shopper loyalty this Christmas

Almost six in ten consumers prefer to do their Christmas shopping at independent retailers
Almost six in ten consumers prefer to do their Christmas shopping at independent retailers

Cash-only businesses could be about to forfeit sales of £2bn in the month leading to Christmas this year, but the potentially permanent loss of custom might cause greater concern.

After polling over 1,000 British consumers, Paymentsense found that almost half would walk out of an independent café, restaurant or retailer if electronic payment methods were not available. More worryingly, one in four would never return to an outlet if it was cash only.

According to the findings, UK shoppers spend on average around £135 each month in independent establishments. With 80 per cent of respondents owning a contactless card, and the high walk-out rate, archaic payment options could create a sales black hole of £2bn.

The message hit hardest for London’s independent retailers. Capital residents were spending almost £100 more a month in local establishments than the national average, but were more likely to walk out of a cash-only business.

Read more: In-store technology the key to high street success this Christmas

Past research has shown that shoppers equate in-store technology with the type of convenience they find online, with hand-written receipts a further indicator of a business lagging behind expectations. Meanwhile, small business owners investing in payment technology have benefited from the raised payment ceiling of £30, and a majority of UK retailers have backed lifting the limit further to £50.

The latest study confirms that cash-only businesses reluctant to meet the expectations of consumers risk both sales in the short term, but also the permanent loss of custom.

Commenting on the research, Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense said : “Contactless card payment is fast becoming the norm, with our research showing that most consumers now use credit and debit cards. Shoppers now expect to use them almost everywhere – both in a traditional or contactless manner.

“As well as the significant revenue loss, our study suggests that smaller retailers and cafes who don’t yet take card or contactless payments, could permanently lose every fourth customer, which would be a particularly difficult blow at this busy time of year,” he added.

Researchers were able to calculate how much shoppers were spending on their cards with small businesses in different UK cities each month

Highest city average card spend

London            £229.74

Oxford             £173.33

Leeds              £158.44

Nottingham      £151.85

Manchester     £136.19

Lowest city average card spend

Belfast             £59.09

Sheffield          £65.53

Cardiff             £65.93

Aberdeen        £70.59

Glasgow          £70.93

Books, vinyl and DVDs are set to top eBay buyers’ Christmas wish lists

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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