As we head into February, I’d like to take the opportunity to look ahead and to discuss what the world of cash management might have in store for us all this year. Fresh off the plane from NRF, I thought I’d share some of the stand-out trends from the show, and my predictions around what’s likely to be topping the agenda for your businesses in 2016.
You may have already seen news around the payment landscape in 2016 particularly around both mobile payments, and more recently, wearable payment technologies. But despite the hype surrounding these alternative payment methods, a number of studies are showing that cash still makes up a significant percentage of all payments.
Just last week, we highlighted a great report by Cardtronics showing that 4 out of 5 consumers still prefer to pay in cash in a variety of different situations. This means that even in the age of mobile payments, cash management is still an important topic for businesses to consider, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
As businesses continue to invest a large amount of time, resource and money into increasingly innovative payment solutions, ensuring that you have a watertight cash management programme is now more important than ever.
Below then are the three of the most important considerations making their way to the top of the agenda for 2016.
- Polymer: Polymer bills are fast becoming a global issue. With clear benefits over paper or cotton substrates in terms of durability, plus the ability to add more innovative security features; it won’t be long until other countries consider following the lead of those who have already made the switch. In 2016, the UK will see its first polymer bill introduced into circulation, with other denominations set to follow in the subsequent years. For many businesses both those who operate in, or supply to the UK this could mean expensive hardware or even software updates to help process the notes. Cash counting, recycling, and sorting equipment will need to be updated to accommodate the new size, thickness and texture of the bills. Whether you’re a retailer or a cash equipment manufacturer, preparing your business for the introduction of polymer should be a priority for 2016.
- Reducing shrinkage: If you haven’t seen the results of the Global Retail Theft Barometer yet, you need to. The research by The Smart Cube and Checkpoint Systems caused a media frenzy late last year as it revealed that shrinkage increased to a staggering $123bn across the retail industry in 2014/2015. Even more surprising perhaps was that the leading cause of shrinkage in the U.S (and a number of other countries) was in fact employee theft. In total, dishonest employees cost their employers $48bn last year. Worse still, this number is predicted to rise. While, this study focused on the retail sector in particular, it’s clear that shrink and in turn cash loss is a problem for many businesses regardless of their industry. And, as more businesses seek to offset the costs of implementing costly alternative payment solutions by tightening up cash management processes, reducing both shrink and cash loss will be a focus for many. In 2016 this will be aided in part by new developments in cash management technology. Which, rather fittingly, leads me on to my next point
- Intelligent cash drawers: Granted, I may have a vested interest in the world of intelligent cash drawers, but, that aside, it’s clear that I’m not the only one that believes that intelligent cash drawers are one of the most exciting developments in the world of cash management for years.
Everyone from global retail giants, to small convenience stores are enthusiastic about the benefits of using intelligent cash drawers. With promises such as reduced (and almost eradicated) cash losses, greater visibility for management and accountability for cashiers, it’s clear to see why. Plus, with a relatively small upfront cost, and potentially vast return on investment, intelligent cash drawers could be a viable solution for everyone from SMEs to huge global conglomerates. If investing in an intelligent cash drawer isn’t on your agenda for 2016 yet, now’s the time to reconsider.
It’s clear then that despite the continuous advancement in payment technology solutions, cash management is still a hugely important consideration for businesses, especially in 2016. Heading up the agenda for the next twelve months will be discussions around eliminating cash loss and the technology required to do so. Plus, for those operating in the UK, the introduction of polymer will require some serious attention. Given the clear security advantages of polymer, countries who are yet to make the switch to plastic bills should also be prepared for the distinct possibility that they too will need to be polymer ready in the not so distant future. An awareness of the implications now could help make any future transition relatively painless.
But what do you think the most important considerations for 2016 will be? Is your business looking to reduce losses, improve security or streamline processes?
Want to learn more about streamlining your cash management? Download our insider’s guide to counting cash by weight.