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Are Cashless Shops The Latest Retail Trend In The U.K.?

Have you ever thought about what life would be like without cash? No banknotes in your wallet, no more ATM withdrawals, and no loose change around the house. Though this idea might sound farfetched, cashless shops and societies may become a reality sooner than we believe. The idea of using no money to pay for goods and services is not new. Cash has been coming in and out of use several times in the past. In this article, we examine the global trend of quickly adopting cashless shops. We will also explore how this fundamental change may affect our lives and whether benefits and concerns come in equal measure. 

Brief History Of Retail Shopping 

As human existence stretches back in the past, people have been bartering, sharing, selling, and buying resources. Traces of commerce date back to ancient times when cows and sheep got traded in 9000 BC. The first retail stores appeared in 800 BC in ancient Greece. Commerce developed as a result of markets with merchants selling and people coming to procure. 

Fast forward to more recent times, local merchants kept the retail sector in motion before the 1800s. These traders offered various services, including credit, repairs, and products. Customers could either buy from company-owned stores or commissioned agents.  

Thanks to the vision of one Parisian retailer in the early 19th century, the first department store emerged. Le Bon Marche featured the latest fashions and accessories in a mesmerizing setting. U.S. retailers quickly adopted this layout, and large downtown department stores in city centers dominated the retail industry. 

About half a century ago, discount department stores and shopping malls came into existence. Cheaper prices, self-service stores with long check-out lines, endless isles of produce became the norm. 

The Internet impacted the retail industry drastically. Shoppers today have nearly unlimited access to a vast assortment of products. Plus, shopping is no longer restricted to a physical location or store hours. With a few clicks, you can compare prices, buy, and get goods fast and efficiently. Hence, traditional retailers must be quick and adjust to new digital and cashless shops. 

Retail Shopping Payment Methods Through Time 

The first proper currency appeared back in 5000 BC in Mesopotamia. In various parts of the world, people used beads, shells, and ingots to buy goods and services. Later, the use of lead, copper, silver, and gold coins escalated. People preferred coins because they were easy to carry, durable, and of value.  

Paper money came a bit later in China, and their use became official in 812. The era of credit cards started in 1914 with the loyalty card of Western Union. Later, banks began to offer credit cards as a payment solution. 

With the arrival of the Internet in 1990, people could enjoy cashless shops. The introduction of new technologies enabled innovative payment methods such as e-wallets and online payment services soon followed. 

The idea of creating a decentralized type of currency came at the end of the last century. However, it was not until 2009 when the first cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) came to light and stimulated the growth of cashless shops. 

Global Retail Switches To Cashless 

COVID-19 has spurred consumers to ditch cash and in-person shopping. Following the pandemic, cashless shops became the new reality as record numbers of people, particularly younger ones, have adopted the trend. Online sales hit record figures in China in 2019, making e-commerce transactions and mobile cashless payments predominant. 

Thanks to the convenience they offer, cashless shops and electronic payments see unprecedented success. Digital payments transformed our economy and society to unrecognition. The real-time availability of products 24 hours a day and contactless payments have changed traditional shopping behavior. 

Rapid Adoption Of Cashless Payment Technology In The U.K. 

The global pandemic stimulated the adoption of electronic payment to help prevent the spread of the virus. Thanks to online banking, contactless payment, and instant payment devices, cashless shops are here to stay. 

By 2019, cash accounted for only 23% of all payments in the U.K. Experts predict that digital financial transactions will grow by 12.8%, while mobile POS payments by 22% a year. Undoubtedly, British society is adjusting rapidly to the new trend, and more people are switching to e-payments.    

Pros And Cons Of Cashless Shops 

Changes in consumer behavior and the dominance of new technology have inherent benefits and downsides. Let’s take a closer look at what seems to be of vital importance.  

Hygiene 
Physical cash is responsible for the transmission of infections. Handling money has proven to be detrimental to our health, and pin pads also contain germs. Hence, contactless transactions and cashless shops are the only way out.  

Financial Crime 
Digital financial transactions will make it harder for criminals to hide money. Robberies, thefts, and counterfeit notes might also become a thing of the past. Still, cybercrime and data mining are global issues. Protecting finances and data from scammers and hackers must become imperative for businesses and consumers. 

Budgeting 
People find it easier to monitor their spending with digitally recorded monetary transactions. However, cashless shops make it easy to swipe, tap or click without seeing your money disappear physically. 

Travel 
In a ‘contactless’ world, traveling will become cheaper and safer with cashless shops. In short, there will be no need to exchange currencies and pay fees. Instead, multi-currency apps will do the hard work for us. 

Non-inclusion 
Youngsters have eagerly adopted contactless payment, but for the poor and elderly, moving to 100% cashless shops could have devastating consequences. Many British people don’t use their bank’s online services or manage money at local branches. 

Choose Elly For A Smooth Transition To Cashless 

As the world rapidly embraces cashless shops, Elly offers plausible solutions for both consumers and retailers. Their tools integrate all available payment methods and other POS services. Elly’s mission is to streamline the switch to contactless for companies and shoppers by creating a global POS platform. 

For cashless shops, these solutions allow monitoring and management of all transactions. Users can make all transfers on one device, including cards, crypto, and digital.