Growing a small business in the cashless economy - Leafe's Gift and Crafts.

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Creating a modern digital business in a small country town has it challenges as the owners of Leafe’s Gifts and Crafts, Peter and Dylan have discovered.

The business sells gifts such as soap, candles, incense and aromatherapy online and at weekend markets in Dubbo and Wellington. Many of their older customers prefer to buy in person at the markets and pay cash, rather than shop online.

“I love our friendly stallholders and contributing to my community,” Peter says. 

But having a cash only business meant Peter and Dylan would spend hours counting their earnings and depositing it in the bank, occasionally turning away customers if they couldn’t pay cash.

To ensure the business continued to grow and attract new customers, Peter decided to implement of point of sale (POS) system with a card reader to offer customers tap and go and cashless payment options, and reducing the time spent on manually reconciling stock and sales.

The POS system integrates with their business bank accounts and accounting system which has the added benefit of automating its inventory and sales reconciliation.

“The new system makes customer payments a lot easier and we don’t need to go to the bank as often,” Peter says.

Card payments affect can affect the bottom line

  • The time staff spend cashing up, banking and performing manual reconciliation is reduced by two hours a day.
  • Peter and Dylan are saving hundreds of dollars and have more time to invest in sourcing stock, marketing and planning for their business.  
  • Leafe’s Gifts and Crafts will pay more in merchant card payment fees but less in bank deposit fees.
  • By offering multiple payment options the business attracts cashless customers, increasing sales.  
  • Storing and carrying cash has a higher risk of theft or loss.

What to consider when choosing payment options

  • What are your customer’s preferences? Choose payment options that reflect their needs and support the type of service you would like to offer them.
  • Card services rely on electricity and telecommunications. If you’re working in rural areas with weak internet connection, consider using an internet booster. 
  • EFTPOS and credit card providers charge service fees and banks may charge for transactions and deposits.
  • Consider the upfront costs of hardware such as pay as you go terminals and EFTPOS machines.
  • What other systems do you use? Consider POS systems that integrate with your accounting and inventory software.

Providers of card payment services

There are numerous providers of POS systems and card payment services. Different fees and charges apply to each payment option so it’s important to shop around and see what’s right for your business.

  1. Using an EFTPOS terminal

Many banks offer EFTPOS terminals to merchants for a monthly fee and/or a transaction fee. You may need a business account with the bank as well.

  1. Using your phone to accept payments

Apps and payment services like Stripe, Square and PayPal allow you to use your phone as a portable cash register. These apps also take a transaction fee of each sale. Services like Square and PayPal also have options that provide a card reader as an alternative to your phone or an EFTPOS machine.

For more information on POS systems for your business, speak to your accountant, bookkeeper or trusted advisor.

Trends in the spending habits of Australians

Australia ranks as the sixth most cashless economy in the world.

Tap and go, online shopping and Apple pay have all contributed to a drop in cash spending.

In 2016, 37 per cent of payments were made in cash compared to 69 per cent a decade ago.