Even in this age of innovation and technology, many small-business owners still see an influx of “unbanked” customers in their stores. Unbanked customers don’t rely on debit or credit cards and make all of their purchase with cash. This may be good news for some merchants because cash customers provide a simple and instant income stream for their businesses.
This is why it’s important to keep your cash customers happy and that they see perks in spending their money at your store.
Here are six ways merchants can keep their unbanked customers happy:
Gas station owners and other merchants can offer discounts for using cash in their businesses. In some instances, gas customers who pay with cash can trim about 2 percent off of their total bill. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, a Virginia-based trade group, cash customers can save about 5 cents per gallon. That savings will definitely make them smile!
Merchants can explore installing an ATM inside their store to make it easier for “underbanked” customers to access money to shop. Underbanked customers have a checking or savings account, but rarely use them.
If you send customers down the street (or worse) to another store or bank branch to withdraw cash, it may result in a loss of business. Easy access to an ATM will be for customers who don’t carry a lot of cash from day to day.
ATM ownership allows you to set your surcharge fees for ATM users. This allows merchants to have the option of waiving surcharge fees, which helps your cash customers save a little bit of money and encourages people to patronize your store.
Perhaps there is room inside your store for a small retailer or entrepreneur who sells goods or services at a discount for your cash customers. Business partnerships can make your store into a one-stop shopping location. If the products and services are popular, this can be beneficial and convenient for your customers.
Small business partnerships also are a way to help local business owners to be successful and generate commerce in your community.
Some businesses implement loyalty programs that reward customers for their patronage. Merchants can implement programs that benefit their cash customers with reward cards or punch card programs. These allow customers to get a free item or discounts after five or 10 purchases for example. Loyalty programs are attractive to repeat customers and motivate them to come back to your store more often. These programs also can grow your business by word of mouth from your happy patrons.
Merchants may also consider allowing a community organization or charitable group, such as a local Girl Scout troop, to set up a fundraiser inside their store. This gesture helps charities to connect with your cash customers, and allows everyone to play a small part in neighborhood improvement through donations. Supporting a charitable group also shows your customers that you desire to help their community. Although community efforts don’t directly benefit unbanked customers, it does create an avenue to support their neighborhood as a whole.
You may also consider creating other in-store promotions or limited-time offers that increase engagement with your customers. These promotions can involve various advertising methods that draw foot traffic into your business or cash sales of popular products.
Examples of in-store promotions may include:
Bundled service promotions
Chances to win a drawing
Partnerships with other businesses
Ideally, promotions will build brand awareness for your store while also benefiting your cash customers.
Finding new ways to help and attract unbanked customers may take some effort and a little creativity. But it may be worth the effort in the long run. Some of these ideas are simple for merchants to implement, save money for your cash customers and also boost interest in your store.