Tech helping solve societal problems

PayPoint till

While store technology is most often implemented to grow sales and profits, many recent tech developments have helped tackle important societal challenges – with retailers on the front line as ever, helping communities across Scotland thrive.

As has been widely accepted, the last 18 months have helped massively accelerate the implementation of new in-store tech solutions in local retailing outlets across Scotland. In a tech sense, the sector has probably advanced a decade in the space of 18 months. Most of the new solutions are, of course, aimed at growing sales and profits. Home delivery apps, in-store scan & go solutions and contactless ordering apps have all helped retailers grow their businesses – but we should never forget that they have also enhanced the customer experience and provided vital new services for shoppers struggling under the weight of a global pandemic.

Yes, the sector has benefitted financially – but why shouldn’t we, when we are giving shoppers what they want and need, and often can’t find anywhere else?

A great example of this is the recent rollout of PayPoint’s Counter Cash Service which lets shoppers withdraw up to £50 for free at any participating PayPoint retailer. They can even take out however much they want, rather than just increments of £10. Want £23.43? No problem.

Additionally, retailers earn commission on every transaction they process – including withdrawals and balance enquiries – and they save on banking charges by recycling cash they take in for PayPoint services. All of this for offering a vital, high profile service to their local community.

The national rollout of the Counter Cash from 1 November is prioritising areas where access to cash has become increasingly challenging for local communities. Look at the table below to see how reliant many counties in Scotland are on cash.

County Cash Reliance Score
  • Lanarkshire 64%
  • Midlothian 63%
  • Renfrewshire 63%
  • Stirlingshire 62%
  • Fife 61%
  • West Lothian 59%
  • Aberdeenshire 54%

The initiative follows PayPoint research into the most cash reliant areas of the UK, which combined PayPoint sales data, and looked at cash as an overall percentage of transactions in its network of 28,000 UK stores over the 2020/21 financial year. The vast majority of the 48 UK counties included in the study (43) had an overall cash reliance score of more than 50%. In other words, cash remains vital.

With banks closing at an alarming rate and ATMs a constant source of grief for local retailers, this solution could be ideal for many.

Imran Hamid, who runs a store in Dennyloanhead, was part of the Counter Cash trial. Here’s what he said: “Denny is a town where we used to have TSB, a Royal Bank of Scotland, a Bank of Scotland, a Clydesdale Bank and now they’ve all shut. I think it’s just a community thing where we try to help and give back something.

“We’ve also got people who are on benefits here and they want access to their cash. That’s another good thing about this – they can withdraw anything from a penny to £50. If someone on benefits has only got £3.50 left in their bank account and they want that £3.50, I can give it to them and it’s not going to cost them anything.”

The power of tech is only beginning to be appreciated, but it’s always great to see that doing good is good for business.