Cash as a Service Opportunity
It is not going away - that much is now sure
Now in this new era, retailers are beginning to move from looking at cash as cost of business to a customer service tool. The newly combined companies of APG and Cash Bases are engaging retailers and channel partners to allow the greatest opportunities to capitalize on this realization.
Andrew Carr, who joined APG at the end of 2016 to run the European division, explained the benefits this way, “The companies of APG in Minneapolis fused with Cash Bases in 2015 and this has provided a real opportunity to take the best out of each company going forward. Cash Bases is exceptionally successful at bespoke solutions and invested immensely in new technologies. The results of this close relationship with retailers and innovation can be seen in the success of our smart cash handling product line and the Smart till Intelligent Cash Drawer. APG is much more focused on providing a broad range of very high quality products but still offering short delivery times.” This can be seen clearly through the product pallet of Apg who, despite being based in the United States, was offering a full range of plug-and-play cash drawer solutions to the European market long before the merger with Cash Bases was being considered.
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When asked which culture is winning over the combined company Andrew rejected making such a determination, “It is not so much a question of A or B, but rather we are providing both going forward. You never lose those deep relationships through bespoke projects and to this we are bringing in the very successful culture of APG’s attention to distributers.” There is a plan now being implemented to complete this as Andrew explains, “Concretely, we are doing two things: we are making a strong investment in manufacturing in Europe and we are introducing a very clear and price positive platform to our distribution partners. We noticed that many partners in Europe were sitting on too much stock. Becoming more agile in our manufacturing and order fulfillment will really open them up a greater potential to serve the customer with the best solution to assure their end customers’ satisfaction. We are determined to further become the industry enabler with whom our partners can reach their fullest potential.”
Stephen Bergeron, VP of Global Marketing for APG Cash Drawer, further details what intelligent cash handling - whereby individual notes and coins entering and leaving the cash drawer and registered by the change in weight of each individual coin tray - offers to retailers, “Now we are entering an era where retailers know that they stand to gain a significant competitive advantage from next-level cash handling. Retailers are coming to us and our channel partners are looking at cash handling not in terms of only security and lowering its cost to daily operations, but now as something to leverage to improve the customer experience.”
When asked to explain how the simple act of a cash payment improves the customer experience, Stephen presented a few compelling real life situations: “The cashier is usually the most important human contact and the last a shopper encounters before they walk out that door. If we enable cashiers, the customer benefits through a calmer, efficient and happy experience.” A mistake in the cash exchange or apprehension of the evening till count is a major drawback of the cashiering. Another benefit to the experience is having an insert which is well supplied from a store manager with the correct coinage. “With the Smart till Technology, back office systems call alert managers when coinage is getting low so that the customer is assured they are receiving only the notes and coins in change they should be.” Finally, smart cash handling allows an entire floor team to be much more dynamic as Stephen explains, “The Smart till Solution allows lane accountability. Since every transaction is recorded and is accurate, you can exchange the cashier at any time without them being tied to their insert. At the end of the day, you have a single insert used by an unlimited number of people and it is always accurate.”
Many back-office benefits of the Smart till technology are more obvious as Stephen confirms, “This part is easy to understand. With the Smart till Solution installed, a store can cut the time the entire workforce spends handling cash by hours per day. No more counting, no more asking if a till is full of correct coinage, no more carrying around an insert for each shift. Additionally, some retailers we speak to have ‘a-ha’ moments when they realise that they will need much smaller floats, many fewer individual cassettes and generally, dramatically less dead cash laying around every night.” reports Bergeron.
He has also been surprised where the Smart till Solution has seen its successes. “This solution really has its sweet spot in high volume, lower price per item retail like hypermarket grocery. However, there are others who benefit; we have a baker in Germany who continues to expand with multiple locations. He has relayed to us what the Smart till technology offers him as an independent owner/operator: an end to the micromanagement of cash at his multiple locations and peace of mind knowing his customers are being shown the best face of his staff who are now free from the stress of the payment process.”