A Dublin city coffee shop has become one of the first businesses of its kind to ditch the cash and offer its customers a 100pc cashless service.
Bear Market coffee shop in George’s Street has teamed up with Magnet Networks to offer its customers a completely cashless experience. Coffee lovers can now ditch the coins and the notes in favour of a simple tap-and-go purchase when they pick up a flat white or an americano.
The George’s Street outlet is one of four Bear Market stores established by husband and wife team, Ruth and Stephen Deasy. They first considered the cashless option three years ago, when they came across similar operations in New York.
The couple immediately loved the concept but they had to wait for the technology and consumer habits in Ireland to catch up and make it a viable business option.
“At the time, it just struck us as pure simplicity,” explains Stephen. “It was so streamlined.
“When we came back to Ireland with it, Ireland just wasn’t ready for it at the time. The technology wasn’t quite there. The card fees were quite high, and most shops were doing a minimum order on cards of maybe €5 or €10. It just wasn’t the right time.”
Prohibitive transaction charges and the lack of contactless technology made it impractical at the time but they noticed a palpable shift in customer habits in recent years.
“Once the contactless technology arrived, it just started making sense,” says Stephen. “Gradually over the last year or two, the amount of people using contactless has just gone up and up and up. It’s far and away our most popular method of payment now. We said once that got to the 80pc mark, we’d look at doing it.”
The reaction from customers has been overwhelming positive since the George’s Street store made the change.
The advantages of a cashless business
The businesses advantages are obvious, both from a retailer and customer point of view.
The lack of cash on the premises reduces the risk to staff, there’s no need for staff to do a count in the morning and evening, and you don’t need to reconcile the accounts. It also eliminates the chances of there being a discrepancy between the cash takings and the point of sale.
For customers, there’s no longer the need to carry cash and it makes for a smoother payment process.
“From the customer perspective, it’s all about the speed and efficiency. It’s very easy to just tap the card.”
The reaction from customers has been “all positive” since the cashless service has been introduced, Stephen adds.
“In George’s Street, it’s been brilliant. We’ve had customers from other shops asking about it and saying it’s a great idea.”
Driving the change with technology
The change to cashless transactions was facilitated by Bear Market’s new partnership with Magnet Networks, which helps to overcome any technical obstacles.
“When we first looked at it, one of the concerns was that you can’t have the internet dropping off,” recalls Stephen. “You can’t lose your connectivity or you’ve lost your sale. That’s why we went and spoke to Magnet Network about it.
“What Magnet Networks have done is provide two dedicated lines coming into the building so we’ve one over air and one fibre hard line coming in. If one goes down, you’ve got the other one to back it up so it should never really go down.”
Getting security right was also vital when considering a cashless approach and one of the most important considerations was having a secure, reliable system that provided peace of mind.
“One of the big things we wanted to look at was the security side. With Magnet Networks, it’s a dedicated security firewall in place. We wouldn’t have that with traditional internet suppliers. We would need to have our own firewall in place. If there’s any issues, Magnet see it happening straightaway and they can react to it. It’s peace of mind for us.”
Magnet Networks adopted a multi-layered solution based on technical diversity, which meant ensuring seamless connectivity for both the shop and the customer at all times through a fibre hard line and wireless connectivity.
“When Stephen and Ruth contacted us, their key goal was customer experience,” explains Magnet Networks Ireland Managing Director, Stephen Brewer.
“We start with connectivity, then we layer security on it, then we layer wireless on it. So it’s basically giving a company the most secure environment they can have and then the wireless customer experience is also a key factor in the retail environment.
“From a security perspective, we have a dedicated wireless circuit just for customers so it’s separate from the wireless that serves the shop. Security is huge because it has to be. From a wireless perspective, you also want to make sure that the guest WiFi has the capacity for the customer experience that Bear Market wants to deliver.”
Magnet Networks also provided the café with Magnet Voice, an app-based landline service that allows it to communicate between stores and receive calls through the app using a mobile phone. It’s also a cloud-based phone service that offers reporting on inbound and outbound calls and allows Bear Market’s other stores to field calls when one site is busy.
Modern retail businesses are increasingly attributing a value to connectivity and investing in it, even if they aren’t choosing to go down the cashless route. For a cashless business like Bear Market, Magnet Network’s multi-layered solution has everything that they needed.
The future may well be cashless but it will only work if retailers have the connectivity to serve up a seamless customer service.
Technology is key to the operation of a cashless enterprise, and Bear Market have partnered with Magnet Networks to provide a full retail solution which includes secure dedicated internet access, cloud voice and enterprise-class Wi-Fi.
Magnet Networks One Stop Retail solution is based on the elements of diverse connectivity and complete security.