Goodbye cash, hello contactless: how merchants can keep pace with consumers


Covid has been a rollercoaster for all businesses, especially those in the hair and beauty industry. Salons were forced to open and close at all times, then rushed to work out next steps.

When New South Wales ended its last lockdown, Melanie De Sylva, founder of De Sylva Hair Design in Sydney, recalls how relieved her loyal clientele was to see her again – especially when some had suffered the consequences cutting or coloring their own hair.

“By the time we came out of lockdown, customers were desperate to see us!” she remembers.

“We’ve heard so many funny hair stories. Someone had cut her bangs a little too short, while other customers were on YouTube how to cut their hair, but soon realized it just wasn’t possible. Someone’s husband thought he was Vidal Sassoon and started layering the back of someone’s hair. It was hilarious. It just meant that we were much more wanted than before.

De Sylva soon discovered that the hairstyles weren’t the only thing that changed when they came out of confinement.

Covid has had a lasting impact on consumer behavior and expectations of the physical shopping experience have changed. While many are once again appreciating the idea of ​​human connection and the physical retail experience, there are still hesitations about the safety of in-store purchases. Most retailers responded quickly, with disinfection units and social distancing floor stickers the new normal in stores.

Cash usage has also dropped significantly, with more and more customers opting for contactless payments.

“When I started the business, 90% of customers paid cash or check, but you don’t see a checkbook anymore. Hardly anyone used a credit card or Eftpos back then, whereas now it’s quite the opposite,” notes De Sylva. “Since Covid, some people have a reluctance to use cash. They all want to use their card. Covid has changed things.

Even before the pandemic, customers were dropping cash. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s consumer payments survey, cash fell from 69% of transactions in 2007 to 27% in 2019.

Contactless payments reduce administrative tasks for staff

The benefits of contactless payments go beyond providing customers with a more secure option. Thanks to the salon’s new Eftpos Now terminal, it also means De Sylva’s team can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time tending to clients’ hair.

“Before, you had to fill in a deposit book and then go to the bank to deposit the money. Everything took so much longer,” recalls De Sylva.

“Now you can do everything at the salon without leaving the company, so you can work on your lists, control inventory, promotions or take care of your staff. You don’t have to spend that extra admin time because it’s already done for you!

Quick and easy to use

While some older customers may be more accustomed to using cash, De Sylva has found that many customers have embraced the quick and easy nature of contactless payments.

“Customers are looking for fast, easy-to-use services and staff are also looking for easy-to-use systems. It has changed a lot over the years. It’s reliable, it’s up-to-date technology with a fast touchscreen. It’s friendly,” she says.

“When there are a lot of people in the salon, it’s so easy to make payment and bring the machine to the customer, with the ability to email receipts as well. They don’t even have to get up from their seats. Everything is under control before they get up and come to reception. »

Melanie added that implementing the Eftpos Now terminals was also a very smooth process for the company and the team was quick to get started.

“It was super easy and when I had to call [Westpac] because I forgot how to make a payment over the phone, the staff was super friendly and really helpful,” she says.

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