While most of my posts have been focused on digital marketing and sales, a team of colleagues has been deeply focusing on the coming digital payment revolution. Having just gone to Europe, I was shocked by how many of the interactions, even in a developed market, had to be done in cash. Digital cash has long been a fantasy of the digiterati, and the headlines generated by Bitcoin’s ups and down certainly reflect a broad interest in the topic. But there is tremendous value to be unlocked if we can get cash out of our society (e.g. the cost of handling, securing, and moving cash; tax compliance implications). Yes, there are many people who chafe at the notion of every transaction being traceable, but the value to consumers, businesses, and society adds up quickly. While predictions of a cashless society have floated around for years now, it does seem like a matter of “when” not “if.” Given that kind of inevitability, how should marketers think about it? Brands should consider encouraging card transactions, despite the merchant fees, in order to capture the right data, bring new value to the transaction (like a follow-up coupon or an enhanced credit offer), and enable much more streamlined customer payment experiences. The biggest transformation would happen if small businesses made the move to encourage non-cash payment. If the payment service providers could help them get new information, and make it easier for them to use that information to market to their customers, more small merchants would likely get on board. Instead of just charging for the convenience of offering a card payment option to customers, payment service providers can hold themselves to a higher bar for helping merchants activate the information they create in each transaction. When I think of my dry cleaner, who does not accept cards for transactions under $20, it seems like he is losing out on opportunities to bring back straying customers, or track the full impact of trial offers he sends to new movers. The bottom line is that every interaction should be an opportunity for an information exchange that a marketer can use to help the customer better in the future. Besides all of the societal benefits of payment digitization, the war on cash holds enormous promise for bringing new marketing capability to merchants of all kinds. What do you see as the full ramifications of a cashless society? Will it happen in your country? Learn more about this topic and others on the Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum site, and follow us on Twitter @McK_CMSOForum. And please follow me @davidedelman.
source: David Edelman