The answer to the question in the heading above will almost certainly require a more detailed explanation than can be covered in this blog. However, the issues raised by the question are still valid for any business operating in these complex times.
It is not that I am necessarily against people and businesses which wish to live in a digital and cashless world, that is their right. The focus of this article is to highlight the pitfalls which occur in that world and to focus with an open mind on the issues of those who reserve the right to question the validity of the digital and cashless world.
After all, the focus of those which question the current status quo, is not always to necessarily to eliminate the concept of the digital and cashless world. Rather, it is to find a better and more profitable way for all stakeholders to engage in the desired concept of the digital and cashless world.
In simple terms for this blog therefore, these issues are presented for your consideration.
Forcing people into the digital and cashless world, is by its very nature a discriminatory act. This act is especially surprising when we know challenging discrimination, in all its forms today is one of the main focuses of today’s world. In addition, these other issue issues are also currently and constantly being brought to our attention today, and include:
- an increase of fraud and cybercrime in all its forms,
- the increase in the basic cost of living,
- the use of false statics and information about the effectiveness of technology and the cashless society,
- the inability of the advocates to actually consider other digital tools, and or, related solutions which may help people and businesses overcome their fear of the digital world, and which would help them protect their finances, etc.
The people and businesses now most affected by the focus on a digital and cashless world are:
- the aged, disadvantaged and mobility restricted,
- people bound by cultural issues,
- people with limited digital learning, experience, and access to digital tools,
- people involved in small businesses,
- people and businesses of all sizes based in regions where access to the internet, and a lack of telephone infrastructure, are limited,
- where computer and IT support is limited and expensive,
- the risk aware, and those with a logical approach who fear and understand that the use of digital tools is compromised by a lack of power, outages, natural disasters, and the lack of attention by even one person in even the largest of organisations, can allow cybercriminals to access personal information, etc.
The results of a lack of attention which affects all people and businesses is, that whilst the digital and cashless world offers a number of benefits, there are also many practical and negative outcomes.
Unfortunately, the advocates of the digital and cashless world, often have an almost religious view on the benefits of the digital and cashless world. Consequently, these advocates often fail to appreciate the concerns and other views a number of people may have, based on different lifestyle and experiences. As a result, the advocates disregard, pay lip service to people with concerns, denigrate the questioner, or use false statistics in order to enhance their own points of view.
Three very basic examples of the weakness in the digital world are:
1 “How can you prove the empirical number of cash transactions compared to digital transactions, when cash transactions often leave no evidence of their existence?” The truth of course is that you cannot.
2 If defensive technology is so good, “Why cannot we stop spam emails which is growing evermore troublesome again?”
3 Even though government agencies will not admit it, catching criminals with cash, is actually the cheapest form of seizure. After all, any cash recovered from criminals is seized without further cost. There are none of the additional costs which are incurred in trying to track down and recover criminal funds from cryptocurrency holdings or in other bank accounts.
Briefly, here are a number of questions when profitable business opportunities are lost in the digital and cashless world.
- If your customer doesn’t have access to digital means of paying for your goods and services, how do you sell them to these customers?
- If your customer is afraid to pay digitally because of fraud and cybercrime which is on the rise and only wants to pay in cash, how do you sell your products and services?
- When a customer does not want buy your goods and services, how do you stop them going to your competitors which do offer a cash payment option?
- When a customer does not want to buy your goods and services, how do you stop them looking for alternatives to use?
- When there is denial of service, how can you sell your goods and services in a cashless and digital world?
- If you offer perishable goods, or operate a restaurant/café, what happens when there is a denial service, or when authorisation of a customer’s payment facilities is declined?
- If you only accept digital payments and you sell perishable stock or operate a restaurant/café, how much profit is lost when the stock is out of date, or how much stock is lost because it is unsaleable?
- If you don’t respond to digital enquiries, have you just lost another sale, or allowed your customer to slow pay you?
- If you and your competitors all operate in a digital world, how does your business differentiate its business over its competitors?
- Has your business really understood and measured the cost of forcing your customers to pay by digital means instead of giving them a cash option?
In answer to the question in the title of this blog, I have highlighted a number of issues and raised a number of questions. It is not that I am necessarily against people and businesses which wish to live in a digital and cashless world, that is their right. The focus of this article is to highlight the pitfalls for those people and businesses which wish to reserve the right to question the validity of the digital and cashless world.
Perhaps it would be wise for all businesspeople to consider all the issues of the digital and cashless world, both the positive and the negative. At the present time, I suggest there are three main factors which the advocates of the digital and cashless world do not adequately consider or explain. These are,
- a lack interest in addressing customer concerns,
- the amount of lost business with a digital only system, and
- the use of false statics, all of which, do not currently appear to be adequately addressed.
Funnily enough, most the concerns people may have about the cashless and digital world can be resolved by an understanding of customer concerns coupled with technology solutions.