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HOW WILL YOU DO BUSINESS WITH THE CASH STRAPPED OR POOR CUSTOMER DIGITALLY?

Kim Radok11 November 2021

The unrelenting message in the business world these days is to go digital. The message says “Going digital will save money, make businesses more efficient, plus customer’s demand for technology solutions to their issues.”

The major problem with this message is that it assumes that there is little downside with technology or going digital. In this blog, I wish to highlight a major problem with the above themes. What if for example there is no digital access because of problems due to denial of service? Alternatively, what about your customer(s) which cannot afford to implement the right type of technology and go digital, even if they want to?

Our previous blogs, newsletters and features have discussed access and money issues with technology previously. In this blog, the emphasis is on whether your customers can afford to go digital. The reason for this focus is in the coming years there are going to be many more cash strapped businesses and poor consumer customers which will be unable to keep up financially with all the technology demands.

Evidence exists which show all too often, the digital advocates forget the issues of the cash strapped business or the poor consumer customer. As a result, we see their needs marginalised when designing business activities, social interactions and government facilities.

Too many businesspeople have failed to understand we are already in a major economic downturn, if not a recession. The harsh truth is the effects of this situation will last many years into the future. The causes are many and this information has also been discussed previously.

As a direct consequence of an economic downturn there will be many more cash strapped businesses and poor consumer customers. Many of these potential customers will have the funds to buy your goods and services. They may however be without the current technology or digital means to buy, or pay for their purchases. How will your business deal with these situations if you have rushed down the digital pathway without thoughts of the needs for these customers to use your digital tools? After all, a sale is a sale, and if your business doesn’t find a workable solution, then your competitors or a disruptor will.

The problems of technology are many, and the negative consequences are often marginalised by the technology advocates. Unfortunately however, for the cash strapped and poor, the financial cost of trying to keep up to date technically in the fragile world they live in, is often prohibitive.

A perfect example of the lack of foresight in advocating everything digitally is the government’s directive on vaccine certificates is where a poor person with an old phone is unable to store their vaccine certificates. If technology is so good, why cannot these certificates be stored on old phones, or what other means are there to show these certificates?

Another example is the ATO’s focus on e-invoicing which requires even more spending for the cash strapped business which may be forced to install a new accounting package.

In addition, banks are closing their branches and forcing added time and money costs onto cash strapped businesses and the poor which need access to complete their banking needs. Should a poor or homeless person’s debit card be stolen, with tap and go facilities so readily available these days, makes these people an easy target for criminals. How will a poor person survive with no money and also possibly, no other phone or debit card facility?

Other businesses are refusing to accept cash and so the discrimination against poor people continues. In some countries there is legislation preventing such discrimination which confirms businesses have to be able to accept cash.

At the end of the day, digital may be the way to go to help businesses be more efficient and save money, although this second point is often questionable in reality. In the near future there are going to be many more cash strapped businesses and poor consumer customers as a result of the current business downturn. Without due consideration for the poor, there will be many negative ramifications including lost sales, increased competition from competitors which accept cash, facing discrimination charges and possibly, soon being exposed as a societal pariah via social media.

Want to know more, contact Kim at kim@creditmatters.com.au, or telephone (03) 9886 6707, A/H (03) 9802 0608, mobile 0411 649 261, or have a look at what we offer via our website at www.creditmatters.com.au

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