EuroCIS is the largest retail show in Europe attracting over 13K attendees from 94 nations in 2019. Among 482 exhibitors, APG Cash Drawer was proud to have the opportunity to exhibit and speak to Ben Giese, International Account Manager at Beta-Web GmbH. In an interview with APG’s VP of Global Marketing and SMARTtill Business Development, Stephen Bergeron covers the latest trends and challenges retailers face with cash management.
The company has really gone from a manufacturer of till solutions, cash drawers, into other developments. Can you tell me about how that’s happened?
APG is a company that’s really undergone massive changes in the past half-decade or so. Our basis in manufacturing has been cash drawer solutions, but we’re rapidly moving to another business level of solutions in data and services. Over the last three years, we’ve launched and started to be successful with the SMARTtill Solution cash management opportunities, it’s become apparent that we must become a software house at some level. What started with integration tools, typical driver sets, and such are now data management tools for a reporting structure that is necessary for the business insights derived out of the SMARTtill Solution data.
Is this something that’s come about from your side as a provider? Is this something that the market is demanding? Where does the push and pull come?
It’s really a combination of factors coming together. The first one is that the market is saying, you’ve got a lot of great data here, but how can I easily get access to it? If retailers have to go back and reinvent the wheel, what is the benefit? We started with the reporting basics with date and time stamping and now we’re matured to cloud-based software reporting capabilities to proactively monitor cash handling operations and cash losses. Drag and drop dashboards and tailored scorecards provide reports on transactions by lane, cashier, store and region allowing you to gain a clear view of your business and pinpoint areas for improvement.
From the perspective of the customer, what does that mean, for their day-to-day operations?
The SMARTtill Solution software database date and timestamps every transaction. Retailers must then ask “how do I run a report on a cashier? How often do they run out of money by lane and by store? What is their discrepancy profile? Are they making mistakes?” Now, you can take all that discrepancy data and say, “do I have a training issue? Do I have an operations issue in that I’m not paying attention to the data in the back of the store, so I’m running out of coin, which really isn’t the cashier’s fault?” Retailers now have a whole new set of business tools to better manage their front and back end, which enhances the customer experience and business profitability.
What we’re seeing both in the United States and here in Europe is the consumer demand for frictionless transactions, where the consumer is very comfortable and shops with ease. A lot of this is brought about by the online experience, but how do we bring it into the store? The SMARTtill Solution, with all of the data that it’s able to maintain, is contributing to this frictionless transaction. Instead of running out of coins, retailers now have alerts that can be sent to the back office saying, “you’re almost out of money, you need to refresh your coins or you need to refresh your transactional bills and go forward.” Lanes are not shutting a down when you have a large queue of people waiting for coin replenishment. The consumer is saying, “I don’t want to wait more than five minutes in a queue.” Well, how do you do that if you don’t have an easy way of managing the cashier’s time and what’s going on within the queue itself or within the point of sale system?
There has been a buzz around a cash-free society, but it seems that the closer we get to it, the more the blowback there is. It’s getting a lot harder to actually go cash-free. How do you see just, in general, the future of cash and how it relates to societies around the world?
There’re considerable movements here in Europe. The United States is starting to get rumbles about it and Canada is starting to lean in that direction. At the end of the day, there’s still such a huge population of unbanked that cash is going to be around.
If you really do an analysis on the transactions, globally over 30% of transactions remain cash. If I just look at Germany, since we’re here at EuroCIS, 74% of all German transactions remain cash, so cash is not going away. When you start to look at all the banking information, there’s more cash in circulation than there’s ever been before. Cash is here and it’s not going away anytime soon.