December 30, 2019

Top retail cash trend for 2020: Retail Automation is driving success in cash management

Balance Innovations introduces Cash Insights, a series covering retail cash trends, industry developments and innovations. This is written by Darren Knipp (bio below). 

Much like manufacturing and agriculture industries, automation has the potential to bring new process and change in retail. Recent research suggests that by 2023 the global retail automation market could exceed $19.45 billion.

We see this today as automation replaces costly and time-consuming traditional ways of managing cash in retail stores. In a crowded marketplace filled with online retailers and competition from creative store concepts built to attract consumers, cutting the overhead cost of cash management is critical to retail growth and survival.

Retail automation is here
As we enter a new decade, look for ever increasing advances in automation. Retailers can automate about half of all everyday activities using current technology, researchers find.

Automated functions include electronic shelf-edge labels that offer price and nutritional information, shelf-scanning robots, store cleaning robots, partial backroom unloading and self-checkout terminals. Robots, drones and other technology can also help automate security and safety operations. Such technologies reduce the number of hours employees must devote to these tasks, creating opportunities to focus more time on activities that better serve customers. And yet few retailers are rushing toward implementing widespread automation.

Self-checkouts continue to gain
The most common automation consumers see in retail stores today is self-checkouts. Automated checkouts are now the majority in many stores, far outnumbering registers operated by cashiers. Self-checkouts provide the promise of shorter lines while increasing in-store productivity; plus, customers like them.

Self-checkouts drive the need for retailers to better understand and utilize cash assets across their enterprise. While offering an automated process for consumers to check out their own purchases, self-checkouts are often still operated according to outdated cash management practices.

Depending on the store and size and type of self-checkouts, they can hold a lot of cash – upwards of $5,000 each. Often the machines hold much more cash than is actually needed, so they become a bank of idle cash that retailers can use more productively.

Calculating individual cash requirements
Over the past couple of years, we’ve helped retailers optimize where their cash is deployed. Algorithms we’ve developed look at historical demand with an eye toward automating forecasting. This process helps determine how much cash a given store may need on a particular day – an amount that varies greatly across the enterprise.

Automating such processes takes forecasting a step further. It also helps determine the amount of cash each individual checkout lane needs – the tills and the self-checkouts. The one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work.

Lower cost of cash management
Leveraging a revolutionary cash management technology has the potential to make accepting cash as low, if not lower, than credit card. Such technology advances efficiency across the organization and helps build profitability. It also improves security by automating many traditional cash handling operations that can put the corporation and employees at risk.

Operational improvements in cash management will help ensure retail success and growth for the 2020s and beyond. Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo at NRF 2020 or email us to set up a virtual demo.

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Next: Look for our blog on NRF 2020 tips and tricks

Darren Knipp

As SVP of Brink’s Enterprise Solutions and President of Balance Innovations, Darren brings his passion for creating customer focused solutions towards helping retailers revolutionize their approach to managing cash.