CSP’s sixth annual cash management study revealed that, much like last year, convenience store owners and operators are by no means immune to the currency concerns plaguing other retailers. Respondents remain concerned about day-to-day cash handling issues:
- Cash shrinkage (46 percent)
- Inefficient cash handling (39 percent)
- Lack of information for cash forecasting (30 percent)
- Inability to track cash flow between POS and safe (30 percent)
- Cash exposure (24 percent)
- Robberies and/or burglaries (23 percent)
- Inability to transfer data between safe and back office systems (22 percent)
- Bank deposit discrepancies (21 percent)
At first glance, the survey also seems to show that c-stores are taking real steps to protect themselves against cash shrinkage and the rest of the list. CSP Daily News points out that, according to the study, “more operators are trusting in technology. Seventy-eight percent now use a networked cash-management system vs. 58 percent in 2016; 76 percent have or plan to implement automated coin and bill dispensing smart safes, and 55 percent have safes and POS integrated with video surveillance, up from 48 percent in 2016.” Upon further digging, however, most c-stores actually aren’t using a cash management system that’s truly “networked.”
Among the top cash management devices, tools and processes in use, says CSP Daily News, “low cash in registers and POS integrated safes are considered ‘very effective’ by the greatest number of operators.” While smart safes can be valuable tools and cash should be optimized by location, relying on these methods to address all your currency management concerns misses the mark.
Smart safes secure funds — a top issue for c-stores when it comes to protecting funds and employees’ safety — but can also create issues when they’re not part of a strategic currency management platform. Incomplete integration and lack of information about cash demand by denomination cause headaches like manual processes and errors, less time for customer service, lack of corporate visibility and potential for loss.
John Rhoads, senior vice president of product and channel development for Fire-King Security Group, tells CSP Daily News that c-stores “get no value from an employee having to count a stack of dollars for the fifth time. They need to free up that employee from cash management duties and get stuff done in the stockroom.” But many have yet to implement holistic currency management that would help address this issue along with the others.
While 78 percent of c-store owners said they used a networked cash management system, they could still be doing more to improve their operations – without added effort. Perhaps c-store owners want fully-automated currency management, but don’t know where to find it, how to implement it, or how to get their many franchisees on board. “Retailers today are embracing other technologies to stay ahead of the curve and better shield their assets and employees, including wirelessly connected cash management systems,” CSP reports, but are they choosing the right technologies?
Real-time integration is highly valuable to retailers of all types, but c-stores might benefit the most. Timely, safe handling of cash is imperative in your efforts to keep employees and stores safe. But benefits of real-time data extend beyond the store to corporate, where better information can help you make better decisions for your business overall:
- Proactive alerting of out-of-compliance currency management behavior
- Expanded leverage of centralized information across departments
- Trend analysis capabilities to prioritize business rule improvements
- Cloud-based central repository of cash information
The survey reveals that c-stores are trending toward more technology implementation. When you’re ready to select new technology for your stores, ensure you’re taking a holistic approach that addresses all the currency management needs in your stores – from the register to the corporate office.