Woolworths has made the decision to end the cashless stores trials it began in 2020.
The supermarket giant first took some of its metro stores cashless back in June. This eventually included 14 stores across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
COVID-19 seemed like the perfect time to trial card-only stores when cashless payment systems were being encouraged to avoid money handling.
However, sending some of its stores cashless resulted in some backlash on social media. Some were concerned about the exclusion of customers who don’t have cards. There were also concerns raised around the automatic data collection that a card-only system would be afforded.
Woolworths has been known for being big on customer data. In 2019 it rolled out a Scan&GO payment system, allowing customers at select stores to scan items with an app and ‘tap off’ at a kiosk before leaving the store.
However, to use Scan&GO customers had sign up for Woolworths Rewards, which requires a name, address, phone number, email address, data of birth and gender.
Woolworths also received some negative feedback in 202o when it trialled a ‘live reflection’ security system that made some customers think they were being filmed at self-serve checkouts.
Woolworths cashless trial ends
Woolworths Metro general manager Justin Nolan has now said that the cashless trial is coming to an end after customer feedback.
“We want Woolworths to be a place where everyone feels welcome, no matter who they are or how they shop with us,” Nolan said in a statement.
“It’s become clear to us that not all customers have felt this way when shopping in our Woolworths Metro stores trialling card-only payments. While almost all Metro customers choose to pay with cards, cash remains incredibly important to those who don’t for a whole range of reasons we didn’t fully appreciate.”
According to Itnews, most stores in the trial should already be accepting cash again. However, the York Street and George Street stores in Sydney will start taking cash again on March 10.