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Survey: Operators Predict Higher Percentage of Cashless Stores in Five Years

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — Approximately 21% of self-service laundry operators polled in this month’s Wire survey say they operate a cashless store, but 57.1% believe there will be a “higher” or “far higher” percentage of cashless stores operating in five years.

Among the 78.6% of operators who don’t operate a cashless store today, cost is their primary reason, chosen by 37.1%. Other respondents say their customers wouldn’t be comfortable with the technology (11.4%) or they purchased an existing coin laundry (11.4%).

Smaller shares say they’re not comfortable with the technology (8.6%), customers would rather use coins (8.6%), and they don’t want to hire an attendant (2.9%).

Twenty percent of those polled selected “other” reasons, with their explanations including the desire to “see” currency, not wanting to make customers carry another card in their wallet, and a lack of local competition making the shift to cashless unnecessary.

If they opened a cashless store, 51.2% say they would most enjoy not worrying about collections, and another 20% would enjoy new marketing opportunities. Being able to change prices quickly or having customers pay for their service in advance would be most enjoyable to equal shares of 4.9%.

Roughly 20% picked “other,” with many saying they would enjoy all of the reasons presented in the survey. One operator would most enjoy “not being jacked by bra-wire thieves.”

Approximately 10% of operators polled believe there will be a “far higher percentage of cashless stores” five years from now, and another 47.6% believe there will be a “higher percentage.” Roughly 29% believe there will be “about the same” percentage, 9.5% a “smaller” percentage, and 4.8% a “far smaller” percentage.

While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take a brief industry survey anonymously online each month. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.

To sign up for the Wire, click the “Subscriptions” button at the top right-hand corner of this page and follow the instructions.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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