Woolworths WCafé Stores Embrace Cashless Payments in South Africa

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  • Post last modified:January 8, 2024
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  • Post category:Companies

Woolworths has clarified its decision to experiment with cashless payments at some of its WCafé stores. The move comes as part of a global responsible business initiative, prioritizing customer and staff safety. However, the company emphasized that the decision is limited to WCafé stores and does not apply to Woolworths supermarkets.

The clarification followed social media consternation over a signboard at a Woolworths store stating that, starting from January 16, 2024, only card and digital payments would be accepted. The sign apologized for any inconvenience and highlighted the global initiative aimed at ensuring the safety of customers and staff.

The retailer’s social media pages were flooded with queries and concerns from South Africans, prompting Woolworths to address the confusion throughout the weekend. Vene sought further clarification from Woolworths regarding the decision.

Woolworths explained that the choice to go cashless at WCafé stores was based on collected data, revealing that these outlets received relatively few cash payments. The company assured customers that the WCafé team would closely monitor the progress of this shift in payment methods over the coming months.

It is crucial to note that this initiative is exclusive to WCafé, the concessionary outlet chain operating adjacent to or inside Woolworths stores. WCafé primarily consists of coffee shops and is not associated with Woolworths supermarkets. In the last financial year, these concessions accounted for over R800 million in goods from Woolworths Food outlets.

Contrary to misconceptions on social media, Woolworths stores will continue to accept cash payments. The company stressed that the decision to go cashless applies solely to WCafé stores and not its broader retail operations.

WCafé’s move to embrace cashless payments aligns with the global trend, as even major coffee giant Starbucks has ceased accepting cash payments in South Africa. Industry experts anticipate that other coffee shops may follow suit in the near future.

Woolworths remains committed to adapting to evolving consumer preferences while ensuring a seamless and safe shopping experience for all its patrons. The company encourages ongoing feedback from customers as it experiments with cashless transactions in WCafé stores.