Shop online, pay the bill offline
Barzahlen.de relies on good old cash. The concept of the Berlin start-up: shop online, pay in cash at the store. Swimming against the trend of fast online shopping and mobile payment is paying off, says Weina Wang, Head of Retail. In an interview, she talks about the service and its integration into retail, the new Viacash project and her vision for the future.
Mrs. Wang, Barzahlen.de – what is it, exactly?
Weina Wang: Barzahlen is a barcode-based service for customers that currently enables cash deposits and withdrawals, as well as cash payment for online purchases and invoices. Simply stated: To process the payment, the customer receives a barcode by email, SMS or post – or generates it in their banking app. The barcode is then scanned at the cash register of a retail outlet and the customer pays by cash or other means of payment.
In the future, there will be other usage scenarios for the retailer in the area of digital services with cash.
What technology does a business need to offer Barzahlen and what does it mean for cashiers?
Our Barzahlen service works via real-time API cash register integration, so any Internet-enabled dealer can connect to the system. Barzahlen is also usually shown as an available payment method at the store entrance. The salespeople scan the common EAN-13 barcode the same way as they scan a product barcode, and the cash register displays the amount – for example +100 Euro (deposit) or -100 Euro (withdrawal). There is nothing new to learn, although all sales staff should have heard of the service, of course.
A typical day in a retail store: how often is Barzahlen used?
This is subject to strong regional fluctuations, but we do not publish concrete figures on this.
You are expanding abroad with Viacash as a European brand. How is that going? Is it different compared to implementation in Germany?
In Italy, for example, unlike in Germany, there is no cash back service at the supermarket checkout. In this respect, our banking solution – an ATM-independent network for deposits and withdrawals to/from your checking account – is in high demand and has also been implemented with greater focus.
Otherwise, there is no difference in the implementation. Our starting partner dm has the same cash register software in Germany and Austria, which made it very easy to implement the service in Austria. Basically, all the implementation work is done, our efforts are now focused on adaptation. Ultimately, that’s our vision: to create a European network in which both a retailer and a bank can connect with one tool.
In addition to brick-and-mortarretailers, you have recently started working with Amazon, the largest e-commerce marketplace. How is that collaboration different?
Barzahlen on Amazon does not function as a payment method, but as a top-up function. The customer can load their Amazon account with cash and make purchases using this credit.
Will Barzahlen replace banking in the future?
Of course, Barzahlen will not replace banking – that would be utopian. However, the reality is that more and more bank branches and ATMs are disappearing and we need alternative solutions for the end customer when it comes to cash supply and deposit. We are moving this service to stationary retail, which makes sense for both the customer and the retailer.
Retailers can stand out from the competition through the additional service and the end customer does not have to go out of their way to withdraw or deposit cash.
Our strong expansion – we have already expanded into three countries (Austria, Switzerland and Italy) since 2018 – proves that we are on the right path, because the solution is really in demand and more and more retail partners recognize the need for it.
Interview: Katja Laska
First published at iXtenso – Magazine for Retailers