There are many things that can derail a purchase and lose a customer. Bad advertising, a poor website, too many steps on the path-to-purchase, and so on. However, once they’re in the store, businesses often consider the job done. Sale made. However, they often forget that even the smallest company policy can negatively affect the consumer experience. One such policy is the establishment of a minimum EFTPOS transaction amount.

Making business sense

From a company point-of-view, the costs associated with EFTPOS transactions can be significant. Each bank charges fees for point-of-sale electronic transactions in different ways, but with costs as high as 30¢ per transaction, it makes sense to establish a minimum amount, ensuring ongoing profitability. It seems to a corporate management team to be a small, inconsequential policy with no negative consequences. However at the till, it becomes far more than that.

The consumer takeaway

Every interaction, no matter how big or small, contributes to the overall feeling that the consumer is left with. A negative experience at the till can tarnish the entire purchase experience, leaving the customer with a ‘bad taste in their mouth’ regarding that brand.

Consider this scenario:

A customer enters a chocolate-themed cafe. This customer knows that there is a premium on their products and accepts this as a demonstration of quality. He makes his order of a hot chocolate and choc-chip muffin, totalling $8.95. Up to this point, he is happy with the environment, price and product, and hands over his card to pay. The cashier tells him that he must spend a minimum of $10. Suddenly, he begins to feel like the company is trying to rip him off. Yes, it is only one extra dollar, but he is already spending $9 on a premium product. Shouldn’t that be enough? He begrudgingly agrees and arbitrarily selects an additional item to make up the difference.  Of course, there is no products for only $1, so his addition of a caramel-choc slice takes his total to $12.85. He takes his purchases and settles down to eat.

Now, what is his takeaway from this experience? Will he enjoy his chocolate treats as much, knowing that he has been strong-armed into additional purchases he didn’t wish to make? Probably not. If asked about his experience, what will he say? Will he describe the deliciousness of the products, or the fact that he had to pay for extra goods he didn’t want? The company has made an additional $3.90, but at the expense of a positive experience for the consumer.

Changing the frame-of-reference

Every business is different, with different commercial realities. The cost of transacting is a real consideration, and cannot be dismissed so lightly. There is a way however, to have your cake and eat it too. The problem here is perception. The consumer doesn’t want to ‘know’ that they’re paying a fee. In the same sense that the cost of a meal isn’t broken down into percentages – 12% of my steak dinner pays for the rent, 26% for staff wages and so on – the consumer doesn’t want or need to see fees and charges. They simply want a single figure, in exchange for goods and services rendered. For example, increase the price of each item by 10% to cover the fees and taxes. As far as the consumer is concerned, they are paying $9.85 for their two products, the cost of the transaction is covered, and everyone leaves happy.

Everybody wins.

The power of positive

Every business, no matter how large or small, knows the power of word-of-mouth. A single positive review can be worth thousands of advertising dollars in ROI, yet many businesses do not fully assess this crucial aspect of the path-to-purchase. A simple tweak at each stage of the process can create a more positive experience, leading to more valuable word-of-mouth and crucially, repeat business.