With banks closing and customer behaviour moving away from physical cash, we thought it was time Darwen went digital. So we teamed up with Square.
Over the past couple of years we've been conducting research and working with the community to find out ways to make our town thrive. After last years London trip, where 20 Darrener's from different backgrounds explored some of London's most thriving markets during a special event at The London Design Festival, we produced a great big bank of brilliant ideas, which we'll be sharing in full very soon.
Beyond the trip, we've been working on ways to help make some of the ideas become a reality. One of them: Independent businesses taking card payments.
We know that shoppers aren’t carrying cash around much these days, especially younger generations, and national statistics support this theory. It is predicted that by 2026, notes and coins will account for only 21% of sales. We also know that four banks have closed in Darwen over the past few years and that cash machine amounts have been reduced.
Therefore, we teamed up with Square – who are working hard to make commerce easy and accessible for UK businesses, big and small. Square said:
"We wanted to make sure small businesses didn’t miss out on the shift to card payments. That meant coming up with a simple and easy way for businesses to give card payments a go. We armed sellers in Darwen with a free Square Reader and their first £1,000 of transactions processed fee-free. As well as the technology, we also pledged training and marketing support to ensure nothing could get in the way of their smooth setup and quick growth."
Over 30 business have now signed up in Darwen, and one of the first to jump at the opportunity was The Sweet Shop, owned and run by Becca Greenhalgh.
Since buying the shop back in 2016, Becca had been accepting cash payments exclusively,
“Since I bought the Sweet Shop two years ago, I’ve definitely found that less and less people are carrying cash. People want to pay by card, and it’s important that small businesses in the market and the town adapt to this change.”
With her Square Reader, Becca is now able to accept any way her customers want to pay, and never turn down a sale. With next business day deposits as standard, she also doesn’t have to wait long to receive her money so that it can be reinvested into the business,
“Being able to accept card payments has made such a huge difference to my business - alongside the sweet shop, we’ve launched a tea room so we’re now able to upsell other products too. It’s a really positive move to be able to get customers back spending in local shops.”
We're really excited to see Darwen businesses taking the idea on board and seeing a positive return.
Heart of Darwen is run by volunteers, but we must give a big thank-you to the generous organisations below for helping us exist in one way or another.