Independently owned groceries and bodegas that do not redeem electronic EBT cards as a form of payment are missing out on growing a loyal customer base and a good reputation, and increasing profits. EBT cards are used to purchase staples such as dairy, meats, produce and bread by those on the federal SNAP program (what used to be called food stamps).
Some store owners are simply unaware of the program while others are wary of costly transaction fees eating into profits. In this post, we want to look at the positives of redeeming EBT cards, which we believe outweigh the negatives.
National Retail Solutions (NRS) is the leading provider of POS systems to small to mid-sized, independently owned grocery stores and bodegas around the country, including in urban, underserved areas where EBT users are prevalent. NRS’ ideal suite of services and programs that integrate with its POS system help merchants grow their business by saving money and boosting revenue.
Among these programs is EBT Unlimited;, which takes away the justified fears of business owners about costly swipe fees cutting into the bottom line. Through NRS’ EBT Unlimited program merchants pay one minimal flat fee instead of individual transaction costs, with no limit on transactions. NRS has a history of integrity and transparency, and merchants can be assured that there are no hidden fees or complicated bills associated with EBT Unlimited. Those NRS stores that have taken advantage of EBT Unlimited have reported satisfaction. The NRS POS system is fully compatible for EBT processing and sales.
NRS’ network of stores includes those focused in urban, diverse multi-cultural areas that include immigrants, segments of the population that are more likely to be enrolled in the SNAP program than those in suburban centers. New federal policies will likely result in an influx of immigrants to urban locales this year and in the years to come, which is expected to increase the EBT eligible population, along with the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A five-year study by the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit organization focused on poverty-related hunger, showed that 12.6 percent of U.S. households in larger metropolitan areas (where NRS specializes) participate in the SNAP program. This statistic will most probably increase significantly in the future.
Bodegas and groceries that accept EBT payments also become accepted by the community that they serve. That sign on the window that says “EBT Accepted Here” is a calling card that also says you care about consumers’ needs, and that you’re a compassionate business keen to the struggles of your demographic. Consumers appreciate that, and show their appreciation with shopper loyalty.
To the contrary, if you don’t offer EBT you may be looked at as a store that is clueless to its customers’ basic needs, or, even worse, doesn’t care about their reliance on EBT cards. Potential patrons will bypass your store for one that takes EBT, and they’ll continue to shop at those other establishments for non-EBT products, even if your business is closer to their homes.
Offer EBT and you’ll gain new customers and overtake other businesses that don’t accept EBT. As mentioned above, take into consideration as well that EBT users are also likely to purchase other, non-EBT items on their trip to your grocery. In addition to SNAP-eligible staples like meats, milk, bread, and fruits and vegetables, customers may also purchase anything from batteries and soft drinks to medicine and non-staple foods.
Businesses should also think about boosting profits by offering additional services that are likely to be attractive in diverse ethnic areas with immigrants. For instance, immigrants and others with family in other countries are more likely to buy calling cards, conduct wire transfer transactions and use the increasingly popular BOSS Revolution App. Investing in these services is a wise choice.
When considering branching out into international items, it’s important to have a POS system that integrates these features and EBT easily, provides clear and accurate reporting and inventory tracking, avoids disorganized reconciliations and most important avoids unauthorized EBT transactions of non-eligible items that can result in the withdrawal of your FNS license. The NRS POS system is specifically constructed to seamlessly and coherently integrate several features that can help stores save and earn money, from EBT Unlimited to cash advance programs and more.
By Vedant Soni