Hema stores have rediscovered the old adage that "cash is king."
All 10 outlets of Hema in Shanghai, a supermarket chain selling fresh merchandise, are now providing a cash payment service after receiving complaints about its cashless payment policy system. The company is backed by the e-commerce giant Alibaba. Elderly customers were especially vocal about the cashless policy.
However, the change of heart has not stopped the complaints, with customers saying the cash payment experience is not user-friendly, with people being told to supply the exact amount of money when making a purchase as there wasn't sufficient change in the store.
Hema customers are encouraged to use the store's own application for payment, which is connected to Alipay or WeChat payment accounts.
The application can provide more discounts and personal service for the users, but shoppers who are not savvy with technology or don't have smartphones dislike the process.
One resident complained about a Hema outlet in Changning District as the outlet refused to let him to pay with cash, Labor Daily reported this week.
During a visit by Shanghai Daily to an outlet on Yanggao Road a customer was seen downloading a Hema application under the instruction of staff.
"They told me there are more discounts," the customer surnamed Hu said. "But they have to download that for me, otherwise I could never figure out how to use it."
The 55-year-old admitted though she was slow at operating a mobile phone, she has begun to use mobile payments more frequently.
When another customer tried to buy a product with cash, she was guided to a cashier by the entrance. The cashier was unable to provide change for a 8.5 yuan product when handed a 100 yuan note.