How card has taken over paying by cash

The recent news that for the first time ever, card and automated payments have now overtaken cash transactions – with the Payments Council stating that non-cash payments amounted to ‘only’ 48% of transactions by consumers, businesses and financial organisations last year – got us thinking here at Imagin Badges about how profoundly the card has altered how we pay for goods.

The credit or debit card didn’t always account for such a huge proportion of transactions, the 19.8 billion non-cash payments that were made last year just shading the 18.3 billion cash payments over the same period. Indeed, back in the 1880s, the idea of using a card to make purchases was only just entering the popular imagination, the concept being described by Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel, Looking Backward – in which the term “credit card” was used 11 times.

It was at around this time that UK customers were first being given the opportunity to use credit vouchers, as introduced by Provident Clothing Group. The idea was that customers could use the vouchers in shops that appeared on an approved list, with payment being made to a Provident Clothing rep who visited the customer’s home.

But the really serious developments leading up to today’s debit and credit cards had to wait until the early part of the following century. In 1914, Western Union began to issue metal cards to customers in the US, providing preferred customers with free deferred payment privileges. By 1950, Diners Club was targeting American diners with its plastic payments cards, the initial 200-strong membership ballooning to a staggering 20,000 people before the year was out.

It helped to kick-start a love affair with the plastic payment card that soon crossed over to Blighty, the UK’s first charge card being introduced by Finders Services, which was founded by Donald McCullough following a trip to the US. The payment card became an ever-more prominent fact of British life in the years after that, Barclays issuing the UK’s first credit card in 1966, and the first cash machine in the world being installed the following year at an Enfield, Middlesex branch of Barclays Bank.

Barclays was also the first bank to introduce a debit card in the UK, in 1987, and by 1994, half of all UK adults held a debit card. More recent developments – such as contactless technology, first seeing use for card transactions in the UK in 2007 – have only further cemented payment cards of all kinds in the national psyche, to such an extent that it seems no surprise these days that card and automated payments could actually exceed cash payments over a year.

Today, payment cards are as standard a means of ID as our own pin-on badges here at Imagin Badges – and it’s incredible to think of the journey that they have taken from such modest beginnings.

Why your business should invest in personalised badges

It’s easy to presume that personalised badges in your company’s workplace would be a bit of a luxury, or even downright unnecessary. After all, everyone knows everyone else in your firm before too long, right? And why would a customer need to know your employee’s name, when they are merely being served? Aren’t there more important things to spend money on?

Actually, if you take a bit more time to think about it, you’ll realise just how imperative an investment personalised badges can really be. Sometimes, the advantages can be subtle and difficult to quantify – but nonetheless, they’re definitely there. Just consider the last time you were in a restaurant or hotel, and how much more confident you were to speak to an important staff member when they were wearing a professional-looking name badge.

However, staff badges aren’t just for your company’s customers – they also benefit your employees. Whether your workers already wear highly formal uniforms or just white polo shirts and jeans for the office, presentable pin-on badges can complete the look nicely. They also serve the practical purpose of helping workers to remember their colleagues’ names, whether they have only just begun working for you and are therefore still trying to put names to faces, or work unusual shifts or work in a large company where the typical week involves meetings with a wide range of people.

Security                                                                                                                               

Security is another, somewhat underrated reason for investing in pin-on badges. Think of all of the people who could potentially wander into your office throughout the day if you simply leave the door open. That person who turns up at 7pm when almost everyone else has gone home, claiming to be the cleaner, could just be the person who steals your office computer, tablet or hard drive, packed with potentially sensitive and important information about your firm and its suppliers.

By preparing some kind of professional and aesthetically consistent security ID for every member of staff to wear, you can therefore much more quickly identify trespassers. Pre-agreed visitors – such as prospective clients – could be issued with generic ‘guest’ badges to signal that their presence on your premises has been approved, thereby avoiding any awkward conversations.

Finally, you should never underestimate the value of personalised badges in the appropriate marketing of your company. Even if it’s merely a case of your workers being spotted off-premises looking smart and professional, those pin-on badges that you bought for ostensibly practical purposes can also play a not-inconsiderable part in portraying your company all the better to the wider world. After all, there really is no second chance to make a great first impression.

How to make yourself stand out at industry meetings

When you are attending a work event, whether it is a meeting, a trade show or perhaps a conference, the rules for making a statement are the same. If you are looking to stand out from the crowd, regardless of the size of the event, we have put together a list of top tips for you to follow. Aside from wearing a giant neon staff badge, or performing a solo contemporary dance routine to get the attention of those around you, these are foolproof tips for a subtle, but effective first impression.

1.Have a clear aim

Before you even walk into an event, you should have a clear list of things that you want to achieve from it. Whether this is a fixed number of sales leads. Making industry contacts or making more people aware of your business, it is much more assertive to walk into a room with a purpose.

2. Be bold

If you are attending a tradeshow, you will be up against a number of other companies who are all competing for attention. So how do you ensure it is your stall that people flock to? Colour plays a large part in this, if you use the right colour scheme – people will be automatically drawn to your business. A dull scheme will leave you languishing in the background.

3. Be ready

We know that industry events can be long and tiring days, however if your potential contacts see you lazing around or sitting down at your table, they may get the wrong impression. Experts recommend making use of all of the space you’re given, push back that table and stay on your feet so that you are ready to welcome a potential contact.

4. Know your targets

This is not as sinister as it sounds. To put it simply, make sure that you do your research into who will be attending the same events as you. If there are companies there that you know you need to meet, or speakers that you really want to trade business cards with, make this one of your missions of the day. A little social media stalking goes a long way, another great tip is to keep your face fresh in their minds by following them on social platforms such as Twitter.

5. Dress to Impress

On a personal level, no one remembers the guy who hides at the back in an ill fitting suit. We are not asking you to turn into James Bond overnight, however if you are heading to an event, making sure that you take the time to press your best suit. It is also good to ensure that you and your team all have clear,personalised badges so that you are easily identified as part of the same company.

The retail industry’s reaction to the budget

George Osborne’s budget has received mixed reviews, especially from those working in the retail industry. The Chancellor’s changes include extending Sunday trading hours and introducing the Living Wage, two proposals which will dramatically change the way that retailers currently operate. Now that the dust has settled after the announcement, Imagin Badges look at how the industry reaction and what these changes mean to retailers across the country.

The new national living wage will mean that businesses will have to pay an estimated £4bn to meet the standards set out in the budget. As two thirds of workers currently earning minimum wage work within the retail and hospitality sectors, it is expected that many companies will struggle to meet these new regulations.

A spokesman from the Association of Convenience Store stated that; “The introduction of a compulsory Living Wage will have a devastating impact on thousands of convenience stores. This will lead to retailers having to reduce staff hours, work more hours in their business and ultimately cancel their investment plans. To introduce this measure with no consultation undermines the independent Low Pay Commission and is a reckless way to impose a massive burden on small businesses.”

It is expected that the move to a higher minimum wage will lead to many businesses having to recoup the loss through pricing strategies, however, there is still a risk of significant job losses as smaller stores struggle to cope.

Sunday Trading

Considering Sunday is the second biggest day of the retail week, it is no surprise that there are plans to extend the current Sunday trading hours. Many large stores have already opened earlier for dedicated browsing time on a Sunday, however the decision for all day trading will come down to local councils who must decide if it is beneficial to their communities.

There have been many opposing views of those that think that Sunday trading will be beneficial to retailers. Many people that spreading the customer spending patterns out further will be detrimental to retailers whilst the worry about staff life/work balance has also been brought up.

Do you think George Osborne got it right? Contact the Imagin Badges team with your thoughts today.

Making the right impression at a promotional event

If there is anything that makes someone feel unimportant, it is inviting them to a conference, product launch, or other promotional event, and then handing them a sticky label when they arrive and ask them to write their name on it. What a disastrous first impression to make when you are spending a small fortune on an event in an attempt to impress and drum up business, either now or in the future. So how much did it cost you to hire the venue? How much did it cost you to pay for the catering? How much money have you shelled out on drinks? And the promotional items you have dotted around the place – the banners, the leaflets, the balloons, the promotional gifts? And as a consequence, when it comes to cost cutting, you do it with the very first thing your guests are given, thus negating all the good you will try to do afterwards.

Perhaps you have forgotten what it is like to me made to feel less than important, less than special, and more like just one of a crowd. If you are going to hold an event, get everything right and ideally, don’t try and cut any corners. Have a rethink and imagine you are that guest who arrives at the venue. You are greeted by a charming young man or woman, a genuine smile on their face as they ask you politely what your name is. A few moments later they acknowledge your arrival, advise you they have been looking forward to your arrival, and present you with a smart personalised name badge they would like you to wear to make it easier for everyone to recognise who you are. You look at the badge and appreciate its quality, wearing it with pride as it fits well with your smart clothes and is so much nicer than the usual sticky label you get asked to wear.

Fast forward to the end of the event and two different things will happen based on whether you have given your guest a quality personalised badge or a cheap sticky one. The former will be taken off and put in the recipient’s pocket. When they get home it will likely be put on the kitchen table and thereafter make its way around the house over the ensuing weeks and months. It’s too nice to throw out, so it gets kept; and a subliminal marketing message continues to be broadcast all the time it is left lying around. The alternative scenario for the sticky label is that it gets ripped off and thrown in the nearest bin with probably an element of contempt at the end of the event, its job done and the marketing message heard loud and clear by the wearer.

Now if you want a better idea of what we are talking about here at Imagin Badges, why not give us a call and ask us to send you a sample of the badges we produce. After that you will get a better idea of what we have been talking about, and we can even make you up a personal sample from your own artwork if you would like.

5 good reasons to choose printed staff ID badges over sticky labels

You would be very surprised just how much attention members of the public – your potential clients – notice, and their perceptions of what they see. You may spend a great deal of money on marketing your business, attracting customers through your door, yet one minor flaw and you can undo so much of the good you have done. How is this possible? Simply through the type of name badge members of your staff wear. At Imagin Badges we have done a lot of research to establish a successful number of ranges of badges which all fulfil the most important function – impress the person seeing the badge. Yes, the badge should be worn with pride by your member of staff as, after all, it is declaring ‘I am a valued member of the team’. However it is what the person seeing it on your member of staff thinks that matters the most.

Here is what we have established at Imagin Badges and what drives us on to perfect the ranges of personalised badges we have on offer:

  • A quality personalised badge reassures customers that they are speaking to a permanent member of staff, not a trainee or part-time employee. This helps to build instant confidence and a stronger business relationship
  • The better the quality of badge, the more an employee feels valued. Give them a sticky label and ask them to write their name on it tells them you don‚Äôt really care about them ‚Äì provide them with a quality personalised badge, a smart staff ID badge, and they will reward you ten-fold. The better the badge the more valued a member of staff will feel.
  • A quality badge lets everyone know that you pay close attention to detail and that you are not a business that cuts corners.
  • Quality staff ID badges set the tone for the whole business operation, in the same way that smart appearance, tidy hair, polished shoes and a welcoming smile do. A scruffy name badge undoes all the good any exemplary personal appearance may achieve.
  • A quality company ID badge will remain looking smart for a long time to come ‚Äì that little bit of extra expense at the onset will be repaid by the continued smart appearance of the name badges your members of staff wear, rather than have them look like part of the furniture after a year.

It may have surprised you how much thought we put into our business, but if we want you to invest in us as suppliers of top quality ID badges to your business, we need to tell you why it is such a good idea in the first place. Like so many things in life, unless we work behind the scenes, we just take them for granted, and to many, a name badge is just a name badge. However for those of us who have a marketing background, a name badge isn’t just a name badge, it is a marketing opportunity, and a very good one at that. Not so much an opportunity to market a product, but to market you, your company, and the standards to which you work. Success in business is all about creating the right impression and ensuring that you appear a better choice than your competitors. The only way to do that is to ensure corners aren’t cut and that where promoting your company is concerned, you do your utmost to impress the client in more subtle ways, in ways where they will get the message, but not have it shouted at them as though they were idiots!

Of course the proof lies in the products themselves, so while we would be delighted if you called us to discuss any needs you will have either now or in the future for personalised badges, we would also be delighted to send you a set of samples to give you an even clearer idea of what we have been talking about.

Need to re-order your name badges or ID badges?

We often get asked by our customers if we still have their name badge or photo ID badge design stored on our system, as they would like to order some more. When the badges have been used for trade shows or demonstrations, 2 or 3 years go by before a second or third order is placed, or it may just be a few days or weeks, as they have a new member of staff. Either way, we always store all the badge designs on our system indefinitely so they are always available for reprinting.

If you would like to re-order your badges you can just email the new names / photographs etc to us and we will be happy to process your new order. We can also supply the proof from the original badge order so you can check that you’re happy with the badge layout before we print your order.

So don’t be shy…. it doesn’t matter if we haven’t heard from you in a while, we are always happy to help. All our information is on the Contact Us page

What clients are saying

It is always a pleasure to deal with your company.

Tom Webb RSAW

The badges arrived this morning and they look great! Thank you!

James Kennedy Gemini Agriculture

The badges have just arrived - looking great! Fantastic service, thank you!

Alice Smith Sense Media Events
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