There's so much for a business to do during the holiday rush from having the right inventory available, making sure you're staffed appropriately and ensuring customers think of your business first when they're shopping for gifts. Anything you can do to prevent last-minute hiccups is crucial.
The good news is that when it comes to your payments strategy, there are plenty of things you can do before the holiday rush to boost sales. The more purchasing options you offer customers, the more likely they are to spend money with your business. And consumers have money to spend this year. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales in the United States are expected to rise between 3.8% and 4.2% in 2019.
If you're trying to avoid anything extra on your plate during the holidays, tackle your payments prep work beforehand and use this holiday payments checklist to guide you.
Up your e-commerce game
Even if you think of your business as a mostly brick-and-mortar store, online sales opportunities abound – and checking out without friction is the best gift you can give your customers. Before the holidays kick off, make sure your payments solution is friction-free with convenient features like one-click checkout, real-time error management, auto-fill forms, secure card storage to simplify repeat transactions and more.
Use mobile to add another checkout lane
Even if they're feeling jolly, long lines can dampen your shoppers' holiday spirit. This season consider adding a mobile point-of-sale card reader to help expedite traffic in store. Your associates will no longer be stuck behind the counter and can use just about any smartphone or tablet as a terminal. These mobile card readers also allow you to send digital invoices, text or email receipts and set up recurring payments. And they'll also equip you to participate in pop-up markets and other on-the-go opportunities.
Make it easy to purchase via mobile
We can't tell you the number of times we've heard from business owners that digital payments saved the day when customers came to shop without a physical wallet in their back pocket or purse. The acceptance of digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Alipay can help boost metrics like conversion rates, new user acquisitions and purchase frequency. And customers can check out more quickly without needing to enter payment information, further reducing lines and in store wait times.
Study your data before the season starts
Once shopping season begins, you may not have time to dig deep into your business analytics. Make sure to take action on your business insights beforehand. Knowing your customer's preferred payment behavior, what card types, currency, and methods will allow you to make their transaction experience easier. That way you can take full advantage of these real-time data points before the holidays begin so you're fully prepared to greet the season – and benchmark your holiday performance after it's all over.
Power up your point of purchase
We know – if it's not actually broken, it can be tempting to skip an upgrade until it's absolutely necessary. But if you haven't recently leveled up your point-of-sale terminal to the latest model, definitely consider doing that before the holiday season commences. With an upgraded point of sale, you'll be fully prepared to accept credit, debit, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and contactless payments, among other ways to pay to give your customers greater choice and convenience.
Get going with gift cards
No surprise here, gift cards will be at the top of consumers' shopping lists, according to a recent Accenture survey forecasting the 2019 holiday season. And for good reason: they're flexible for consumers and packed with opportunity for businesses to offer loyalty incentives (such as a $10 bonus for every $50 gift card purchased). That means customers will keep returning to redeem them long after the last gift is opened.
Spend some time with this holiday payments checklist, check it twice, and give yourself the gift of shorter checkouts, smoother interactions and, ultimately, happier customers who are more likely to return once the season is over. Please don't hesitate to reach out if we can help you get more out of your payment solutions this holiday season – and beyond.