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How Can Merchants Handle the Holiday Season Effectively?

Boaz Gam

Boaz Gam


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Article content
  1. What Is the Retail Scene Like During the Holidays?
  2. 10 Payment Processing Tips for Peak Sales Periods
  3. Bottom Line: The Importance of a Customer-Centric Approach

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

The holiday season is already here! While for consumers, this time of year is synonymous with an opportunity to stock up on presents for their loved ones, for many merchants, on the other hand, it presents an annual challenge. After all, the period starting from Halloween and up until New Year’s Eve is incredibly busy and requires fast and efficient handling of sales, special offers, and refunds.

In this guide, we go over the key aspects that merchants need to keep in mind to tackle these tasks quickly, securely, and effectively. We also share some tactics that you could employ to minimize the risks and maximize the rewards during these peak times. Let’s dive into it!

What Is the Retail Scene Like During the Holidays?

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

Did you know that nearly 30% of shoppers start holiday shopping as early as October? By November, the percentage of people actively monitoring retail offerings and making purchases typically increases to 57%. And finally, only 15% of global consumers usually decide to wait till December to kick off their holiday shopping.

These figures clearly demonstrate that the colder months of the year are extremely busy for retailers. The good news is that such an influx of customers results in high revenues. For instance, in 2022, global consumers spent over $1.14 trillion during this period, which represented 4.8% YoY growth. What’s more, analytics predict a similar gain of 4.5% over the 2023 holiday season.

However, it is also crucial to remember that such intense sale periods also expose business payment systems to higher risks of being overloaded or breached - keep reading to find out how to prevent unwanted situations and ensure a smooth transaction flow.

10 Payment Processing Tips for Peak Sales Periods

Here are some essential tactics, the employment of which will help you ensure a swift payment flow throughout the holiday season:

1. Offer a Wide Selection of Payment Methods

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

You probably know that it is extremely important to offer your clients a variety of payment options that cater to the varying preferences of different target groups. Thus, it is advisable to ensure your commerce platform can accept major credit cards, digital wallets, and other popular payment methods.

However, during the holidays, it is also crucial to keep some special client needs in mind. For instance, many people opt for gift cards during this time of year. In fact, 23% of shoppers looking for a last-minute present get electronic gift cards.

It is also crucial to remember that a big share of consumers do not manage to save up enough for holiday shopping and will appreciate partial payment options. Make sure you keep current trends in mind as you shape your offering - 46% of global consumers nowadays tend to prefer Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) over credit cards, which wasn’t the case just a couple of years ago.

2. Have a Reliable Payment Gateway in Place

Select a payment gateway that can handle high transaction volumes securely. To ensure you’ve made the right choice of software, go through the following checklist:

  • Does your payment gateway comply with all the latest security standards?
  • Does it have a proven track record?
  • Is it seamlessly integrated with your eCommerce platform?
  • Does it support all the necessary payment methods?
  • Are its fees fair?
  • Is it stable and scalable?

If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, then your payment gateway is unlikely to let you down during the period of peak sales.

3. Remember About Mobile Optimization

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

56% of all online sales are conducted via a mobile device on a regular basis. However, this share tends to increase even more during the holiday season, as people tend to be busy with everyday lives or going on vacations. Therefore, it is vital to make sure your website and payment flow are optimized to provide a seamless experience for mobile users.

4. Make Sure You Provide a Guest Checkout Option

If you don’t usually offer this feature, consider simplifying the checkout process by allowing customers to make purchases without creating an account. This can reduce friction and improve the overall shopping experience, especially during peak times.

5. Pay Extra Attention to Returns & Refunds

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

According to recent surveys, 46% of merchants agree that consumers are returning more purchases than ever before. Besides, 51% of them claim that a strong return process is critical to overall holiday sales success. At the same time, 1 in 3 business owners state that refund times are a common issue in the shopping process.

These numbers highlight the importance of investing in return process optimization for the sake of gaining a competitive advantage. Here’s what you can do to achieve it:

  • Ensure your return and refund policies are transparent
  • Offer multiple return options, such as in-store returns, drop-off points, or prepaid shipping labels
  • Automate internal processes to reduce refund processing times

It’s also a must to collect customer feedback and use it to identify areas for improvement.

6. Implement a Robust Fraud Prevention System

It is no surprise that peak sales periods come hand-in-hand with an increased risk of fraudulent activities. To protect both your business and your customers, experts recommend using such tools as:

  • AI-based solutions for anomaly detection
  • Biometric authentication
  • IP address verification
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Tokenization

It is also crucial to educate your clients regarding the safety measures they need to undertake. For instance, you can remind them to be careful with the holiday-themed phishing emails or messages they could potentially be receiving.

7. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Integrated Commerce

If you still haven’t done it, make sure that your inventory management system is integrated with your payment processing system for the holiday season. This helps prevent overselling. and the consequent disappointment of the customers who discover their chosen items are out of stock after making a purchase.

8. Set Up a Responsive Customer Support System

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

It is crucial to increase customer support availability during peak periods. Have a dedicated team ready to address payment-related issues, answer inquiries, and provide assistance promptly. You can also implement AI-based chatbots to prevent human agents from being overloaded with tasks.

9. Conduct Load Testing

Don’t forget to perform load testing on your website and payment processing systems before the holiday rush. This will allow you to identify potential bottlenecks and check if your platform is ready to handle the influx of orders without downtime. Such a proactive approach can help you identify and address issues before they impact customers.

10. Apply Payment Data in Practice

Finally, it is absolutely crucial to implement the insights you’ve gathered from the payment data collected over the past years. If it is not available, you can base your strategy on market analysis.

With the right data at hand, you can launch custom promotions, improve your pricing policy, and boost customer engagement rates.

Bottom Line: The Importance of a Customer-Centric Approach

10 Tips for Boosting Client Satisfaction This Holiday Season

While this guide contains a variety of tips on how to tackle holiday sales effectively, they all ultimately highlight the importance of adopting a customer-centric approach. By using modern technology, keeping up with retail trends, and being attentive to details and data insights, you are sure to be able to build lasting relationships with customers, turning the chaotic holiday experience into an opportunity for sustained business growth.

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