During the holidays and throughout the year, it’s important that the payment experience be efficient, secure and reliable for both the customer and the business owner. With the major holiday shopping season a few months away, now is the time for business owners to plan for maximum sales results, while also taking a forward-looking approach to ensure sustained, long-term success.
What Payments Types Are Right for Your Business?
Imagine a customer waiting in a long line to pay, only to realize at the register that the retailer doesn’t accept the payment type presented. No one wants that to happen to them, and businesses don’t want to turn that customer away during the holidays or any other time. The good news is that, depending on your current capabilities, you may not need to overhaul your system to add or support new payment types.
Online or in-store, every customer purchase results in an interaction at the point of sale. Small business owners should not be afraid to call their payments processing partner to talk about what might be best for their business. Accepting the right mix of payments and having reliable, efficient and secure equipment helps create a positive experience for both customer and business all year long. For instance:
Give your gift cards a boost ~ Christmas is second only to birthdays when it comes to giving gift cards. In addition to providing great last-minute holiday gifts that extend the life of gift-giving seasons, prepaid gift cards create additional foot traffic, help generate brand awareness, increase same-store sales and add revenue from “uplift” on card redemption.
If you already offer gift cards, consider whether encouraging customers to reload will help keep your card in the top of their wallets. Gift card malls are increasingly popular places for customers to purchase cards. Another trend that is beginning to gain popularity is virtual “gifts.” Check with your program provider to find out whether it makes sense for you to get your card into the gift card malls and/or online.
Mobile payments are almost here ~ The mobile revolution is touching nearly all aspects of modern life, from how we play to how we pay. Google Wallet offers a fast, easy and simple way for consumers to pay with their phones. Updating your point-of-sale equipment to accept mobile payments is easier than you think. It may be a matter of adding a peripheral device to your existing system, which will help merchants to be ready once mobile commerce reaches critical mass.
Use social networking to sell ~ Social networking sites like Facebook present a huge opportunity to expand gifting programs to new channels. The eGift Social solution allows consumers to use Facebook to send virtual gift cards to friends and family. Consumers can choose to have their eGifts delivered as a Facebook post, sent via email or have a physical gift card mailed directly to the recipient.
Evaluate and upgrade point-of-sale (POS) and other equipment ~ Can your POS system handle the increased holiday traffic? An upgrade can mean greater flexibility in accepting payments and being ready for innovations in payments—potentially lowering infrastructure costs, decreasing customer wait times and making transaction processing more reliable and secure.
Take a multi-layered approach to reducing risk ~ Layered payment security is critical to helping protect sensitive payment card data. Because there is no single approach to security that can prevent or eliminate card data theft and fraud, four trends have been identified impacting payments that, together, are already shaping the way businesses protect their payments and customers, while also reducing the cost of complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
I’m still a bit skeptical about people opting into a system like Google Wallet, especially given how often people misplace their cell phones. In that scenario losing your phone would be just like losing your credit card (and all your contact info).
Andy @ FirstFound
Thanks Brian – some great advice and insight there.
Although I do agree with Robert (above) – things like Google Wallet seem like they’re accidents waiting to happen. I don’t think people will take to mobile payments for a long time.
Lara @ TheSmallBusinessBlogger
Google Wallet requires a PIN, just like you are using a debit card. So, even if your phone is lost or stolen, your information is secure. Just don’t use your date of birth as a PIN, please!
Also, from what I’m reading, this lost data is treated the same as a lost credit or debit card. As long as you report the loss immediately, you are not responsible for fraudulent charges.
Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains
Google wallet will probably be more of a factor for next years holiday shopping season; this year will be kind of a “test run.” With more people using smart phones in their everyday lives, we are becoming conditioned to using our phones for more than just calling and texting. Some airlines are using QR codes sent to your phone for boarding passes. It’s only a matter of time.