We’re Halfway to the Holiday Season

Halfway to the Holiday Season

So Start Preparing Now

Yes, it’s still summer: The July 4 holiday weekend has just been celebrated, and Labor Day is still nearly two months away. However, we’re also halfway to the winter holiday season—and given the effort needed to properly prepare for it, now is the time to start getting ready. Start with these tips.

Introduce convenient payment platforms, so they will be up and running before the holiday rush.

Customers dislike standing in checkout lines in brick-and-mortar stores—no matter what the season. However, most are especially averse to doing so when they have a lot of holiday shopping to do. They may leave a store empty-handed if the wait to pay for merchandise seems too long—or not come in at all if they aren’t aware that your technology is up for the challenge of the holiday rush. That’s why now, rather than a few months from now, is a great time to implement a mobile point-of-sale system that lets you accept payments anywhere in the store.

The increasing popularity of e-commerce also makes now the right time to roll out technology that makes online holiday shopping (and shopping in general) as convenient and flexible as possible. Studies show that a majority of consumers want to choose from multiple online payment options; in fact, one study put 73 percent of Internet shoppers in this category. E-Complish offers several different solutions for online payment acceptance, including HostPay, a consumer e-commerce portal, and MobilePay, a smartphone/tablet app and website user interface.

Ensure that all payment processing solutions are PCI-compliant.

By some estimates, merchants rack up a double-digit portion of their sales during the holiday shopping season. No merchant wants to sacrifice such an important portion of sales—or any sales, for that matter—because its payment processing solutions and solutions provider do not comply with current standards. E-Complish was recently re-certified as compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) devised and enforced by the PCI-DSS Standards Council. The recertification marks 10 years of PCI accreditation for us, and we achieved the milestone while adhering to DSS 3.2, the strictest, most multi-factored version of PCI standards released to date.

Get your loyalty program in gear.

A good loyalty program induces customers to shop more frequently and to purchase more from a given store each time they visit. Introducing a loyalty program now, rather than later in the year, opens doors to more participants and increased profitability.

Keep in mind that a successful loyalty program extends beyond discounts and prizes to include a strong element of personalization (e.g., rewards based on consumers’ preferences. Use basic enrollment information, along with such information as customers’ sales histories, to personalize offers.

Put your merchandise orders in order.

It isn’t called “Christmas in July” for nothing. Order at least the first wave of holiday merchandise shipments, using last year’s sales figures as a guide and adjusting accordingly. As tempting as it may be to wait a bit longer to do this, resist and persist. You don’t want to take the chance that the items you wanted to feature will be out of stock later—and that you’ll inadvertently give your customers a chance to shop somewhere else for their holiday gift needs.

Plan holiday events and sales.

Which products and what kind of promotions will you spotlight for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday? During the season? The more lead time you have for planning—and as of now, you have a lot—the better the end-results of your efforts will be, There’s nothing wrong with kicking back and enjoying the summer. However,  a little time spent now to prepare for the holidays is time well spent.