Preparing your business for a COVID Holiday season
Companies are gearing up for a holiday season that, quite frankly, will be like no other. Is your business prepared?
COVID has certainly challenged businesses of all types and sizes to rethink the way products and services are made available to their customers. Through these challenges, there have been numerous innovations and improvements that will outlast COVID.
As we look ahead to the holiday season, it's a great time to review your payment solutions and how your customers prefer to purchase from your business over the next few weeks and into 2021.
We've covered contactless payments and the benefits of contactless through out many of our articles and blog posts. Contactless payments allow customers to pay through various methods such as smart devices and wearables without any contact from another person or payment terminal. It’s easy to justify the use of this technology during a time in which we are social distancing, but what other benefits does contactless provide?
If you are a brick and mortar business, seasonal or not, there is no better time to introduce tap-to-pay (contactless) in your locations. The limitations on stores will undoubtedly remain in effect when it comes to the number of customers in-store at one time. As a result, it will lead to longer wait times and longer lines and you don't want to give your customers a reason to walk away from your store. Offering contactless will keep your customers moving through the checkout line faster and payment terminal sanitization practices are reduced, allowing you to get more people in and out of your business each day. Your business will save time on every transaction and your customer experience and satisfaction will improve.
Security concerns with Contactless
It's important to point out that the security of contactless follows the same guidelines as EMV Chip cards. Fraud remains low with contactless payments and the only difference between contactless and EMV is that you must insert your card into the payment terminal with the EMV chip whereas Contactless is waived over the terminal. The extra advantage of contactless over EMV is that the card never leaves the possession of the consumer which means a lower risk of leaving it in the terminal.
How are your customers adapting to the effects of COVID 19? As we start to think about our normal buying habits with grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, midnight outings on Black Friday, ordering by computer on Cyber Monday, and so on. Businesses will need to adapt as consumers have to make sure we cater to the current environment.
How will your business proactively prepare for online shoppers?
If your online store is relatively new to your customers and you have taken all precautions and compliance measures for secure online transactions, it may be beneficial to reach out to your loyal customers to introduce your safe and secure online store. Proactively planning communications now whether your message is to come in-store or purchase online, share promotional offers, or to share your support for them through the COVID holiday season, it will assist in additional online revenue.
An important asterisk to online business*
If you do plan on receiving higher volumes of online shoppers this season, contact your merchant services provider or card processor. It's best if they know that you expect an increase in online business. If you fail to make them aware, it may lead to funds being held and/or delayed as it may appear fraudulent or suspicious.
Going back to the opening message that businesses are expanding the ways they accommodate customers, there is no question that pickup, delivery, and curbside will be in over-drive during the holiday months. Whether you’re in the food & beverage, grocery, or any business that has the infrastructure for mobile solutions, you’re probably already preparing for higher volumes. Technology plays a large role in successful on-the-go applications. Buying this technology and hiring the resources to go along with it may not be a possibility all at one time. If you’re in need of additional line temporary line busting devices or mobile payment terminals, there are payment providers that offer rental services. Reach out for more information about rental agreements and the terms available.
Gift cards are a great way for businesses to receive revenue and transact quickly. It’s anticipated that COVID will cause a surge in the amount of Gift card purchases. Take advantage of gift cards and be prepared this holiday by stocking them in an area near your point-of-sale. eCommerce retailers can also benefit from offering eGift cards and it’s important to make these easily accessible to consumers.
Cash Discount & Surcharge Programs
We can’t deny the global shift from cash payments to card payments. The fees associated with card acceptance continue to chip away at business profits. The holiday season will likely follow this trend which leaves many businesses considering cash discount or surcharge programs. As cash discount programs become more widespread and business owners see the value, there will be more and more merchants moving towards this program. Advancements in technology such as Aurora’s proprietary cash discount software, Rise Free, eliminates card processing costs with a EMV smart, secure & compliant pos terminal.