How To Maximize eCommerce Profits During A Challenging Holiday Season

Maximize profits during a challenging holiday season.The Holiday shopping season is roaring towards us at full speed. But this year is going to be particularly challenging for marketers and consumers alike. If marketers want to maximize eCommerce profits, an e-Commerce site and payment processing tune-up is the perfect start.

The busy summer season is behind us, and without a day of rest, holiday shopping is already in full swing. Each holiday shopping season brings an influx of in-store and online business, as well as more opportunity for fraud. 

Normally, businesses take this time during the shoulder season to take a deep breath and make sure the business is in shape for the holiday marathon. But this year, the holiday season is going to be more challenging than ever. Normally, you’re probably hiring extra staff, but businesses all over are experiencing staff shortages. Businesses begin beefing up inventory and stocking shelves, but supply chain problems have them scrambling to keep stocked. Is your business prepared to handle the pressure? 

This is a perfect time to tidy up your processes. To maximize success this year, businesses will have to find creative ways to overcome current challenges. They’ll need to find new and unique ways to engage customers. And they’ll have to update policies and procedures, as well as platform functionality. 

Now more than ever, businesses must be ready for the onslaught of ecommerce payments. For many businesses, this will include things like making sure your payment system, payment options, and terminals are ready for the flood. Mobile readiness will be paramount. Contactless payments functionality is a must. 

Beefing up fraud prevention measures and taking steps to combat chargebacks will also take center stage if merchants want a smooth and prosperous holiday season.

What does this Holiday season have in store?

The holiday season may be the “most wonderful time of the year”, but it is also the busiest, craziest and most stressful time of the year for many business owners. But this holiday season is going to be very different from the holiday seasons of our past.

According to recent Deloitte projections, holiday sales could total $1.28 to $1.3 trillion from November to January 2021. They also expect e-commerce sales to continue to grow, resulting in sales reaching between $210 billion and $218 billion.

The holidays will bring lingering COVID burdens

However, we are also dealing with health concerns, inflation, and shipping delays. Health conditions and regulations are in constant influx. And merchants are concerned about the impact these situations could have on holiday shopping. 

Black Friday has fallen out of favor with most merchants taking this time to change the narrative surrounding these deep discount days. In addition, polls show that 78% of marketers say Cyber Monday isn't pertinent to their business. Merchants are starting their campaigns earlier this year than they did last year. 

Shoppers know that deep discounts won’t be there this year. Media has been warning shoppers about supply chain problems and labor shortages. They’re expecting to find limited inventory and exceptionally long shipping times. Because of this, holiday shopping will start much earlier this year. Predictions reveal that consumers will begin holiday shopping many weeks before usual and slowing near thanksgiving.

Shoppers are also spending their money on different channels, such as creating family experiences instead of presents. People are booking hotel rooms and trips at higher rates than previous years during this time.

With hard to find items, shipping delays, limited staff, customers are bound to have a more frustrating shopping season than they’d like. If marketers want to maximize sales this year, they need to start earlier and find new ways to increase customer engagement.

Merchants must find a way to ease frustration and disappointment so they don't lose loyal customers 

E-Commerce is stronger than ever, but Mobile commerce is now the norm

Shoppers are staying home. Is your eCommerce business ready for the onslaught of online shopping?

Do you offer traditional brick and mortar sales as well as online sales through your website? Are you set up to accept mobile payment options as well as online purchasing? Is your server ready to handle the spike in traffic?

Consumers have made a continued and steady move towards online buying in all categories. And there is no indication that will change in the future. 

Consumer demand for convenience is also seen in every part of the customer experience. They’ve demonstrated their affinity for the convenience of BOPIS and curbside pickup. Another thing that is expected to endure long after we finally get back to normal.

Customers want more flexibility and they want free shipping. They want to pay using payment methods that are most convenient for them. These are all issues that increase shopping cart abandonment. High shipping rates, slow shipping, inflexible return and refund policies only serve to cause customers to leave without hitting that “buy” button.

I hate to say “pivot”, but merchants will need to rethink many of their current processes to make them more customer-centric. They will need to update and increase payment options. Make sure they can accept mobile payments as well as contactless payments. Merchants should update refund, return, and shipping policies to reduce customer frustration. 

Shoppers continue to embrace mobile commerce.

Just as e-commerce continues to grow, so does mobile use as the avenue to access online shopping. There are upwards of 4.17 billion internet users globally. M-commerce statistics found that 91% of internet users are gaining access online using mobile devices. In fact, mobile ecommerce is expected to account for 72.9% market share of all eCommerce sales this year, according to Oberlo. 

However, when asked what frustrates mobile shoppers the most, security concerns and mobile compatibility were the top two answers. Nothing irritates a prospective customer more than pages that don’t fit the screen and links that are too small to click. 

If you haven't already, it's time to optimize every aspect of your site for mobile compatibility. Mobile payments cannot be ignored and the importance of being mobile ready cannot be overstated. And don't forget your Social Media channels! While they are already mobile compatible, are they maximized for mobile payments across all channels?

Holiday season is also ripe for ecommerce fraud - every year

Being the busiest time of the year also means that there is ample opportunity for hackers to capitalize on the situation. You might feel like you're too busy to deal with software updates and implementations this time of year. But taking measures to combat fraud prior to the busiest time of year will help businesses maximize profits. Especially at a time when operating costs are rising.

Update fraud prevention and complete PCI Compliance.

Make sure that your fraud prevention implementations are up to date! It’s one of the simplest things a business can do to mitigate fraud. But it's also something that most proprietors don’t stay on top of. 

Make sure you are regularly updating your firewalls, utilizing encryption with your servers and monitoring your system on a regular basis.

Always complete your annual PCI Compliance validation. This allows a third party assessor to identify any areas that may have a weakness by performing a reverse scan of the payment environment. Then just be ready to address any known security recommendations they give you.

It is also important to educate your staff on how to recognize potentially fraudulent situations. Train your staff on company policies for fraud and theft. Train them to recognize red flags that might indicate someone is trying to complete a fraudulent transaction. You may have a secure site, but are you doing all you can to catch fraudulent transactions before they happen? If you haven't implemented fraud prevention software on your eCommerce site, now is the time. As a payments solution provider, it is our top priority to make sure our merchants and their customers are protected from fraud. Fraudsters are increasingly more savvy, fraud mitigation software creates another strong barrier.

Maximize profits by nipping chargebacks in the bud

TeCommerce businesses better get ready for a big year of returns and credit card chargebacks.ake advantage of Chargeback Prevention Solutions available to you from your merchant service provider. The holidays are ripe with credit card fraud as well as what we call “friendly fraud”. 

True cyber criminals take advantage of this time of year precisely because it is so busy. Businesses don’t have time to manage their chargebacks or look for “red flags” in sales. But we also see significant increases in “friendly fraud” incidents. Studies show that 81% of your very own customers filed a chargeback with their credit card company “simply out of convenience”. This scenario is the definition of “friendly fraud”.  

Chargebacks cost businesses about $5 billion a year. When your customer files a chargeback, you lose both the merchandise you gave them and the payment for the item. But merchants also lose chargeback fees imposed by the acquiring bank. Not only are they costly and time-consuming, they also increase your chance of getting your merchant account flagged, considered “high risk” or worse- shut down! 

But much of this can be mitigated simply by providing better communication and customer service during and after the sale and implementing a Chargeback Prevention Solution. Let the system do the work for you. With this service, you’ll be notified any time a customer files a chargeback with their card issuing bank. The bank will allow you a sufficient amount of time to contact the purchaser and attempt to resolve the situation. This gives you the power to handle the return or exchange and create a happy customer. 

Solving issues before they become a chargeback also saves your merchant account from a high chargeback ratio. You save not only your profits, but potentially, a happy customer.

Dial in your gift card program. What? You don’t have a gift card program?

The holidays are the perfect time to start a store branded gift card program if you don’t already have one. This year, marketers are tapping into new ways to increase customer engagement. Gift cards benefit your business as well as help you increase your clientele and boost profits.

It is the holiday season, and that means that half of all gift card sales will occur in the next 60 days (about $50 billion dollars). Tempt your customers to buy their gift cards presents specifically for your store. Why would they give a generic Visa gift card when they could give a more personal one? Merchants can also use them to encourage customers to do more holiday shopping with you. One example would be to offer a $10 gift card when they come in and spend $50, and so on. But, gift cards are also a nice way to thank your current clients or customers for their patronage. And it’s a nice holiday surprise for them!

Increase profits by giving your credit card processing solution a tune-upeCommerce customers want flexibility and  the payment options to pay the way they want.

The last thing you might be thinking about right now is calling your merchant service provider, but it is exactly what you should be doing! It's our job to make sure you can provide your customers with every payment option they desire. It's our job to protect the security of your payment transactions. And it's our job to help you maximize your ability to accept the payments that ultimately make your business profitable.

Don’t wait until your sales are going through the roof to find out you don’t have what you need, can’t handle the inundation, or just plain can’t offer your patrons what they want. Set yourself up for success from the beginning by planning ahead with your trusted merchant service provider.

You want to have a successful and profitable holiday season. Your customers want to have a seamless and satisfying buying experience. And MonerePay wants to help you make that happen for you and for your customers. 

Whether you want to make sure you can take all kinds of payment types, order your gift cards or just make sure your system is as secure as it can be, plan ahead and call today. 

We can help make sure that everyone has a smooth and wonderful holiday season.


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