4 ways merchants can keep up with Christmas card payments

Small Business Advice 1 December 2017

 

 

You’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but before you even catch your breath, comes that most hectic time of the year: Christmas.

Despite the gloomy post-Brexit atmosphere, both 2016 and 2017 saw Christmas spending increase at the last minute. 2018 may well see a similar pattern, so it’s time to make sure that you’re prepared with a few tips to help you thrive.

 

1. Make sure you’re ready for the mobile revolution

Online sales continue growing, and one area is really taking off: mobile shopping.

Orders from Smartphones rose to 49.7% of all online retail spending in 2017, compared to 42.3% in 2016. The trend is set to continue, so make sure your business is ready to meet demand. Ensure your site is optimised for a mobile experience and mobile payments.

Find out more about setting up online card payments.

 

2. Embrace Contactless technology to reduce queueing time

We’ve all battled our way through Christmas crowds, found the perfect gift and then looked in horror at the queue length. 45% of shoppers admit to leaving a business empty-handed as it took too long to be served.

So bust queues effortlessly with a contactless card reader – it’s the fastest way to pay for items costing up to £30. In fact, contactless can also be used to pay for items over £30.

Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are all contactless payment methods that let customers make payments in excess of the £30 contactless limit. This is because additional verification is needed when paying by Smartphone, making it even more secure. 

 

3. Give your customers more payment options

People shop in all sorts of ways, and opening up different payment channels to suit your customers’ habits can help to boost satisfaction and sales during the holiday period.

According to our latest research, more than 50% of consumers would walk out of small businesses offering cash-only payments suggesting that paying by card isn’t something consumers are only used to but are beginning to expect. Accepting Contactless payments in your business is becoming essential.

Beyond the obvious benefits of having an online payment system, there are plenty of other ways you take card payments, based on the way you run your business:

Virtual terminals

You can process transactions and take payments over the phone quickly and efficiently, which is ideal for customers who don’t use or have access to a computer. Over the phone payments are also handy for pre-orders so that both you and your customers can save time.

Mobile card machines

If your business operates from different locations, such as Christmas fairs or markets, a mobile card machine allows you to take payments from anywhere in the UK.

Portable card machines

Great for busy settings like restaurants or cafes, your staff can take a portable card machine directly to the customer, cutting wait times and increasing your efficiency.

Enable integrated payments

The busiest time of the year can also be the costliest time if your card machine isn’t directly connected to your till.

For each transaction, a sum has to be entered into the card machine and again at the till. This causes mistakes: 38% of small businesses report weekly revenue loss due to mis-keyed figures. What’s entered in the terminal doesn’t match what’s entered in the till and the result is a loss. It doesn’t make for a happy Christmas.

Not unless you enable integrated payments, which eliminate this problem.

By keeping your till and card machine linked via the cloud, you need only enter numbers once. All our customers receive Connect, our integrated payments technology, free. So the only thing they stand to lose is loss itself.

 

4. Prepare your staff

Christmas can be relentless for staff manning the front lines. It’s worth taking some time before the mayhem begins to ensure everyone’s comfortable and confident using your card machines. This is especially so if you’ve hired extra help for the season.

 

Organise a training session

Review the basics of using your machine, along with tasks like issuing a refund or processing a discount. During trading hours, make sure an experienced member of staff is available to help in case anyone gets stuck, and keep the customer service number for your terminal in an obvious place in case you need support. Our technical support lines are open for you, 24/7.

 

Follow best practices when taking card payments

According to our latest survey, 29% of consumers like to see what’s going on with their card at all times so make sure your staff:

  • don’t take the card and move away from the customer
  • always show the amount they charge to customers paying by card
  • always ask the customers if it’s OK to tap the Contactless card on their behalf.

Preparing your business for the busyness of the festive season is all about looking for ways to make every transaction run that little bit smoother. Having a payment system that best suits both you and your customers is key.

 

With Paymentsense, you can order a new terminal in three days, and open a payment gateway in under 24 hours.

Get a free quote today and prepare to make the most of the Christmas shopping season.

Read more:

Your complete guide to accepting card payments as a small business

 

How to increase your sales at Christmas

 

Research: Over half of consumers will support SMEs as Christmas approaches

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