Holiday Season Preparation Tips for Merchants

Fall is the time of year that ushers in the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and retail businesses need to capitalize on this buying opportunity to become as profitable as possible.

This holiday retail season will be like never before. Customer expectations during this unique period require digital solutions that allow them to buy how, when, and where they want to. Shoppers expect a safe, trusted, and convenient experience – but how do retail merchants deliver on those expectations in a meaningful way? Retail merchants who design a digital sales strategy will see the best results.

Three Areas of Customer Behavior Changes in 2021

1. Safety

Last year, customer safety took shape with in-store cleaning procedures and maximum increased data security, touchless point-of-sale purchases, and interactions with brands they trust.

2. Convenience

In times past, convenience meant the ability to order goods online rather than purchase in store. Now, convenience means payments made with a desktop or mobile device with an omni-channel approach to transactions. Customers want to pay how they want, from wherever they are, and at any time of the day.

3. Personalization

Personalizing used to mean identifying a customer by name as they read an advertisement. Today, personalization means collecting insights on customer behavior to better assist them with their next purchases. Customers want merchants to know what they want to buy and help steer them in the right direction on future purchases.

Tips to Meet Customer Expectations This Holiday Season

Meeting customer expectations can be daunting to merchants, but some easy shifts in data strategy can improve the success of the holiday season.

  1. Implement value exchange for personalization – Value exchange is when merchants offer something of value to their customers (i.e. discounts, free shipping, a better experience, etc.) to gain a crucial piece of information for identification such as an email address or phone number. This allows merchants to easily identify returning customers and build trust between themselves and their clients. Even better, it allows merchants to target those customers directly and reward them by personalizing each interaction. And those customers typically come back for return business.
  2. Add “security” around strategy – Consumers are always looking for security and privacy when it comes to purchases. Retailers can utilize various elements of the marketing and purchasing cycle to remind clients from the start that they have their client’s best interest at heart. Implementing value exchange around privacy builds trust and provides merchants with valuable data about their customers.
  3. Seamless technology that can collect and report on customer insights – In the current digital world, data is plentiful and coming at merchants from all angles. Having merchant technology platforms on the same page to collect and store data is crucial. Insights on customer behavior is essential to see complete pictures of each customer and enable merchants to activate outreach campaigns in real time.
  4. Prepare for hiccups during the sales cycle – Merchants who think through and prepare for the hiccups that come with the season will have a better outcome. Having an email campaign ready that apologizes for an item being out of stock, understanding where a consumer might have trouble on a website and fixing it, or making a transaction available on a mobile device may be crucial to show customers that a merchant cares and ultimately helps retains their business.

Do you have the right digital sales strategy? Contact chamber partner i3 Verticals Merchant Solutions to find out more or to get a free estimate on payment processing services. Reach out – there’s nothing to lose!