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4 Steps to Ensure Payment Success This Holiday Season

December 14, 2011 By Brian Goudie
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Any last-minute efforts to prepare and strategize can make a real impact this holiday season, but perhaps the most important area to focus on is payments. Simply put, a business can’t make money if it can’t accept money. It’s important that the payment experience be efficient, secure and reliable for both the customer and the merchant. Here are some easy ways to prepare for the holidays:

1. Take a look at your point of sale. Is it organized? Are all the necessary supplies in stock? Does it offer a convenient shopping experience? Retailers need to be able to address the entire spectrum of payment options and the unique needs of their customers.

The good news is that updating point-of-sale equipment is easier than most retailers think. An upgrade can mean greater flexibility in accepting payments and being ready for innovations in payments, potentially lowering infrastructure costs, decreasing customer wait times and making transaction processing more reliable and secure.

2. Get creative with gift cards. Prepaid gift cards can drive foot traffic, provide great last-minute gift ideas and extend the life of important gift-giving seasons. They can also help with your bottom line. In fact, consumers are opening their wallets and spending more on merchant gift cards, with the average merchant gift card value increasing by over 70 percent compared to 2010.

The average amount spent on merchant gift cards has increased $130, according to First Data’s 2011 Prepaid Consumer Insights study. Nearly one-third of consumers are likely to purchase a gift card to substitute for a gift that's out of stock, providing retailers with the opportunity to keep the purchase within their store.

The study also noted that birthday and Christmas cards are the most common merchant purchase occasions. Most gift cards are being given as gifts to friends and family members. Gift cards benefit the recipient by allowing them to select a gift of their own choosing as well as treat themselves by purchasing an item they didn't plan to purchase with their own money.

3. Go mobile with payments. The mobile revolution is touching nearly all aspects of modern life, from how we play to how we pay. Google Wallet offers a fast, easy and simple way for consumers to pay with their smartphones. Updating point-of-sale equipment to accept mobile payments may be a matter of adding a peripheral device to an existing system, which will help retailers to be ready once mobile commerce reaches a critical mass.


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