With the holiday shopping season officially under way, many U.S. merchants are rushing to upgrade their point-of-service (POS) systems in anticipation of the pre-Christmas rush.
If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to implement the following best practices to maximize sales during this year’s holiday shopping season:
1. Become EMV Compliant
Short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa — EMV credit cards have already become the standard payment technology in most parts of the world. These more secure credit cards won’t become mandatory in the U.S. until the 2015 holiday season. But merchants who don't update their terminals in the meantime face a much higher risk of credit card fraud (and losses).
Don't take this tip lightly. The holiday season is precisely when fraudulent activity is highest.
As an added benefit, your retail store will also do a much better job of targeting foreign shoppers visiting from abroad. The majority of them already have EMV plastic in their wallets, and they'll appreciate the greater security that your retail store offers.
2. Expand Your Online Presence
Online shopping continues to increase at an incredible rate, with some reports citing 37 percent increases (year after year) on the weekend just before Christmas.
Why bother with holiday traffic and madness when customers can shop from the comfort of their own homes?
Setting up an online store is easier than you think. If you currently accept credit cards within your retail store, you already have a merchant account. And there are countless hosted payment forms and payment gateways to help you get started.
3. Offer More in-Store Payment Options
If taking your products online sounds too difficult, then invest in more payment options within your brick & mortar store. The benefits of this approach include shorter lines, faster purchases and more point-of-purchase opportunities within your store.
Below are two of the most popular options merchants usually explore:
- Mobile credit card processing (using tablets and smartphones coupled with portable credit card readers)
- Mobile payments (using contactless payment technology like near field communication)
Just be sure that all additional payment options are EMV-ready.
4. Pre-Holiday Training for Staff
Adding new payment options or more secure processing technologies is pointless if your employees don’t understand how to use them properly. This is why it is essential that you train all of your staff how to:
- Accept EMV credit cards (click here for training tips)
- Handle contactless payments safely and securely
- Process mobile credit card transactions
- Issue returns and chargebacks (using all of the above)
This employee training must happen before the holiday season begins.
Need Additional Help before the Holiday Rush?
Updating your POS system may seem daunting at first. Black Friday is not far off, and you have so many other things on your plate.
But the above are investments that pay for themselves — especially when you factor in the higher profit potential that a more streamlined payment system offers.
If you need help making the transition, use the free links below: