5 steps to a better payments experience during the holiday season

Published · 3 min read

The holiday season is a busy time for retailers. Can your payments solution handle the traffic? Try these tips for a great in-store and online payments experience.

The holiday season means an influx of shoppers filing into your store and visiting your website to shop for gifts or traditional holiday items from food to decorations – all simultaneously and for longer periods of time. Is your payment solution sturdy enough to get your customers through each sale without longer-than-expected wait times? Going a step further – can your payment solution delight your customers by offering a customer experience beyond their expectations?

If you haven’t considered what your customers think about your checkout process, now is a great time to start. Research from our Payments Landscape Report shows that 90% of the 1,000 consumers we surveyed say it’s important for businesses to offer a diverse range of payment methods, and 58% say they are more likely to shop somewhere that offers multiple ways to pay. Moreover, 56% say their shopping behaviour toggles between online and in-store, so it’s best to be prepared wherever they decide to make the actual purchase.

In-store: Prepare for queue times

While some may thrive off the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, the majority of customers don’t enjoy waiting in line for anything, much less to give you their money. Our research shows that long queues could be costing retailers as much as £3,581 per day in lost revenue. If you expect a larger crowd than usual:

  • Beef up on staff so you can take payments and help customers simultaneously. Customers will still have questions about your products and you’ll want to give them as much attention as you give the ones who are ready to buy. With more staff, you can better manage your customers at any stage in the buyer’s journey.
  • Bring the checkout to the customer with a mobile device or wireless POS. Instead of waiting in line, your staff can bring a mobile checkout device to the customer to speed up their service and elevate their experience with your business.

At any rate, be sure your staff is adequately trained on how to use your checkout equipment quickly and correctly. No matter how high-tech it is, it’s pointless if no-one understands how it works.

Online: Simplify your payments page

The story online is no different, with the average British retailer losing £37,000 per year from abandoned baskets. Confusing or malfunctioning payments pages are among the top reasons. Here are some tips from Sage’s team of developers to make your payments page easier for customers:

  1. Create online shortcuts to pay to make inputting key information easer. Flag errors as customers go through the payment form instead of waiting until the end and forcing them to scroll to find a mistake. Use credit card type recognition: MasterCard always starts with two digits in the 51-55 range; Visa with 4 and AmEx with 34 or 37.
  2. Always think mobile-friendly. Our Payments Landscape Report shows there’s been a 68% increase in mobile payments in the last six months. Customers fully expect to be able to seamlessly complete their transaction from their mobile device – anything else could cost you the sale. That said, your payments page should be touch-friendly with little need to zoom in or pinch out.It’s also a nice touch to make it easy for customers to resume their shopping where they left off in case they’re on-the-go and need to pick back up later. Offer emailing options to send a link to their shopping cart to themselves.
  3. Speed up screen load time by reducing the number of elements on each page – experts say that for every one-second download delay, your dropout rate increases from 7-10%.

The holiday season can also be a busy season for hackers and card scammers. Protect your customer data and your business’ reputation my ensuring your payments gateway provider includes real-time analytics as a standard. Here are a few more things you should consider when choosing a payments gateway.

Lastly, for a sense-check on how much clunky payment experiences could be costing your business today, try our self-check tool to see where and how you could save money and make your customers happy.

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