As the 2020 holiday season shifts into high gear, it carries the hopes of small and midsize business owners—many of whom have struggled to stay afloat during a global pandemic. This year’s holidays have a different look and feel than others in years past. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales exceeded expectations as businesses remained shuttered or at limited capacity.
Amidst this new reality, merchants strive to meet consumers where they shop while protecting them from fraud and identity theft. To do so, merchants must quickly become native in eCommerce and other digital payment methods to provide a secure, frictionless customer experience. Merchants are pivoting their business models to meet the demand for touchless commerce. SMBs across all sectors are learning that Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, live chat, and contactless payments can boost customer confidence. Following are additional recommendations for successfully navigating peak selling season.
Adopt New Payment Technologies
Merchants must assess their payment infrastructures to keep up with the accelerated pace of digital commerce adoption. As consumers increasingly avoid handling cash and POS touchpoints, merchants need to offer touchless alternatives such as eWallets, contactless payments, and mobile apps. Merchants may find it necessary to upgrade back-end capabilities to meet these demands and add local payment options for global customers.
In addition to supporting contactless and digital commerce in physical locations, payment infrastructures must provide secure, frictionless checkouts online. Hosted payment pages that process transactions through secure gateways reduce threats and keep customer data out of PCI scope. These forms require minimal coding and can be branded for a consistent shopping experience. Additional capabilities such as OneClick and Click-N-Pay options and digital identity verification can speed transaction times, reduce keystrokes, and improve shopping cart conversion rates.
Prepare for Increased Fraud Potential
Digital commerce had been scaling globally even before the coronavirus pandemic shifted mobile apps, eCommerce, and contactless payments into high gear. As consumers flock to digital channels during ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns, cyber threats have risen in direct proportion to increased online activity. Fraudulent activity doubled in 2020, reflecting an increase in human and automated attacks against work-from-home environments and newly minted eCommerce shoppers.
The uptick in Card-Not-Present transactions has also increased the potential for CNP fraud. Merchants need advanced fraud prevention systems to protect cardholder environments and customers. Many business owners have found it advantageous to work with payment providers that offer security and fraud protection. These built-in features monitor, detect, and mitigate customer account takeovers, chargebacks, and other types of attacks.
Diversify Products and Services
Throughout this unprecedented year, consumers have continued to shop at brick-and-mortar stores while substantially cutting back on cash usage and payment methods that require physical contact. Small and midsize businesses have been forced to shift routines and payment infrastructures to meet changing customer expectations. Merchants have found that BOPIS and curbside pickup services can help expand customer reach; many plan to continue these practices even after the holiday season and pandemic-related business shutdowns have ended.
Today’s consumers expect a personalized shopping experience. Diversifying products and services can help merchants appeal to a broad base of online, in-store, and mobile shoppers and their varying payment preferences. Retail and hospitality businesses can further leverage new sales channels by adding fast, secure, and cost-effective new services such as mobile apps, SMS payments, ACH, online banking e-payments, and account-to-account transactions.
For more than 20 years, OmniFund has helped large and small business owners solve complex problems with secure, simple, and scalable processing technology. Find out how you can meet today’s challenges and be ready for tomorrow with OmniFund’s Payments as a Platform® and personalized support. Discover the OmniFund difference today.