The year-end holiday season is almost here. Some would argue that it is already upon us. And what a hectic, hope-filled time it is. With omnichannel commerce already in place for many retailers and in development for others, shoppers looking for great deals on just the right holiday gifts, decorations and more have an increasing array of choices for when, how and where they shop.
These eager, often stressed shoppers love convenience, and they love to share their experiences with friends. They talk about their purchases online and off, particularly the best and worst of them. This applies to the choice of products and services, as well as to the payment options offered.
Helping merchants improve their products and services didn't used to be in the ISO/MLS wheelhouse. However, the sophisticated systems payment pros bring to merchants today can help merchants make sound, data-based decisions and operate their businesses more efficiently. For example, data might show a retailer had unusually strong sales Black Friday morning last year, so the merchant could consider opening an hour earlier on that day this year to capitalize on what might be a trend.
When it comes to payment types, ISOs and MLSs are the established experts. It's likely you know exactly what the systems you recommend can and can't do. And now is an excellent time to check in with merchants to makes sure they are taking advantage of the powerful benefits of the system you already helped them choose.
Merchants implementing new POS systems have a lot on their minds. And they often have limited time to get their systems up and running. They might have only a vague recollection of features that could serve them well now. Reminding them, for example, of the contactless capability that comes along with their system and helping them train staff on how to accept mobile wallet and contactless card payments might reduce friction for a key demographic – and add to a merchant's positive buzz.
You can also make sure merchants have sufficient POS functionality for the holidays, such as tablet devices employees can use as roving POSs to keep long lines from forming at stationary POSs.
While you're at it, find out whether merchants who have CRM functionality are actually using it. For instance, merchants can send out special holiday-themed offers, as well as personalized messages and updates on extended hours during the season – and then watch their foot and/or web traffic increase.
And remember to ask merchants if they've checked the status of their online reputations lately, and guide them on addressing inaccuracies if they exist. It's a good idea for merchants to ask satisfied customers to leave online reviews, as well.
You probably have additional ideas that are specific to each of your best customers. The important thing is to let them know you are there, and then follow through with assistance when issues arise. This will dramatically increase the likelihood the year-end holidays will be happy and profitable for your merchants – and for you
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