Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the surrounding sales days are some of the busiest days for merchants in the U.S. (and, increasingly, around the world).
As the holidays approach, it’s crucial to provide merchants with the most efficient and reliable payments experience possible. That means offering merchants in-store, online and mobile payments that are:
- Fast and user-friendly to keep business moving smoothly even at maximum capacity
- Flexible to allow customers to pay how they want
- Reliable to ensure system outages don’t impact sales
Black Friday, the holiday weekend and Cyber Monday are too important to your merchants’ annual revenue to risk disruption. Ensuring they have fast, flexible and reliable payment solutions will maximize their success and long-term loyalty.
Fast and User-Friendly: The Keys to Eliminating Congestion and Long Lines
Black Friday is a day of volume. In 2022, 53% of U.S. consumers did their holiday shopping on Black Friday. While a large percentage shop online to avoid lines and crowded aisles, many still prefer to shop in-store on Black Friday. This is true not just in the U.S. but around the globe.
For brick-and-mortar merchants, that means traffic. In 2022, 72.9 million shoppers visited stores on Black Friday, making it the busiest day of the year.
Increased traffic to a store means increased traffic to its checkouts. That’s a good thing if merchants are equipped to handle the rush. However, anything that slows down the shopping and checkout experience means less throughput, fewer sales and missed revenue—including slow payments.
For merchants to operate at capacity while maintaining a healthy turnover, the checkout process must be as fast and easy as possible for customers and cashiers.
Four practices that merchants must follow are:
- Offering contactless payment terminals that allow customers to quickly tap and pay
- Accepting digital wallet payments so customers can conveniently pay with a mobile device
- Using easy-to-use POS (point of sale) software (and ensuring it is up-to-date)
- Utilizing self-checkout systems with an intuitive interface and software to avoid long lines
Flexible: The Key to Maximizing Customer Satisfaction and Ongoing Loyalty
Cash or card is a question of the past. Today, consumers have a variety of payment options available to them both online and off, including digital wallets, text-to-pay, QR code payments, account-to-account (A2A) direct payments, buy-now-pay-later plans, POS financing and more.
These modern payment methods are becoming more mainstream. For instance, digital wallets are now the most common ecommerce payment method in North America and Europe, narrowly beating credit cards. Globally, they dominate.
Today’s consumers expect to be able to pay with next-gen options. Failing to meet that expectation is a surefire way to sour their experience. Worse still, with so many competitors offering big savings on Black Friday, customers who can’t pay how they want can easily go elsewhere.
Offering customers payment flexibility is crucial to promoting a positive shopping experience. That, in turn, ensures they’ll keep coming back even when there aren’t any major sales. While it isn’t always possible for merchants to offer every payment option, at a minimum, merchants should provide digital wallet payments in addition to traditional debit, credit and cash options.
Reliable: The Key to Having a Headache-Free Holiday Weekend
On September 7th, 2023, Square suffered a major outage for nearly a day, and many merchants could not take payments. This kind of outage could be catastrophic for small merchants who depend on holiday sales. A situation like this could also damage customer relationships when a holiday crowd of eager shoppers is suddenly unable to pay.
At best, the customer leaves for the day. At worst, they leave for good. As bad as the financial and customer impacts could be, it’s an even bigger nightmare for the employees and managers working the holiday.
To avoid this scenario, merchants must ensure their payment systems are as reliable as possible—not just on holidays like Black Friday, but every day. There are certain things you can do to maximize the reliability of your merchant’s payment systems, including:
- Choosing a stable partner: Selecting a payment services provider with a long history of frictionless, stable operations and uninterrupted uptime is the foundation of reliable payments
- Avoiding system failures: When Square went down, Cashapp—another one of its companies—did too. In-store merchants dependent on the Square ecosystem had no other option but cash. Online, they had none. Ensuring reliable payments means working with a payments partner that can offer you multiple options that don’t all depend on a single piece of software
- Prioritizing support: Sometimes things go wrong. When that happens, a merchant needs to be able to get help immediately. Access to dedicated one-on-one support with a familiar team or account manager should be a high priority when selecting a processing partner
- Using offline capability: Sometimes, the internet goes out. At home, it’s a minor inconvenience. For a merchant, it’s a nightmare. Some payment providers, like NMI, offer offline authorizations that enable merchants to accept credit cards without an internet connection. Payment data is stored locally and automatically sent for authorization as soon as the internet is restored
Finding the Right Partner to Meet Your Merchants’ Black Friday and Year-Round Payment Needs
Providing your merchants with outstanding service means ensuring they have the reliable payment solutions they need throughout the holidays. There is no better way to do that than by partnering with NMI. Our fully modular payments platform enables you to sell your merchants the omnichannel services they need, backed by a company with 20 years of experience delivering digital payments and driving cutting-edge innovation.
With over 200 payment processors and complete solutions covering in-store, ecommerce and mobile, NMI provides one-stop access to everything you need to offer your retail merchants the most user-friendly, flexible, reliable and modern payment options possible.
To find out more, reach out to a member of our team.