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Payment Solutions for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

Signs point to a merry holiday season for retailers in 2021 – including small and medium-sized (SMB) brick-and-mortar shops. However, don’t think this shift means a dip in online shopping now that the COVID-19 pandemic has set consumer expectations for omnichannel capabilities.

Get the word out to your clients about these holiday shopping trends, how to deliver the experiences customers are looking for, and how to maximize revenues. 

1. Return to Brick and Mortar

Holiday Shopping SeasonAfter a largely digital shopping season last year, consumers are enthusiastic about the return of brick-and-mortar shopping. In fact, according to a recent study by Escalent, a human behavior and analytics advisory firm, 61 percent of consumers want to shop in-store as they did before COVID-19. However, 58 percent of these same consumers plan to take all the health and safety precautions, which includes using contactless payments for making their purchases.

  • Contactless Payments
    Contactless transactions for in-store purchases are on the list of 2021 holiday shopping trends, but your clients should acknowledge that even though adoption has been slow, this isn’t a fad. A Fiserv survey shows that 42 percent of consumers view tap-and-go credit card transactions as the safest way to pay while also being more convenient and secure.

  • Line-busting with Tablets or Mobile devices
    According to a study conducted by TimeTrade, 3 in 4 companies wind up losing out on sales when customers decide to go elsewhere as a result of lengthy wait times, often spent in line. So make sure your merchants can support line-busting with tablets, mobile PIN Pads (such as the VP3300, Hera51, Link/2500, Move/5000, etc) or via consumer’s smart phones.

  • QR Code Payments
    The chip shortage has PIN pads in increasingly short supply, which could make upgrading to contactless payments or line-busting a challenge if a merchant has waited until now. However, they can give consumers touchless payment experiences by leveraging QR code payment solutions. This technology allows merchants to print or display a QR code that consumers scan with their smartphones, opening a safe and secure page to complete the transaction.

2. Online Shopping Shows No Sign of Slowing

Merchants have been moving towards delivering an omnichannel shopping experience for nearly a decade, but the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that giving consumers the option to engage on any channel is a must-have for competitive businesses. In fact, 56 percent of consumers shop more online than they did before the pandemic.

When it comes to 2021 holiday shopping, merchants need to anticipate that while their aisles may be full of foot traffic, that doesn’t mean that their e-commerce transactions will show any sign of slowing down.

3. M-commerce On the Rise

Another significant 2021 holiday shopping trend is m-commerce, aka shopping and paying on a consumer’s mobile device. In the last six months, 79 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be using their phones for holiday shopping as well.  

Merchants need to ensure that the mobile shopping experiences they provide are mobile-friendly, or they may risk losing out on some revenue. Remind your clients that they need to cater to shoppers who prefer to use their phones to browse, order, and pay, including optimizing their online shopping carts for payments with mobile wallets for the greatest convenience.

4. Inventory Management Has Never Been More Crucial

Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages will most likely lead to SKU counts being down this holiday season. Therefore, accurate and real-time inventory management will be critical to helping merchants pivot to a merchandising strategy that will have the least business impact when it comes to out-of-stocks. Additionally, managing returns quickly and accurately can help maximize sales – an omnichannel payments platform that enables a merchant to easily accept online order returns in-store can get products back on shelves and in someone else’s cart more quickly.

5. Brace for BOPIS on Black Friday

Retail analysts also expect buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup options to dominate on the busiest shopping days of the season–starting with Black Friday. During the 2020 holiday season, curbside pickup accounted for about 25 percent of all orders.

Your clients should optimize their processes now to ensure that online orders and pick up at the store are fast and convenient.

Bottom Line: Merchants Need to Be Ready for Anything

Shoppers want all options–from how they shopped before the pandemic to the new habits they’ve developed since. The takeaway for ISVs and VARS regarding 2021 holiday shopping trends is that consumers will look for the most convenient way to shop and pay – and your clients need the technology that supports all of them.

If your clients are looking for new options to provide competitive shopping experiences and align with 2021 holiday shopping trends, contact Datacap Systems.

It's not too late to add omnichannel payments for the holiday shopping season!