Can you believe the festive period is just three short months away?
With everything that's been going on in the world, last Christmas seems like a million years ago. But it's that time of the year again when shoppers are gearing up for the usual Christmas shopping spree and enjoying some festive cheer after a challenging year.
So with customers primed to start spending some money, is it time to look into upgrading your payment system to take all the new payment methods your customers might use?
Customers don't just shop at their local shopping centre with cash anymore.
They shop over the phone and online, with all their payment details loaded into their smartphones and digital wallets.
Can your business cater for this?
With Christmas being the busiest time for many shops and online businesses, it's important you're prepared.
Let's see what options are available and how they can benefit you over the Christmas period.
More shoppers than ever are using their smartphones and mobile devices to make payments in-store.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers (62%) would now prefer to pay through a mobile wallet, compared to 31% in 2020 - according to a study by Samsung Pay.
Most modern contactless card machines are equipped with the technology to accept payments through digital wallets - but if you have an older machine you might not be able to. That's not something you want to find out when you've got customers trying to pay.
So it's worth checking if your current card machine can accept digital payments and updating it if not. You should be able to find the necessary payment symbol on the machine.
Contactless card payments
Since they became available, over 100 million people have used contactless card payments in shops.
And with the contactless card limit due to increase from £45 to £100 in time for Christmas, it'll make it easier for customers to pay for bigger ticket items using contactless.
That means all those Christmas presents are paid for with just the tap of a card.
This is a lot better for retailers, as transactions will be a lot quicker so they can get through the large queues with less trouble.
To be prepared, make sure you have a card machine for your small business that's able to accept these types of payments.
Again, most new card machines already have the technology for contactless payments, but it's worth checking.
Taking payments online
Shopping online has always been popular, and it doesn't look like that’s going to change any time soon.
A higher proportion of Christmas shopping was done online in 2020 than during any previous year, according to UK Finance, with nearly 34% of all credit and debit card spend taking place online.
This amounted to nearly £22billion spent online by UK shoppers in December 2020 alone.
With many customers still anxious about venturing into large crowds, more will be looking for alternatives to get their Christmas shopping done.
If you don't accept payments online, you could be losing out on lots of potential customers.
Over the phone
Although we've seen a rise in online shopping, catalogues are still popular.
They are sent out to interested customers to entice early deals for those who like to be prepared.
But how do you buy things?
Payments for items in catalogues are done over the phone.
They take the same details you'd submit online and give you delivery and return information if you need it.
A lot of older people don't have smartphones or access to the internet, so if you have an over the phone system in place, they can still purchase from your business without having to enter their details online.
And if you don't think catalogues still work, just remember that Argos - which famously stopped publication of its main catalogue - still prints a Christmas deals edition because of the revenue it generates over the festive period.
Get your payment systems firing this Christmas
The high street has definitely suffered in the past few years, and many businesses are relying on the Christmas period to get them back on track.
Don't tie one hand behind your back by not accepting the payment methods your customers are expecting.
If you're used to relying on cash and couldn't take contactless payments, you could miss out on major profits.
Copyright 2021. Article was made possible by site supporter Elizabeth Male of Handepay.