Peak sales season is approaching. This includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas – major events that can make or break a retailer’s year. This six weeks in November and December can generate over half the yearly sales for a retailer. But this isn’t always easy. Many retailers face payment failures, higher fraud, and high payment costs because of ill-prepared payment systems. Planning well in advance can help you thwart these issues, fulfil high demand and delight shoppers. You must prepare your business, especially your payments, to make the most of this peak season.
So, here are some steps you can take to ensure your payments are running at 100% and with minimal failures.
5 Strategies for Peak Sales Season
1. Plan your payments early
Higher than usual activity is to be expected throughout the peak sales season, though specific events, such as the launch of a new marketing campaign, can push up demand. Hence, you need to foresee and plan for these in advance. Plan out your approach early and include payments from the first stage of planning. Closely involve your payments team in the planning process. Prepare teams and resources to monitor and render support to avoid or minimize payment failures. Study and bridge gaps in your systems. Ask the right questions – do you support local payment methods and currencies? Have you localized your payment flows and checkout? This will help you ensure you have all the tools to handle high sales volumes or sell in multiple markets.
Get your payment teams involved early. This will save you a lot of trouble.
2. Identify and solve lingering issues
Unresolved issues in your payments can get amplified when transaction volumes spike during the peak season. Hence, it is critical to identify and resolve them before peak season to avoid major failures. Look deep into your payments data to spot any issues that might have gone unnoticed. This includes metrics like false declines by issuing banks, authorization rates, fraud rates, and chargebacks. Conduct a detailed BIN analysis to know which cards are most accepted and where customers are based, to improve payment acceptance rates. BIN or Bank Identification Number helps you identify the card-issuing bank and its location and also verify the cardholders identity. This helps you detect cases of stolen cards, identity theft, or fraud.
Analyzing payments data helps you set up performance benchmarks for your payments and spot any deviations from these when demand peaks. You can notice patterns and proactively solve issues when they arise. Thus, you can reduce false declines, detect fraud, and increase the chances of payment success. Leverage payments data to remove any lingering issues. This way you can meet higher demand with minimal failures.
3. Optimize authentication to reduce payment failures
This year, Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules will apply across all of Europe during peak sales season. But you must do more than just comply with this rule. Data shows that while SCA provides a much-welcome extra security layer, it can also lead to false declines if the settings are too strict. This means you must strike a balance between applying SCA but without adding extra friction in the checkout flow.
Many retailers still struggle with this, hence spend more time in this area as you prepare for sales season. Some areas you can look at:
- Refine your SCA exemption strategies
- Set up automatic retries using 3D Secure
- Clearly show the steps that customers must take to complete authentication
In short, build a friction-free checkout flow to increase payment success rates.
You might like: How to Reduce Payment Declines When Using SCA and 3D Secure 2
4. Stress-test your payments to ensure they are performing 100%
During peak sales season, a high volume of transactions will flow through your and your payment provider’s systems. This surge in demand puts your systems under pressure. Hence, you must stress-test your systems as your prepare for peak season. Check for latency in your systems so that you can avoid timeouts and disruptions when demand peaks. Work closely with your payment service provider to align your systems and prepare for backup. Your partner can be most helpful in guiding you through this testing and prep process. Ensure you choose the best one for your business.
5. Compare costs of payment methods to use the best one and save money
Different payment methods and schemes come with their own set of costs. Hence, you must choose the payment options that will maximize conversion rates while keeping costs low. Having a deeper understanding of payment pricing will help you go with the best options while finding out areas where you can save money.
Also read: Top 5 Most Popular Payment Methods in Europe
How can Novalnet Help?
We are a global PSP who are trusted advisors to Europe’s leading brands when it comes to payments. Our state-of-the-art technologies and methods help businesses in Europe accept payments globally. From our instant payment plug-ins to our AI-based risk management tools, we have the resources to get you up and running with your payments in a short time, and with zero hassle.
We can help you set-up and prepare your payments for the coming sales season. Reach out to us today to know more.
Jose Augustine is the Chief Business Development Officer at Novalnet with extensive experience in European payment industry and a knowledge powerhouse.