Transaction Trending: Holiday Season
With the blustery winds and barren trees comes a make-or-break time for the majority of America’s merchants. Big or small, the holiday shopping season will have a profound impact on the bottom line for most merchants. And as more and more Americans look to innovative electronic payments solutions to enable their holiday purchases, winter is without doubt a time of paramount importance to ETA members as well.
Transaction Trends asked Senior Vice President and Head of Gift Solutions at First Data Dom Morea for his insights on the trends to watch this holiday season and ways merchants can make the most of their payments capabilities.
Q 1:What payments trends do you anticipate during the upcoming holiday season?
Dom Morea (DM): It’s remarkable to think about the fact that plastic gift cards have only existed for 25 years. Today, physical and digital cards are more popular than ever, with the average consumer purchasing six gift cards each year, according to First Data’s 2016 Consumer Insights Study. The holidays are an important time for businesses, and gift cards provide them with the opportunity to capitalize on the season. Beyond accounting for the value of the card amount, gift cards help bring in new customers, drive revenue, and increase loyalty among new and existing customers. As we head into the busiest shopping season of the year, businesses will be introducing new designs, incentives, and offerings to help drive gift card sales.
Q 2:What advice/guidance do you offer your merchant customers to help them prepare for the holiday season?
DM: Ahead of the holidays, businesses should think about how to capitalize on gift cards. There is a tremendous opportunity here. The average consumer spends $38 more than the actual value of the card, and many consumers will wait until after the New Year to spend them, driving sales in the future too.
At First Data, we advise businesses to think about reaching their customers through online channels and email ahead of the holiday season. A lot of consumers are already planning on purchasing cards during this time, so it’s a great way to remind them that the business offers them. Additionally, there is a great opportunity for B2B gift card sales. Employers often will provide gift cards to their employees, clients, or partners during this season. Preparation is important, as is finding a service provider that can help you execute a strategy.
Incorporating a gift card program is not just for large businesses either. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the loyalty and revenue gift cards provide. Clover Gift Cards, for example, provides small and medium-size businesses with a simple solution to sell custom-branded plastic and digital gift cards that it is easy to manage.
From designing unique gift cards and placing them near checkout registers to running holiday promotions and encouraging employees to sell gift cards, there are a number of strategies businesses should implement to drive sales. First Data provides a robust set of customizable solutions to fit businesses’ needs and advises clients on implementing solutions to help them grow.