Increase POS Added Value with Gift Cards, E-Commerce, and Other Services this Holiday Season

Lance Newalu on 11/10/2020
Competition will be fierce during the 2020 holiday season, and point of sale (POS) added value services can help retailers differentiate their businesses and win wallet share.

Value-added services from your payments partner enable merchants to create new offerings and customer experiences before the holidays.

The holidays have long been retail’s Super Bowl—retailers averaged 19 percent of their total annual revenues over the Thanksgiving-through-Christmas frame during the past five years, according to National Retail Federation, and that number runs far higher for many merchants.

But the coronavirus pandemic has markedly changed the outlook for this year’s festive season, with consulting firm Deloitte calling for sales to climb just 1 percent to 1.5 percent, in contrast to the 4.1 percent uptick that the NRF reported for 2019. That’s because consumers, hit by job losses and economic uncertainty, are expected to tighten their gift-giving purse strings. Case in point: A survey from consultant KPMG says holiday shoppers are budgeting 18 percent less than last year, while Deloitte sees a 7 percent decline in planned spending.

That means the battle for wallet share will only intensify in the weeks ahead as retailers maneuver for each and every sale in a bid to bolster their bottom lines.

What Solutions Providers Can Do to Create a Happier Holiday

There are things you can do to serve the sector this season with value-added services. Retailers might have systems and solutions in place—but if they’re not fully integrated with shopper preferences and priorities at their core, sellers might be missing out on crucial commerce opportunities. 

One quick win? Adding gift cards to point of sale (POS) platforms. It’s what the people want, says NRF, which found that gift cards topped most consumers’ wish lists in 2019, ahead of every other category from apparel and accessories to electronic gadgets and home goods. Deloitte’s 2020 holiday outlook says 72 percent of consumers plan to purchase gift cards, spending an average of $242. They’re also the gift shoppers are most likely to give (48 percent) and to hope to receive (42 percent), Deloitte says. And they’re a natural consideration for consumers who rallied around their favorite local businesses at the height of the pandemic by purchasing gift cards to help keep these struggling mom-and-pops afloat.

Gift cards aren’t the only value-added service retailers should be considering. The time is ripe for retail clients to deploy a robust loyalty solution that can help create sticky shoppers incentivized to patronize their favorite merchants. How can you convince retailers to invest in a full-bodied loyalty play? They might be interested to know that working with an integrated loyalty solution this holiday can help them personalize their customers’ experiences, which can drive attractive revenue windfalls. A loyalty play beyond the standard punch card can clue retailers into their areas of strength and weakness, illuminating opportunities both for improvement and for fresh investment.

Another way to incorporate value-added services into a POS system is to integrate marketing solutions. Automated marketing, experts say, enhances customer communications and engagement and gives retailers the firepower to issue the right message at the moment when shoppers are primed to purchase.

POS Added Value Services Give Retailers the Capabilities They Need

This holiday, retailers can differentiate their services by offering rich new POS capabilities that will attract shoppers to their stores over the competition. Explore the value-added services available from your payments partner, which can mean less of an integration headache for your retail client (and your team), and they can get these new features rolled out in time to cash in on the holiday crowds.

As the season of giving kicks into high gear, take the time to explore the add-on options your payments provider has on offer so you can initiate an informed conversation with retailers on how value-added services can help them win the holidays—and beyond. No merchant wants to be left behind in the retail technology arms race when turning on enticing new features can help them quickly gain a leg up on their retail rivals. Retailers that use every POS weapon at their disposal can head into the peak season, knowing they’re equipped to deliver the experiences consumers crave—and capture every last dollar that’s up for grabs.

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