How can businesses be holiday-ready amidst the pandemic?

Retailers' digital presence and engagement are key in making the most of the holiday season.

This holiday season is slated to kick off earlier and extend longer than in previous years, thus, as early as now, retailers are posed with the challenge of planning for these make-or-break moments. In its Holiday Readiness eBook, PayPal emphasises that now is the time for businesses to have solutions in place to respond to the growing holiday demand.

With the shift to digital becoming inevitable, and markets adapting to the “new normal”, businesses should pivot to address the dramatically changing consumer behaviour. PayPal recommends five key holiday readiness tips for businesses to ensure that the right strategies and solutions are in place:

  1. Maximise sales and reduce cart abandonment by removing friction from your site
  2. Align inventory plan with current holiday trends
  3. Engage customers with personalised holiday incentives
  4. Stay ahead of holiday fraudsters  
  5. Ramp up customer support to be ready for holiday traffic

PayPal notes that businesses should consider the entire journey of customers who are navigating their online platforms. Knowing their target markets can make a huge difference. This comes with a better understanding of their shoppers’ preferences based on demographics, purchase history, or channel preferences. 

The holiday season offers retailers a great opportunity to deepen customer engagement by getting personal. By using the data from customers’ interaction with their website and online shopping patterns through data-driven personalisation, retailers can creatively explore a variety of special offers and see content preferences per segment. This can be a powerful tool in engaging consumers who are looking for promotions and incentives during the holidays. Businesses should learn how to optimise their website’s SEO or use social media advertising which will allow them to recommend specific products or retarget previous site visitors. 

Online merchants also need to ensure that their sites load quickly, offer intuitive and mobile device-adaptive navigation, and provide easy transactions without requiring account creation. The variety of convenient payment options, including buy now/pay later, credit cards, digital wallets, and contactless,  are also important, because the ability for retailers to accept payments can directly impact a customer’s checkout experience.

However, increased online purchases come with a greater need for customer support and an increased risk of fraud. To meet customer expectations, retailers should consider combining automated tools with proactive customer communication. These include ensuring that the hosting service and infrastructure can handle the deluge of traffic, updating contact information and FAQs, and automating processes where possible—such as chatbots—to ease pressure on staff.  Businesses should also know how to combat fraud by implementing enhanced risk management processes and solutions that can detect risky transactions without derailing authentic transactions.

By taking advantage of the above proven tactics and implementing proper solutions, businesses will be able to deliver based on customer preferences, streamline checkout, and keep transactions secure, and will ultimately be poised to grow this festive season. To learn more about how you can be prepared for the holiday rush this 2021, download the Paypal Holiday Readiness eBook now.