For most online retailers, the holiday season is the most profitable time of the year. Not only do the number of orders go up, but the size of each order increases as well. Many retailers make nearly half of their profit in the last quarter of the year alone.
Yet many online retailers miss opportunities to take advantage of these holidays. How many times has Black Friday sneaked up on you, and before you knew it everyone was rushing to your competitors’ store to fill their stockings?
There are many things that you can do to get ready for the busiest day in retail to ensure that you end up in the black this Friday as well. As any successful online retailer knows, it is not sales that make bring home the bacon, it is GOOD sales. At this time of year, it is important to not only maximize the traffic to your site but also make sure that you are protected as well. One fraudulent sale or costly chargeback can undo all the work you put into marketing, promotions, and protection.
So, once you have prepared your marketing campaigns, we recommend that you take a look at your payment processor one more time to make sure that you can handle the purchases that are coming to town. Here are a few things that you need to do to ensure that this Black Friday is gold:
- Stress test your payment processor – Many businesses experience downtime due to the increased traffic to their sites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Have your IT department perform a stress test to ensure that your site can handle the hoards of eager customers that will be pouring in. If you don’t have an IT department, there are plenty of 3-rd party providers that can perform the test for you. Remember, every minute of downtime is not only lost sales but damaged customer loyalty.
- Evaluate your return policies – Because many of the purchases that will be made on Black Friday are meant as gifts, many online stores offer a far more liberal return policy for the holiday season. Making a big deal about adjusting your return and exchange policies can help you stay competitive. Just make sure that the information is clear at the checkout as well and that it fits within with your existing processes.
- Avoid chargebacks – If you do plan to set up special rules for returns that are outside of the norm, make sure that you arrange this in advance with your PSP. Double check with them what the processing rules are for refunds to ensure that you don’t accrue any unnecessary chargebacks.
- Set your limits – Be sure to clarify with your acquiring bank or PSP what the payments limits are for each purchase and how many purchases a single buyer can make. You should expect purchases to be slightly higher than usual, but be careful not to open the floodgates to fraudulent purchases. Which leads to the next item…
- Review your anti-fraud solution – Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be your biggest days of the year so your anti-fraud solution will be working overtime. Hopefully, you have already found the sweet spot between blocking fraudulent payments and losing sales through false positives. If you have a manual review procedure, be ready to make the calls or double-check the numbers to maximize your sales, while protecting your bottom line.
- Test it all again on every platform – If you do make adjustments to your checkout or website, ensure that you double check everything on all platforms. Shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are terrified of missing out on a sale and don’t have the patience to work through a bug or check it on their computer when they get home. Time spent ensuring that there are no problems on any platform will be paid back in spades.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to draw in new customers and invite old customers back. Most people are looking for deals and are ready to buy. Making the process as quick and painless as possible by being ready to accept their money as soon as they are ready to buy. By helping the customer find what they need and letting them buy it hassle-free, everyone can have a happy holiday.