Prepare Yourself, Shoppers Are Coming

With Black Friday shopping less than a week away, it’s crunch time for merchants as they prepare for waves of shoppers looking for holiday deals. Merchants can alleviate some of the pressure and streamline their business operations during the holiday months by implementing these four tactics:

Make sure your Payments are in working order:

Retailers can prepare by making sure that their credit card processing system is up-to-date and able to handle the influx of transactions coming their way. Making it easier for your customers to pay will ensure that your customers leave your store satisfied. Many new card terminals are equipped with Mobile & NFC/Contactless Payment functionality that can expedite the checkout process.Merchants very often overlook the fact that their equipment relays information either via a phone line or Ethernet connection. Many major problems can be avoided by making sure that your network hardware is fully functioning and up to date. A slow or spotty Ethernet connection can lead to many problems, especially if it a shared “Guest” network. If processing over a phone line check to see that it is a dedicated connection that will not interrupt the flow of information.

Educate your customers on EMV:

As a result of the EMV liability shift that took effect last October, customers will have to dip their credit or debit cards instead of the swipe they’re used to doing to pay for goods. Due to the recent shift, many customers are still unaware of the change. This lack of education on how to use these EMV cards can slow down the checkout process. Such a situation presents an opportunity for merchants to help their customers use their EMV cards correctly. As a merchant, consider creating a sign instructing your customers to dip their card if an EMV chip is present.

Have a plan B:

Keeping “knuckle buster” credit card machines, pads of carbon paper and calculators on hand can safeguard retailers in the event of an outage. Also, “roaming” cashiers with iPads can cut back wait times and meet customers on the floor to check them out more quickly.

Reduce fraud exposure:

Black Friday generates a high amount of credit card transactions and in turn an increased amount of fraudulent charges. Retailers can benefit by implementing a multi-layered security approach with point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization that will help protect the card data from cybercriminals. Also, checking that the signature on the sales receipt matches the signature on the card presented, a classic best practice for retail merchants, will also help cut down on holiday fraud.

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