Some businesses experience their busiest days in the summer, and others at the start of the new year.
However, most businesses can expect that their greatest sales days will fall between mid-November to early January.
Such a boom in business requires careful preparation. After all, your holiday sales may carry your business through the rest of the year!
Make a List:
Make sure your POS system is updated
Your Point of Sale system will be your hardest worker on Small Business Saturday, and you need to ensure it’s up to par. Your POS system is any way that you accept card transactions. This could be the software on your office’s desktop terminal or your Bluetooth card swiper connected to your phone. Credit card terminals especially need to be updated prior to the holiday season because they are often not cloud-based. Cloud-based software automatically updates, but others could take several hours to manually update.
Ever since the Fraud Liability Shift in 2015, the blame shifted to the merchant for magnetic stripe fraudulent transactions. This includes swiping a chip card. Some credit card terminals have both the chip insertion and magnetic stripe tab, but still don’t accept chip cards. Know that your business is still on the line for swiping a chip card, and you should replace or fix the terminal immediately.
Tell Your Payment Processor About Any Promotions
Every merchant account has limits, and you may just reach them this holiday season! When your small business went through underwriting for your merchant account, you likely provided your average transaction size and daily sales. Your merchant service provider gets notified when you go over these limits because it could be an indication of fraudulent purchases. You may exceed these limits if you’re running promotions for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Give your processor a friendly heads-up so they know not to be worried. They may put a hold on your account otherwise.
Accept All Major Card Brands
It would really be a bummer if all your hard work in advertising brought potential customers inside only to find out you can’t accept their credit cards. Talk with your merchant services provider about adding all major card brands to your capabilities. Some processors will charge you the same rate for all four brands.
Once you have these added, throw a sign in your front windows advertising that you accept all 4 major brands. Customers like to shop in stores that guarantee no awkward card rummaging at checkout. It is especially impressive for small businesses to have all the same conveniences of a large chain.
Check it Twice
Here are some additional, smaller tasks that may have slipped your mind during all the preparations.
- Spread the word about sales and promotions via your Facebook page and networking groups.
- Make sure your return policy is posted somewhere in store and visible on the bottom of receipts.
- Update your hours on Google if you’re staying open later.
- Test out your online checkout one last time to ensure there’s no glitches.
Your business should now be well prepared for all online and foot traffic coming your way. Not only are you ready for the boom of the holiday season, but also the slower months to follow. Enjoy the extra revenue, and the polished business processes you just streamlined!
Author: Hailey Tresch
Hailey is the marketing head of a payment processing brokerage called PayFrog. She has written for top industry resources like cardnotpresent.com and is published in the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Hailey enjoys writing on improving business processes, saving merchants money, and fraud prevention.