Retailers don't have to mimic Amazon to succeed during the holidays
December 12, 2013

Flexible credit card processing technology, gift card programs and loyalty programs and other business-enhancing tools are often the most effective in improving retail competitiveness for small and medium-sized enterprises.

This year's holiday shopping season has been largely dominated by news about innovative shipping and solutions from e-commerce giants such as Amazon. While these represent important developments and certainly deserve industry attention, SMBs shouldn't attempt to match their own efforts to these standards. According to the online economic publication Quartz, retailers that operate both brick-and-mortar and online channels are missing out on real growth opportunities by trying to simply mimic the largest corporations. In reality, each enterprise must take into consideration its own unique customer base when coming up with ways to connect otherwise separate retail operations.

What are the best strategies for maintaining a competitive edge in today's economy?

Consider more than just the transaction
The decision to accept credit cards is just the start of a full-fledged increase in business activity. Quartz recommended stores supplement any advanced transaction technology with tools that enhance the overall customer experience without creating any unwanted operational challenges on the back end. For example, gift card programs and loyalty programs provide effective and engaging alternatives that not only maximize revenue, but also lead to stronger customer retention numbers.

Take advantage of both seasonal and consumer trends
During the year-end holiday shopping rush especially, small and medium-sized retailers can leverage certain tools to make the most of their physical and online channels. The online publication Retail Doctor suggested marketing is an important aspect of the transaction experience. After all, stores can only generate sales if they are able to get customers through the door or onto a specific URL in the first place. Paying close attention to consumer behaviors, such as a growing dependence on smartphones and mobile devices can present unique promotional opportunities that get shoppers excited about participating in the holiday season.

An integrated payment system such as Sage Exchange offers the flexibility and ease of use necessary for maintaining a variety of transactional channels. With these tools, retailers have the chance to organize important financial information in central, secure locations rather than risking inaccuracies or accounting errors in the back office. SMBs shouldn't worry about competing with larger corporations. There are plenty of opportunities for success by operating within a company's own available resources.

Nexus: G-WEBCD3