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Retailers: Are you ready for the busiest online holiday shopping season ever?

By Sarah Pilcer


As you would expect during the past 18 months, there has been a large acceleration in e-Retail Sales, a trend which has been ongoing for a few years. Lockdowns imposed worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic have acted as a significant boost. With the rapid shift towards online spending Worldline is expecting massive volumes this holiday season. Last year Black Friday’s online equivalent Cyber Monday came in at $10.8 billion spent online in the US alone, the highest amount in history, up 15% from the year before.

To capitalise on such opportunities, merchants should ensure the payment experience runs as smoothly as possible for their consumers and act as an efficient conversion tool. In this blog I’ll share some recommendations from our e-Retail specialists at Worldline.


Supporting the world’s most popular payment methods

From a shopper’s perspective, online shopping should be a smooth, secure process. There are various payment products which enable consumers to pay easily, without having to look for their card and enter their details or go through an extensive security process, and thus enjoy a seamless experience.

At Worldline we recommend supporting the world’s most popular payment methods like the most used cards and digital wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal that have grown in popularity recently. Card information is stored securely and payment can be done seamlessly, improving approval rates. The overall user experience of these products is making them a popular payment for online shoppers as card information is stored secured and payment can be done seamlessly.

We also recommend making sure you offer the most relevant local payment methods for the countries you expect the most traffic from. If you don’t offer popular payment methods like Alipay in China or Boleto in Brazil, you are missing a significant part of the market.

Take advantage of the latest trends

One of the hottest trends in e-commerce right now is Live Shopping, which combines livestream video and instant checkout. This trend originated from China and has been gaining traction in other markets like the United States and Europe, especially as lockdowns have forced physical stores to find new ways to engage with consumers. Live Shopping is seeing impressive payment volumes and engagement, boosting brands sales by a factor of three to six, conversion rates of up to 39% and new customer acquisition rates of up to 40%. We recently announced this service, providing in-video check-out for customers. Luckily, setting up this solution is quite simple and can be done quick.

And if you want to better gauge consumer demands and avoid over supply, you should consider offering pre-order. It helps predict consumer interests in your holiday products and can even allow experimentation on product offerings. Consumers either pay upfront for their purchase or pay when the goods are ready for them.  

Steady increase in cross border sales

As online shopping continues to increase globally, so does cross-border e-commerce. At Worldline we’ve identified several corridors of commerce where growth potential is significant and product demands are similar – including Europe to the US, Europe to China, Europe to Russia, China to Russia, US to Latin America, US to APAC and Europe to APAC. If you’re not selling into these corridors it would be wise to explore whether your business can expand there. If you are active there, then be aware that there are significant opportunities to optimize your performance with the appropriate level of localization. This means that cross-border expansion is about more than just making sales in new markets but requires a focus on performance and optimization to boost sales further. In a recent white paper with ecommerce magazine Internet Retailing, we outlined the key trends and best practices for growing your cross border activities.

Managing fraud risks and enforcing regulations

The rise in global e-commerce and the anticipated surge during Black Friday/Cyber Monday – as well as Singles’ Day in China and later Christmas – inevitably raises the issue of fraud. So, do more transactions equate to more problems? Only if merchants don’t prepare their fraud prevention systems for peak season flow. 

As this peak approach, fraudsters think they have the perfect hiding place among the uplifted transaction volumes. Merchants should stay alert and remain protected by confirming their fraud prevention is refreshed and up to date. Don’t forget to find the sweet spot between covering your recent fraud trends without adding friction to your legitimate customers.


It is also worth noting that the 2021 sales holiday shopping season is the first one under PSD2 SCA rules, so make sure you’re compliant. If implemented correctly PSD2 can reduce risk, improve conversion rates and shift the liability back to the issuer. There are a lot of tips and tricks like automatically exempting certain transactions or routing them to the right authorization flow. This is just the tip of the iceberg; you can find more information on PSD2 here. Make sure your PSD2 configuration is correct, and this applies to all merchants selling to EU citizens, even if you’re based outside the EU.

Are you ready?

As an online retailer you should be asking yourself if you’re prepared for one of the busiest online holiday shopping seasons ever. Finding the right payment methods, fraud solutions and sales corridors and optimizing those channels can maximize your performance. Merchants should bear in mind there are multiple options at hand. Thus, they should invest time and resources to brainstorm and engage with their payment providers to create a custom solution which will enable them to benefit the upcoming online sales season as best as possible. Black Friday and Cyber Monday merely occur once a year and with the amount of transactions they generate, being ready is of paramount importance.


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