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holiday shopping at the mall in 2023 driving retail success
Mastering the Art of Holiday Success in Retail

Winning the Holiday Sales Game

Editorial Board

It seems like holiday shopping starts earlier every year and savvy retailers know that being well-prepared will position their brand for stronger seasonal success. As merchants of all shapes and sizes begin breaking out the holiday decorations and prime themselves for that most wonderful time of year, many find themselves asking what else they can do to give their sales a boost during the busiest shopping season – and the answer might be simpler than you think. 

To recognize the best path forward, however, it’s important for us to analyze what’s worked well in the holiday shopping seasons of the recent past. Thankfully, your Payments Architects are also part-time payments historians in their free time, and we’ve brought those data points – and what they mean – directly to you. 


Defining the Holidays by the Data 

The technology to see the future sadly hasn’t been invented yet (although we’re sure that someone’s working on it). Without a crystal ball readily available, it pays for retailers to understand their customers and shopping trends from previous years to paint a clearer picture of where we’re headed next. The role of customer data in holiday sales is especially enlightening, and the truth is simple: your customers are already telling you what they want out of their holiday shopping experience – you just have to know where to look. 

Take this data point (link: NRF | Nearly 180 Million Shop Over Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend) by the NRF for the 2021 holiday shopping season. These insights show that nearly half (49 percent) of shoppers reported taking advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving that year, and most weekend shoppers (82 percent) felt those deals were the same or better than the previous Thanksgiving shopping blitz. The data clearly shows that being prepared and offering sales earlier can resonate with customers, and the retailers that are paying attention know to get ahead of the curve. The NRF’s assessment also revealed an uptick in brick-and-mortar shopping that year, showing that while eCommerce continues to gain momentum year after year, that physical, in-store retail experience is far from dead. 

online shopper actively completing their holiday shopping online
in total spend during Cyber Monday in the U.S. in 2022

Speaking of that growing eCommerce trend, don’t just take our word for it: the data speaks for itself. Adobe analyzed the holiday shopping trends for 2022 and what it found (link: Adobe - Adobe: Cyber Monday Drove $11.3 Billion in Online Spending, Breaking E-Commerce Record) should be front and center for every retailer as they shape their holiday strategies. The data not only revealed that consumers spent a record $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, but it also demonstrated how eCommerce categories stepped forward as clear growth drivers for holiday sales. For the first time, mobile shopping accounted for the majority (51 percent) of online sales during Cyber Week, rewarding the retailers that invested in smooth mobile shopping experiences. This data point alone uncovers an avenue of growth for retailers who might have been dismissive at first of shaping a unique smartphone shopping experience – your customers have spoken. 

Another key insight from Adobe’s Holiday Breakdown is the heavy use of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options by consumers. BNPL alternatives like Affirm and Klarna offer customers a greater level of flexibility when choosing to pay for their goods, allowing them to break a purchase up into multiple, smaller installments over time. Adobe found that during Cyber Week, BNPL orders rose 85% and revenue increased by 88% compared to the prior week. Integrating these and other advanced payment methods (APMs) is an easy way for retailers to boost average basket values and increase conversion rates, both during the holiday shopping season and well beyond. 

Is Holiday History Repeating?

Understanding where we’ve been helps us know what to expect, and while history may not always repeat verbatim – it does tend to rhyme. Now that we’ve covered some of the most important data points from the past two holiday shopping seasons, what are the key takeaways for what’s at stake? What can a retailer do to plan for what comes next? 

Well, start by asking the tough questions: was your operation prepared to make the most of mobile and BNPL payment schemes? What could you do to personalize and elevate the experience for your customers? Are you tapped into the key growth drivers that have clear evidence of performing well? How can you implement what strategies you’re lacking? 

It may sound a little overwhelming, but thankfully, your Payments Architects are here to help. Here’s five areas to focus on that will keep your business rush ready and spreading the holiday cheer, even when sales are at their peak:

Provide Payments with a Preference. It’s no secret that a vital ingredient to a positive shopping experience is the power of choice. Your customers want to shop with you on their terms and in the ways that are most convenient to them – and that applies to both physical and digital storefronts. Offering your customers advanced payment methods (APMs) at checkout allows them to pay for your offerings how they choose, adding a layer of personalization to your checkout experience. Plus, the data shows that customers enjoy the flexibility of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) especially during the holidays, so making sure APMs like Affirm or Klarna are integrated is key.

Our APM platform is easy to manage and only requires a single integration. After that? Adding new payment methods is like flipping a switch and won’t require costly or timely new integrations. We make implementing BNPL alternatives and other APMs a breeze, which leads to higher conversion rates and boosted basket sizes. BNPL options can even help retailers reach new demographics (like millennials and Gen Z), making APMs the gift that keeps on giving for retail merchants everywhere.

Offer eCommerce That’s Engaging and Effective. When shopping online, your customers want a buying experience that is easy to navigate and caters to their tastes. Choppy web pages that consistently redirect customers through multiple pages makes it difficult to secure the sale, leading to abandoned carts and missed opportunities. It’s also important to shape an engaging experience that fits the platform your customers want to shop on. Remember the insights on smartphone holiday shopping? The data shows it pays to personalize the experience, so don’t miss the opportunity to do so.

We help merchants optimize conversion rates for their online businesses with a variety of eCommerce integration options. From secure hosted checkouts requiring little to no development knowledge to fully customizable webhooks and third-party connectors, we provide merchants with the tools they need to shape smooth, personalized and powerful experiences for their customers every time. We also specialize in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), helping our eCommerce merchants make the most of their web checkouts and calibrate the details to meet customer preferences.

Fortune Favors the Frictionless. For merchants that rely on brick-and-mortar operations, the best thing to do is ensure the shopping environment is fast, easy to navigate and reflects customer expectations. Nobody wants to wait in long lines or spend forever at the checkout counter – especially during that time of year when everyone is shopping at the same time. Ensuring a fast, friendly, and frictionless checkout experience should be a top priority for any retailer that thrives on in-store sales.

Our devices are as dynamic as they are dazzling, and they’re designed to delight your customers at every turn without slowing them down. We offer a variety of vibrant and engaging self-service kiosks to give your customers frictionless alternatives, and our fleet of mobile devices empower your employees to become line-busting pros and check customers out before they ever join a queue. Now during every holiday season, you can give your customers the greatest gift of all – a pleasant shopping experience – by partnering with us for all things payments.

Keep Hardware Holiday Ready. It should come as no surprise that keeping all devices in peak condition is critical for the retail rush. Merchants that have a robust device management platform to monitor and track device health at all times ensure they can expect the unexpected – and address any concerns long before they devolve into a nightmare before Christmas. It also pays to have a partner that can handle the logistics for installations, repairs and replacements at a moment’s notice, minimizing downtime and maximizing seamless operations when it matters most. Having a partner like Verifone means peace of mind – even during the most wonderful (and admittedly hectic) time of the year.  

Benefit from Borderless Commerce. For retailers that double-dip in physical and digital sales channels, the best thing to do is learn how to make those channels work together to serve customers more effectively. Offering services like Buy Online, Pickup In-store (BOPIS) and Buy Online, Return In-store (BORIS) reduces friction for your customers when receiving or exchanging their goods during the busy shopping season. Endless aisle kiosks are a great way to give physical shoppers a touchpoint to browse digital goods and sales while shopping in-store, and curbside pickup remains a strong option for customers looking to avoid the crowds altogether while shopping your brand.

Having self-checkouts, kiosks and optimized web checkouts ensures retailers never miss a chance to cross-sell or up-sell, and Verifone devices are simple to manage across all sites and locations. Easily push multimedia promotions and customized branding to the device groups you choose for effective marketing and engaging content that’s built right into the customer’s overall experience. Not only that, linking loyalty and membership programs helps retailers stay on top of how customers choose to shop and what they engage with, providing further insights on how to calibrate your offerings. Breaking down the borders between your separate sales channels helps to keep the sales experience seamless – and your business prepared – for when those jingle bells start jingling to signal the approaching holidays. 

Heeding the Ghost of Commerce Future

The easiest way to avoid becoming a retail scrooge during the holidays is understanding what your customers are looking for and leveraging the latest innovative tools for your business to accommodate their needs. But without a (not-so-friendly) specter telling us exactly what lies ahead, what should retailers invest in to improve performance and holiday operations going forward? 

Implement the technology that’s leading us toward the shopping of the future:

  • Offer APMs like PayPal and Apple Pay for quick convenient checkouts
  • Drive growth with BNPL payment alternatives like Affirm and Klarna 
  • Optimize eCommerce experience and increase conversion rates
  • Reduce friction with self-service kiosks and line-busting portable devices
  • Leverage device management for diagnostics and proactive resolution
  • Stay ready with end-to-end installation, repair and replacement support  
  • Integrate a single payment engine for seamless operations and reports 
  • Provide cross-channel services, curbside pickup and mobile shopping


Thankfully, your trusted Payments Architects here at Verifone have you covered. We offer the cutting-edge technology stacks paving the way forward for the retail industry, and we make them available at any scale for merchants all over the world. 

Today’s commerce happens everywhere and all at once – partner with the payments experts who know how to match it. 


Ready to get started? 

Contact us today to see what we can do to elevate your business – no gift wrapping required. Happy (almost) Holidays!

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