We are 127 days away from the dreaded but joyful day, Christmas and already stores are preparing with seasonal sales. As Asda released their Christmas loyalty cashback card earlier this month and TUI has started advertising their getaway Christmas holidays, it's only a matter of time before the digital world is also full of baubles and reindeer.
What to expect?
The progression into cash-less is already in full swing with more people choosing to pay via contactless card or mobile in-store. Take this into the digital world and brands, such as Missguided and Argos are already offering alternative payment methods, for those who wish to buy now and pay later. Missguided uses the Klarna payment method across mobile and desktop, while Argos offers its Argos card in a range of monthly plans, and a downloadable app to track payments.
These types of alternative payment systems are becoming more popular and digital shoppers feel increasingly comfortable paying in smaller chunks instead of huge one-time payouts.
Tip - Customer reviews for alternative payment methods reduces anxiety levels in first-time users, as they feel less at risk, increasing the brand's reliability.
Although this type of payment method is still in its infancy, Klarna saw a sales growth of 36% in 2018, with 26 million new customers and a net income of 12 million USD.
Evidently, alternative payments are gaining steam and having your own version or using a third-party version like Klarna will help boost sales during the Christmas period.
Imagine it's 4 days before Christmas and your food delivery should be arriving today. You wait eagerly in your kitchen but no food arrives. Instantly, you get onto the website and track down your order, but to your dismay, your order doesn't exist.
This is what many Sainsbury's shoppers feared last year as the website went down due to load problems, with users being kicked out halfway into their Christmas shop.
Unfortunately, website crashes have almost become a seasonal trend. Boots also experienced an hours-long website crash during Christmas 2018. For users, this means that they can't get the products they want and the perception of the website's security is substantially reduced. But more importantly, for the suppliers, this means a dramatic reduction in sales and conversions.
Testing your website for load problems, UX issues and alternative payment functionalities aids the growth of your site. Especially as seasonal traffic dramatically increases over a short period of time. Ensuring your customers don't encounter any defects or issues which could deter or prevent a customer journey from being completed should be a top priority as you prepare for Christmas.