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Online merchants can thrive on Black Friday with optimized payments

With Black Friday and the festive season approaching, here’s how online merchants can enhance their checkout experience and meet customer needs.

Black Friday is one of the biggest annual shopping events in the U.S., and its influence has extended globally with the rise of eCommerce. Each year, savvy shoppers eagerly await the day after Thanksgiving to capitalize on promotions and seasonal deals while retailers leverage this occasion as an opportunity to attract new customers and spur revenue growth.

As we approach the holiday season and with consumers signaling shifts in their shopping habits, merchants find themselves at a critical juncture to reevaluate and enhance their checkout experience. Delivering a seamless, secure, and friction-free payment process has never been more crucial in capturing the attention and loyalty of their customer base.

Diving into our latest Lost in Transaction consumer research, we’ll examine what these changes mean for eCommerce merchants and how they can exceed customer expectations and drive success during Black Friday and beyond.

Navigating shifts in consumer behavior this holiday shopping season  

As households aim to make the most of their holiday budgets this year, merchants should anticipate shifts in spending habits. Our latest Lost in Transaction research report, which surveyed 14,525 consumers across North America, Europe, the UK, and Latin America, reveals that 78% of U.S. consumers plan to adjust their spending for the festive season, with 32% intending to reduce their spending on gifts.

In light of this finding, the growing preference for the convenience and ease of online shopping offers eCommerce merchants a unique opportunity to attract cost-conscious shoppers through compelling promotions and exclusive Black Friday deals. In the U.S., 31% of survey respondents say they plan to take advantage of seasonal deals to help manage their budgets, while 21% prepared for the heightened costs of the holiday season by saving earlier in the year.

Consumers today also demand more choice than traditional debit or credit card payments when it comes to making a purchase online. Festive shoppers are now branching out to alternative payment methods (APMs), in particular digital wallets. For instance, 48% of U.S. consumers now favor digital wallets when shopping online during the holiday season, and 29% are embracing online cash payment solutions, or eCash.

Payment security and convenience are key when shopping online

Consumers are quick to abandon their carts when they run into issues at the final stage of their purchasing journey. And while shopping cart abandonment has long been a concern for many online retailers, it’s now a pivotal battleground in the competitive Black Friday landscape, as 64% of U.S. consumers would abandon a purchase if faced with checkout complications.

Given rising concerns about online security, neither convenience nor security should be compromised as merchants seek to meet changing consumer expectations. When it comes to completing a transaction with a large merchant, 60% of U.S. consumers feel comfortable entering their financial details online. 53% feel comfortable inputting this information with a small business.

Additionally, 71% feel more comfortable using a payment method that doesn’t require them to share financial details online with a business, regardless of its size. This means that for small and large merchants alike, building trust to ensure customers feel secure during the checkout process is imperative. This can be achieved by offering alternative payment methods (APMs) that don’t require consumers’ financial details, like digital wallets and eCash solutions.

Choosing to shop small, even online

Small businesses play a vital role in building up local communities – from creating jobs to driving economic growth through new ideas and innovations that enrich the very regions they serve. For years, Paysafe has long been a supporter of American Express’ Shop Small and Small Business Saturday initiatives, with the aim of bringing attention to the independent businesses that empower our communities while creating memorable, personalized experiences for consumers.

Our latest research highlights the unique benefits that customers receive when choosing to 'shop small.' Among U.S. consumers, the most popular reason for shopping online with a small retailer is the community impact, with 38% enjoying that their money stays local while supporting a small business owner. Additionally, 32% of U.S. respondents appreciate the opportunity for a more personalized shopping experience.

The locality of a small business, even when online, resonates as 28% of consumers like the fact they can get local customer support from a small business if they have an issue with an online purchase.

This year’s Black Friday landscape may look a little different to many retailers, but it also offers an opportunity for eCommerce merchants to build and deliver a better checkout experience that will win over customers and drive success for the remainder of the festive season and beyond.

You can learn more about consumers' evolving attitudes and payment preferences in the upcoming Lost In Transaction: The Disposable Income Report, coming soon.