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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 23, 2020 • Issue 20:11:02


Bring spirit to the season

The 2020 holiday shopping season is well underway, and it looks like ecommerce will take center stage. Overall, our industry has done a stunning job amid the pandemic of helping merchants improve on existing ecommerce channels or create them where they did not previously exist. We and our merchant customers have proven to be resilient.

Yet for shoppers who enjoy the twinkling lights, decorations, seasonal scents, bustle and anticipation at retail stores at this time of year, along with arms laden with gifts to wrap at home, and stops along with way for hot chocolate or fancy coffee drinks, the Amazon packages on the doorstep don't compare. For some, the in-person interactions are central to the spirit of the season, a spirit that is harder to see in the pared down brick-and-mortar landscape and in smaller or virtual gatherings with family and friends.

Add some cheer

You could say we've done our job, making sure merchants have all the tools and support they need to adapt to today's conditions. And you would be right. But can we do more to bring cheer to a holiday season that needs it more than any other in recent memory? I think we can, and here's how:

  • Email something unexpected: Merchants can add a YouTube link to an email receipt, for example. The nature of the link would be up to the merchant's personal sensibilities and based on what customers are likely to enjoy. At the bottom of an email receipt I received recently, the merchant included a link to an uplifting song. It had no religious affiliation or connotation and was performed by engaging musicians with passion and a little humor. It brightened my day.
  • Add swag to deliveries: Now is a perfect time for merchants to include not just one, but several gifts along with customers' purchases. These could be samples of best-selling or brand new products. Imagine a customer's surprise at finding what they asked for—and more. Last week, I opened a package with five, yes, five gifts packed in with my purchase. I sampled them with delight, and I'll be buying some of those products in the future.
  • Include stories: People are hardwired to enjoy stories. Business owners could meet with their creative teams and come up with a brief, inspirational story of, say, 200 words or fewer to print on packing slips, or include in an email receipt or message.
  • Reach out by phone and email: No matter what business you're in, you can commit to reaching out to one person per day, either by phone or by email, for the sole purpose of spreading joy. The message needs to be specific to each person and note something you appreciate about him or her.

These are just four ideas that came to mind. I'm sure yours will be even better. It's true that the payments industry overall is likely to fare well during the holidays. Whatever we can do to uplift people at this most unusual juncture will help bring spirit to the season. end of article

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