A strong payment platform key as holiday season approaches

With the holidays approaching, more consumers may soon turn to online retailers

Though it's still several months away, the holiday season is nearly here, and many shoppers will take to the internet early in an effort to find deals. In a tight economy, consumers may want to spread their holiday spending out over the course of a few months, which means merchants will need to have their websites optimized sooner rather than later.

A survey from BSM Media on behalf of internet retailer TOTSY reported 72 percent of mothers say they will shop online for their holiday gifts as a way to avoid the rush in stores. In addition, 65 percent of those respondents considered the fourth quarter of the year – October through December – to be the most stressful shopping season.

E-commerce businesses can prepare for the increased demand by taking time to fix any kinks in their retail websites. Multichannel Merchant advises companies to work on their website integration to make sure product rankings, ratings and reviews are available and operate correctly.

In addition, the website's navigation links should be worded sensibly and should be easy to find, and the site itself should be accessible from a number of different sources – including search engines, social media networks and blogs.

However, even the most finely integrated website cannot be effective if it does not include a way for the business to accept credit cards online. The calm before the holiday season provides businesses with a prime opportunity for a payment processing review. They can reassess their credit card payment platform and ensure they are working with a provider that encourages – not hinders – customer conversion.