There is a whopping $630.5 billion bonanza of holiday shopping projected to occur this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Though if retailers aren't ready to accept chip cards and mobile transactions, they could miss out.

This year, mobile payments will play a key role in sales for retailers, particularly with the rise in use of EMV chip cards. And when you consider that 45% of shoppers that Interactions surveyed will spend on Black Friday and 51% of shoppers will buy gifts online on Cyber Monday, retailers have many opportunities to gain sales – if they play their cards right with respect to mobile payments.  

Credit card agencies and banks have been flooding consumers with these nifty new, high-security chip-based cards. Retailers will need to have their POS systems ready to receive EMV chip cards as more and more consumers attempt to pay with them. Any retailers that don’t use the chip cards are subject to financial exposures and ultimately consumer backlashes.

According to Interactions’ Retail Perceptions report, “Holiday Shopper: Trends to Expect This Season,” more than half of shoppers surveyed said they will use a retailer’s mobile app while shopping. Independent of a retailer’s app, nearly half of shoppers surveyed – 49% – said they will use a mobile device to make purchases this holiday season.

The lesson is retailers will need to ensure that their POS systems are mobile-POS (mPOS) ready.  

Providing guidance is essential to bringing in sales and this year it will be more important than ever at checkout. Sales associates will need to assist shoppers new to using EMV credit card chip readers, as well as those just adopting mobile payment solutions.  Employers should train their employees on how to use both options, otherwise, they risk losing those customers and adding to the already long wait lines.

Retailers need to make sure they plug into the mobile mindset of consumers this holiday season. Consumers will be using their mobile phones to shop while in the store. They will use their mobile phones to share with friends and family what they are buying or want to buy, and to remind them of what to get as gifts, etc.

Notwithstanding, keeping consumers safe is paramount at all times – particularly during the high spending season when hackers are ready to attack. Interactions found that 10% of holiday shoppers say they will only make purchases from retailers they trust. Consumers trust retailers that they know prioritize the security of their personal information. By valuing the security of customers while continuing to connect with them through in-store experiences, retailers foster customer relationships that build both their trust and their business.

For retailers, staying relevant in the minds of shoppers means giving them what they want, when they want it and providing a seamless shopper experience in the process. Retailers gearing for a happy holiday season filled with shoppers will be smart to keep mobile payments top of mind.

Lance Eliot is global vice president of information technology for Interactions.