As the band Europe famously sang — we have reached the final countdown when it comes to the holiday retail season. The early shoppers are sitting home, drinking cocoa and feeling superior. The truly professional procrastinators doggedly refuse to so much think about it until next Friday when the heat is really on (and the sales will be particularly aggressive). And the digital shoppers are winding down the last few days of online shopping before the window slams shut on the possibility of a Christmas Eve delivery.
But while for some of us, the time is coming to pack it up, pack it in and then wrap it up and give to someone — the team over at Visa Checkout is far from thinking about the end of all this. If anything, they are just hitting their stride now.
And for good reason, a spokesperson told PYMNTS — there many only be 8-9 days left for free shipping online, but given how very much online commerce has been blowing up this year, that’s a lot of sales still yet to close.
“According to VisaNet data, we expect to see an 18 percent growth in online spending this holiday season, up from 16 percent last year,” Visa noted. “Additionally, nearly half (47 percent) of consumers surveyed are planning to do more than half of their holiday shopping online, providing even more of a reason for Visa to bring consumers new online retailers and deals through Visa Checkout.”
And the deals, they are proliferating — as are the partnerships, they say. This holiday season has seen Visa Checkout announce Papa John’s, Starbucks, Marriott and Avis as new entrants to its merchant roster — as well as a raft of special promotions with current retail partners like Best Buy, 1-800- Flowers, Newegg, Fandango and Gymboree children’s clothing (to name a few). And the last few days have seen the newest edition to that partner and promotions list — Visa Checkout is now online with online event ticketing giant StubHub.
So why the Visa-Stub Hub tie in — and how does it speak to the rest of Visa’s 2016 holiday retail strategy?
StubHub And Visa – Natural Compliments
Going forward, Visa Checkout is now one of the payment options on StubHub — a fact the two firms announced with one of the holiday season’s more endearing ads.
More than an opportunity to make heartwarming marketing materials, the partnership, according to Visa, allows two firms whose services naturally complement each other to work toward their mutual advantage.
“Building technology to offer great experiences is a top priority for both Visa and StubHub, making this a great partnership for event-goers,” Visa’s spokesman explained — noting that both Visa and StubHub customers are looking for something similar: fast, digital services that make the retail process secondary for the consumer while what they are actually buying gets to remain primary. The goal is simply stated, if hard to actually pull off — Visa and StubHub just want to collaborate to build “the ultimate fan experience.”
You know, easy stuff.
Okay, maybe not easy — but certainly attainable, Visa believes.
“Partnering with Visa helps improve the StubHub user experience, leveraging a brand that has exceptional strength in the payments sector to make it easier than ever to connect fans to inspiring event experiences,” Visa noted.
“The modern customer expects a top-notch user experience. StubHub’s Virtual View feature, the immersive, 360-degree section view tool for fans to view seats before making a purchase, combined with the seamless and secure payment process from Visa Checkout, provides fans with everything they need to make a more informed and personalized ticket selection in just minutes,” Visa’s spokesman noted.
Because, Visa noted, when it comes to commerce, the customer is king, or at least should be — even as those customers are themselves changing at a rapid pace. The goal for Visa and its partners is to stay with and ahead of the consumers’ evolution to make sure they’re really getting what they want.
So what do they want this year?
The ability to give more than stuff.
Giving the gift of experience
A sharp-eyed reader might have noted that the holiday partnerships that Visa announced this year all have something in common. They are more about things you do than stuff you buy. The featured players this year are at two eateries (Papa John’s and Starbucks), a hotel chain (Marriott), a car rental company (Avis) and of course, StubHub.
This choice was not exactly accidental.
First, Visa noted, the holidays are a travel-intensive time period since people visit family and friends or use the opportunity to vacation — and really thinking about the consumer experience during the holiday season requires thinking about the totality of that experience, and the fact that consumers have more to buy than just gifts.
“The holidays can be an expensive time for a lot of consumers, so we worked with our merchant partners to bring some great offers to consumers this year that help to satisfy all their shopping needs,” Visa’s spokesman noted. ”Need a quick dinner because you’ve been busy Christmas Shopping? Get a pizza from Papa John’s with Visa Checkout. Need to rent a car when you go visit the family during the holidays? Do it quickly and securely at Avis with Visa Checkout.”
More than covering what consumers need, however, Visa’s experiential focus this year also grows from the fact that data is increasingly stacking up to indicate that as much as — or even more than — customers want things as gifts, they also want to do things.
“Recent data from StubHub shows that consumers are just into the idea of “experience gift giving,” as 75 percent of gift givers told StubHub they would prefer to give someone an “unforgettable experience.” These online retailers can help consumers give the gift of experiences and check things off their holiday shopping list.”
And Visa can make it easier for customers to pay when they buy from those online retailers — so that they can be on to the next purchase of an unforgettable gift at the next retailer.
Because, Visa notes, at the end of the day, what the customer wants to think about is the gift itself — and about the person they are giving it to. They don’t want to think about how to key a 13-digit number into their smartphone. So Visa — and its various holiday partners — is keeping customers’ minds off the payment by making it easy and fast so that they can think about the thing they really want to — what they are going to buy next.