Christmas time is widely recognized as one of the biggest online shopping periods of the year. Online sales are expected to exceed $90 billion this holiday season in the US alone. Yet despite the significant resources businesses invest in preparation for these busy weeks, heightened competition and growing consumer expectations make it harder for retailers to successfully attract the attention of savvy customers online. In fact, many online merchants limit their ability to monetize the holiday opportunity. In this post, I touch on the various ways in which retailers can maximize eCommerce revenue during the 2016 holiday season and throughout the year.

Fear of the unknown: embracing cross-border holiday shoppers

Breaking out of the confinement (and comfort zone) of the domestic market by expanding into uncharted territories is one of the ways eCommerce merchants can get ahead of the game. Unfortunately, many online retailers fail to fully take advantage of international consumers’ significant buying power.

While some merchants simply do not accept international payment methods, others are inadvertently rejecting good international orders due to suspected fraud. Cross-border orders typically contain data points that could lead to false declines, such as AVS mismatches, missing billing or shipping information, and foreign IP addresses, if they are wrongly identified as suspicious by fraud detection solutions.

In truth, our data suggest that international orders with US shipping addresses are 37% less likely to be fraudulent during the holiday season. Retailers who wrongly reject purchases made with foreign cards, or placed from international IP addresses, are missing out on significant revenue.

Boosting revenue with cross-cultural awareness

International customers present a significant business opportunity during the US holiday season but also come with a whole other set of highly profitable online shopping days that US eCommerce merchants can capitalize on. For example, China’s Singles Day is one of most lucrative online shopping days of the year. Other notable non-US online shopping days include: Boxing Day in the UK, Canada, and Australia on December 26th; Orthodox Christmas Day, celebrated in Russia and in Eastern Europe on January 7th; and Chinese Valentine’s Day on August 20th.

Becoming acquainted with international online shopping holidays and marketing to cross-border shoppers is a good first step. But in order to maximize eCommerce revenue from global markets, merchants must also adjust their fraud prevention measures to reduce false positive declines. For example, due to the high number of legitimate online shoppers throughout the holiday season, Riskified found that rate of eCommerce fraud is 55% lower during the US holiday season vs the rest of the year. It would be prudent for online retailers to assume the same holds true for other high-profile online shopping days.

Keeping holiday shoppers happy with omnichannel options

International borders are not the only lines that eCommerce has increasingly allowed retailers and shoppers to cross. With the emergence of mobile shopping and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) services,  the line between in-store and online shopping has become blurred. To keep shoppers satisfied and grow revenue, it is critical to boost fulfillment of BOPIS orders by optimizing fraud reviews.

In-store pickup services can take the stress out of the holiday shopping rush, simultaneously bringing more customers into stores. For example, leading up to this holiday season, retail giant Walmart is not only offering 20 million online items (more than twice as many as in 2015) but is also promoting in-store pickup services – conveying to holiday shoppers that their convenience is a top priority.

Making spirits bright with mobile commerce

As the days of desktop dominance dwindle and the world becomes more dependent on mobile devices for everyday life, keeping up with mobile commerce (mCommerce) trends is a business necessity.

To capitalize on the millions of daily mCommerce transactions, merchants must prioritize initiatives like streamlining navigation, improving website load times, simplifying checkout processes, and of course, optimizing fraud prevention measures for mobile devices.

Your business’s perception of fraud risk levels based on device sources could lead to false declines for many good customers. Behaviors considered risky for mobile during the year can actually be very safe during the holiday season, such as geographic changes and mismatches between billing and shipping addresses that are typical at this time of year. But it is important to recognize that just as a device source’s traffic can grow in popularity among legitimate customers, it can also be a tool in the fraudster’s arsenal.

Customer experience is key to staying ahead

Online retailers just can’t afford to leave the customer experience behind. Providing a robust omnichannel shopping experience and successfully catering to global shoppers will allow eCommerce merchants to make the most of the holiday season.