A common theme among business owners is to ramp up in October to meet the demands of Black Friday and the following busy holiday shopping season. However, recent surveys are pointing to an increasing trend of shoppers starting well before Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday retail season. Today, the holiday season begins with Black November.
“… 40% of holiday shoppers say they begin their holiday shopping before Halloween …(therefore) it’s important for retailers to think about winning not just Black Friday, but the whole extended “Black November” and throughout the season.” (National Retail Federation Survey 10/20/2015)
However, one thing that remains constant is the expectations consumers have for fast transaction times.
“When asked which factors are the most important in their decision on where to shop 45.3% said convenience helped them decide. And when it comes to online shopping 28.3% responded that easy-to-use websites or mobile sites were important to them.” (National Retail Federation Survey 10/20/2015)
So how do you handle an earlier and longer holiday shopping season with high customer expectations? Things that may come to mind first are faster network and processor speeds, internet connections, quality of hardware, etc. However, one area that is often overlooked, but can make a significant difference in transaction time is calculating sales tax.
Consider this: Depending on your tax reach, every sales transaction you make this holiday season could include sales tax. How will you know the correct tax amount? There are many factors that go into knowing the answer to that question. The taxable location of a sale is a key driver in determining the correct sales tax amount. The combined sales tax rate may include city, county, district, provincial or state tax rates that must be calculated at certain touch points in the transaction. How will you know what these rates and touch points are? How will you upload that into your transaction system and continue to keep it updated? What would happen if your system fails? Will you continue to conduct sales or bring everything to a screeching halt? While you are answering all these questions, don’t forget your customers are waiting and expecting fast transactions.
Connecting your transaction system to a patented tax database gives you access to the most accurate tax calculations for all your products at lightning fast speed. You need uninterrupted service, timely tax content, and a top-notch support team to address all of your tax related needs. Utilizing the right combination of technology, tax technical resources and proven processes will free you up to focus on the many other aspects of running a successful business at the busiest time of year. Over the next few posts we will review best practices and steps you can take to make a difference in your organization.
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ONESOURCE Indirect Tax provides powerful tax automation software combined with the most comprehensive global tax content (supporting over 15,800 taxing authorities in U.S. and in over 180 countries) arming customers with a single tax engine that enforces tax rules and accurately calculates sales, use, and VAT taxes. ONESOURCE Indirect Tax can be deployed in either the cloud or on premise to accommodate companies of all sizes.