By Yvan Gilliard, SVP, Payment Solutions & Omnichannel, Radial
Retailers are in a perpetual state of learning and adapting strategies — the biggest lessons learned often come from peak season. What we glean from the past, we can use to improve future performance and customer experience. One key area is payments and fraud detection. Each year, after peak, we sit down with Radial customers and evaluate what worked and what areas we can build on for the next peak.
As we enter peak 2023, retailers are gearing up for a strong season expected to hinge on sales and discounts; driven by customers looking for savings. Part of delivering a successful peak experience to customers requires payment and fraud solutions that streamline the payment process and thwart fraudulent activity.
For eCommerce retailers, now is the time to ensure that last year’s lessons lay a foundation for this year’s success. Here’s the top lessons learned:
- Be prepared to support more store fulfillment. While store fulfillment options like buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), buy online, pick-up curbside (BOPAC), and Ship-to-Store were not new, many retailers were unprepared last year for how heavily customers relied on these channels. Store operations had to be adjusted to handle the volume and inventory and we expect this year will see heavy store fulfillment usage by customers looking to save time and shipping costs.
- Make sure wallets and buy now pay later (BNPL) options are available. There was an increase in wallet and BNPL usage last year that we expect will carry through into peak 2023. Wallets continue to be popular for their convenience and added sense of security and BNPL supports customers looking to stretch their budget on short notice. We saw retailers struggle last year to offer these options and have the necessary payment solution integrations ready in time. We also saw retailers offering too many wallet options, which ultimately can cost them. Retailers need to be strategic about which wallets customers truly want and offer a select few. They also need to make sure their BNPL options are obvious to customers before getting to checkout if they want to use this to their competitive advantage.
- Adjust fraud strategies during peak season to meet shipping deadlines. Fraud detection and prevention strategies need to be optimized during peak because of compressed timelines. With increased transaction volumes comes increased fraud — and retailers need to be able to ensure quick, secure transactions while monitoring for false declines. Staffing up for manual fraud reviews and adjusting fraud rules and policies are necessary to make sure that approved customers get their holiday packages on time.
- Make your legitimacy and fraud detection measures prominent. We’ve seen an increase in customers getting scammed by social media ads and fake websites, in fact, 1 out of 3 reported having been scammed in the last six months, our study found. With customers seeking out great deals and looking for sales, bad actors will likely have a larger attack field this peak. Customers need to be assured of your website, app, and social media’s legitimacy. Inform them of the measures you take to keep them secure.
- Test your systems and communicate expectations with vendors and teams. Retailers should load test systems, such as website, checkout page, payment providers, fraud providers, fulfillment, etc., to ensure those systems will be able to handle added volumes. Last year we saw systems buckle under spikes during critical sales events. It’s also wise to verify and communicate all internal and external contact information in the case of an escalation, and to review expectations with everyone prior to peak. Another thing to look at is chargebacks. We encourage retailers to understand new chargeback rules on compelling evidence, and audit their return policies and T&Cs to make sure there is coverage for chargebacks.
In our work with eCommerce retailers, we regularly consult on strategies to improve peak performance and success, and our Payment Solutions offers a variety of support, including guidance on choosing wallets, BNPL options, auditing return policies and T&Cs, chargebacks, and fraud prevention strategies. We provide a full range of payment solutions and fraud management, including AI-optimized fraud detection coupled with manual fraud reviews — which can help alleviate the need for retailers to staff up during peak. Our network of eCommerce retailers provides us with valuable aggregated industry data that we use to help each client optimize their payment and solutions operations.
As you enter peak 2023, take the time to ensure you’ve covered these key lessons learned.
Yvan Gilliard Senior Vice President Payment Solutions & Omnichannel
As Senior Vice President Payment Solutions & Omnichannel, Yvan Gilliard leads Radial’s business units focusing on digital eCommerce services: Payments Solutions covering payment operations, fraud, chargeback management and tax services; and Omnichannel Services.
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