Making the holiday shopping season safe, secure and profitable

Balancing Security And Festive Cheer During The Holidays

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were once strictly American phenomena but are now being adopted by retail worldwide. They mark the beginning of a retail bonanza that often lasts well into February.

Shoppers rush to buy goods at discount prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then continue shopping throughout December until Christmas, before the next spending frenzy of the January sales begins in earnest.

For retailers, e-commerce sites, marketing platforms and PSPs alike, this three-month period is critical. Yearly predictions and targets of sales will be predicated on getting the most out of this quarter. Maximising the opportunities offered requires a approach that combines digital convenience tempered by appropriate risk management.

  • Think Mobile

Getting your mobile strategy right is absolutely critical because it is fast becoming the UK’s number one platform for digital retail. Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) figures from February 2015 showed mobile accounting for 45% of all UK ecommerce, and this figure is rising.

In late November it is too late for retailers to change their mobile commerce strategy, assuming they had one in the first place. This is unfortunate, as the Centre for Retail Research estimated that UK retailers are losing out on their slice a £6.6bn a year pie by not adopting the right mobile strategy.

But just having a functional mobile platform isn’t enough. A critical part of mobile strategy has to be the entire buying journey, including the method of authentication. Only a painless and secure journey from start to finish will result in trust and, ultimately, brand loyalty.

Mobile lends itself well to simple and straightforward methods of multi-factor authentication. The most prevalent combination of which is the phone itself (something you have) and the use of cardholder PIN (something you know), and even biometrics as well with most new devices.

  • Challenge Chargebacks

December 2014 saw £14.6bn spent in the UK on credit cards and £34.5bn on debit cards.  Customers are entitled to claim refunds on faulty goods or goods not received as expected. Card schemes then charge this refund back to merchants.

However, a global survey carried out earlier this year suggested that 86% of chargebacks were actually fraudulent. A robust security and identity assurance system can help separate the genuine claims from the fraudulent, making sure that genuine customer claims are paid and that the bogus are challenged.

  • Fight Fraud

A boom time for retailers is a boom time for fraud. From consumers falling foul of social media scams designed to obtain their card details to CNP fraud attacks, retailers need to be especially prepared at this time of year. Flexible authentication platforms, that offer increased or step-up protection at times of risk or uncertainty, can provide merchants and PSP’s with greater control over their risk programs, and equally as crucial, their customer experience.

Payment authentication needs to be robust enough to keep the fraudsters at bay, but it needs to be sufficiently unobtrusive so as to not hamper user experience.

The holiday shopping season should be, and can be, a time of plenty for retailers. But, to make the most of it, their mobile strategies must be right. Maybe now is the time to start thinking about Christmas 2016.