What can we expect e-commerce to look like in the course of 2021? There is still a lot of uncertainty in the economy, but some strong trends have emerged over the past year that traders can now build on as buyers establish new habits and preferences.
For example, half of consumers who originally planned to return to their pre-pandemic in-store shopping routines once COVID-19 is under control now plan to stick with online shopping, according to a September 2020 Pymnts report.
This shift in preferences means ecommerce merchants must keep pace with marketing, selling, and fraud prevention trends. Let’s look at some of the key developments and see where they lead.
BOPIS, Curbside Pickup, bring new challenges
The order volume for Buy-Online-Pickup-in-Store (BOPIS) and pick-up at the roadside increased by more than 500 percent from March to June 2020.
The fluctuations in BOPIS order volume seemed to be accompanied by shutdowns and reopenings, but were consistently higher than in 2019. Even after stores fully reopen, BOPIS volume is likely to remain higher than pre-pandemic order levels as some customers now prefer pickup -shopping shopping.
That means omnichannel retailers need to further optimize their online ordering and roadside pickup processes to ensure customer loyalty. In particular, it is important for merchants to ensure that the inventory on their app or website reflects the reality in the store to avoid customers being disappointed with missing items upon pickup.
BOPIS is also susceptible to cardless fraud by criminals using a variety of tactics including:
- Order with a card and cancel the order minutes before the pickup is successful to take advantage of the delay in the ordering system updates.
- Use stolen cards to make purchases from multiple stores in one area in a short amount of time.
- Taking over existing customer accounts to place fraudulent orders that are difficult to detect.
Real-time data updates can help prevent pickups after cancellation. Speed controllers can recognize multiple orders in different stores on the same card. Batch analysis can identify multiple orders on different cards with the same bank identification number (BIN), which indicates possible BIN fraud. Manual review of flagged orders and additional review for high ticket or high risk orders (electronics, baby diapers, and formula) can reduce the risk of merchants fraud.
Social Commerce ‘Skeleton Keys’
As with BOPIS, social shopping has received a boost from the move to e-commerce and the extra time many of us now spend on social media. Analysts now expect the global value of social commerce to grow 31 percent year-on-year to $ 604 billion by 2027. According to the eMarketer study, the social sales channel is particularly suitable for clothing, electronics, beauty and home accessories.
Buying a product or subscription directly from a social post or stream is easy. This is good news for customers, but also good news for scammers. That’s because social media accounts are a prime target for organized criminals. With so many users reusing passwords for multiple accounts, if one account is data present, fraudsters are often given a “master key” for other accounts that use the same credentials.
It’s one of the reasons why Account Takeover (ATO) fraud has increased more than 280 percent over the past year. Once broken into a social media account, thieves can use the payment methods on file and coverage provided by a known customer to make purchases as easily as tapping a shoppable post.
To prevent purchases from being taken over by accounts, merchants who use social commerce need filters that assess user behavior and compare it to their behavior in previous sessions. For example, a social media user who has always focused on discounted pet supplies is unlikely to suddenly switch gears and make a quality electronics purchase.
By marking behavior mismatches for manual review, merchants can reduce ATO fraud while serving good customers who from time to time shop outside of their normal pattern.
Adjust messaging and services to the moment
Last year was the pivotal year when it came to messaging, offers, and products to advertise. At the beginning of the year, shoppers focused on cleaning and safety products, as well as staples like canned food and baked goods.
Over the year, changing consumer priorities resulted in a number of shopping trends for products such as home fitness equipment, wading pools, home appliances, and home office equipment as the reality of extended time at home sank.
After nearly a year of these rapid changes in demand, customers are expecting retailers to understand and deliver what they need in real time. So far this year the consumer focus is still on home ownership, but with the possibility of some normality by fall this year, retailers, travel companies and other ecommerce sellers should watch out for signs that buyers are making plans to return to school premises , Theaters, vacation spots, and other public places.
In this case, traders will need to pan again to catch up on the latest news and promotions. They may need to adjust their scam filters to accommodate new buying trends.
One way to help customers resolve a common problem is by implementing order tracking tools.
As more of us shopped online in 2020, package deliveries increased, as did package thefts. C + R Research’s 2020 Package Theft Statistics Report found that 49 percent of Americans had a package delivered at least weekly and 10 percent received packages daily over the past year. Of all respondents, 43 percent had stolen a package in 2020, averaging $ 136.
Because of the risk of package theft, many people try to be home knowing a package is about to be delivered. This is where retailers can help. By adding real-time order tracking capabilities to their website and app – and including them in order update emails – merchants can tell customers exactly when their purchases are arriving so they can limit the risk of theft without waiting hours for deliveries.
Order tracking is a relatively easy way to improve the customer experience. It can also help merchants fight friendly fraud by checking that orders have been delivered.
Use personalization data
Another way to ensure merchants deliver what customers want is to use AI to improve personalization. When merchants understand what individual buyers are looking for and what they are buying, they can better upsell and cross-sell by offering products that fit well with those customers’ interests, tastes, and budgets.
This understanding can also increase customer loyalty and lifetime value. 91 percent of consumers say that, according to the Accenture study, they are more likely to buy from brands that provide personalized recommendations and offers.
As merchants unify their customer personalization and fraud prevention data, their systems will be more intelligent about good customers to avoid accidentally declining their orders. This is important because all the money is wasted on personalization and other marketing if misaligned fraud filters reject an order from a customer who feels familiar to the merchant.
Thirty-nine percent of the time, according to survey data collected for ClearSale by Sapio Research, these shoppers will never return. With unified customer data, the anti-fraud AI can better identify customers so they are less likely to flag their good orders. This data is backed up by manual verification to prevent false declines. They are extremely valuable for sales and customer loyalty.
Ecommerce Fraud Prevention in 2021 and Beyond
Merchants who keep pace with new sales channels, current consumer needs and changing customer behavior can stay competitive in 2021 as long as they also adapt their scam programs to reflect the new tactics scammers are using in different e-commerce channels and avoid turning to good customers.
Doing all of these things is challenging, but it can be done with unified real-time data and AI-powered fraud prevention that is peer-reviewed to keep the system smarter and deliver a better experience.