I recently had the chance to sit down with Gary Penn, Global VP of Digital and E-Commerce at Nixon, to discuss some of the lessons he and his team quickly learned over the last few months as the world of retail changed, and how they’re planning for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nixon, a global lifestyle and accessories brand, had to shift almost exclusively to a digital-first strategy. Since March, they have seen overall interest in the company and e-commerce sales skyrocket across the globe. As Gary explains, for online shopping there’s always been a hurdle of getting the consumer to actually press the checkout button. However, once people realized that online was the only way to shop, it became much easier to convert people who were browsing into active shoppers. Now, as choices are returning and brick and mortar stores are beginning to reopen, Nixon has found that people are choosing to blend their online and in-store shopping experience.
Doubling Down on Digital
Nixon began their digital transformation process before COVID, and now with the increase in online traffic, they’ve decided to continue to invest in their online channels and grow their digital footprint. Since they’re already thinking digital, they don’t view the upcoming holiday season as one that will be radically different, just with traffic to their online channels on steroids. With brands such as Walmart and Target closing their brick and mortar locations for Thanksgiving, Gary and his team are preparing for high volumes of shoppers looking towards online channels to take advantage of holiday sales.
During our conversation, I asked him to think of the three key takeaways he’s learned over the past 6 months while adapting to the new COVID reality. He summarizes the following:
- Trust the Data. In March, when everything completely shut down, Gary decided that his team couldn’t live in the mindset of fear. Instead, they turned to the data and realized that consumers were shifting online more rapidly than he expected. He recommends that when you see a trend in your data, trust it, and then act on it quickly.
- Plan Early, Plan Often and Be Ready to Change the Plan. With lots of uncertainty in the market around politics, the pandemic, and the economy, Gary has learned that the key to success is to come up with a plan, but to always be ready to shift. If sales are down, be prepared to introduce a promotion. If sales are higher than expected, don’t be afraid to have your employees help out in the distribution center to fulfill orders and create happy customers.
- Peace of Mind is Invaluable. E-Commerce continues to grow more and more complex every year, from omni-channel offerings to new regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. With everything e-commerce teams have to worry about, he recommends finding partners with specific areas of expertise (like fraud prevention), to take pressure off the team.
Finding Peace of Mind with Forter
Just a few years ago, Nixon was using a manual fraud solution to review transactions. While it functioned with a small number of transactions, it would never have been able to handle the increased online volumes that Nixon has been seeing since COVID began. With Forter’s fraud prevention solution that supports real-time, automated decisioning , Gary and his team get to enjoy that invaluable peace of mind – they don’t have to spend time worrying about maintaining rules and conducting manual reviews, instead focusing on the things that really matter to their business.
“Implementing Forter has been a no brainer, chargebacks have decreased and we’ve seen a double digit increase in order acceptance,” said Gary.”This has meant more revenue for Nixon, less friction for our customers and ultimately that I don’t need to worry about fraud anymore.”
Gary mentions that another key to maintaining that peace of mind is being able to communicate with your fraud vendor in real-time. Through their combined Slack channel which is supported globally, the Nixon team can reach out to the Forter team whenever they need, and get immediate support, answers, or advice.
To hear my full conversation with Gary, check out the recording here.