COVID-19 has brought with it a new reality, one where consumers shop online in greater numbers, and both fraudsters and legitimate customers are looking to take advantage. I recently interviewed Ena Eaton, Head of Operations at Hello Molly, one of the biggest women’s fashion brands in Australia, to find out how the company has adapted to the new reality brought on by COVID-19.
Adapting to the New E-Commerce Reality
Eaton explained that when consumers were required to shelter in place, the demand for “going out” clothing such as party wear and summer dresses dissipated. To make up for the shortfall in revenue, the company launched several new “cozy” fashion lines, including knitwear, loungewear, and comfortable shoes. The new lines were designed to cater to customers staying and working from home. The company also increased its engagement with customers on social media to foster a sense of community, offering styling sessions on Instagram and online events with live DJs.
Fraud and Abuse in the New Retail Environment
The changes Hello Molly made led to significant increases in website traffic and social media engagement. With increased online traffic and sales volume, retailers must ensure their platforms are not susceptible to new or known fraud. For example, many retailers now run more promotions to fend off the competition and attract new and existing customers to their online stores. However, these promotions attract both good customers and fraudsters. And some good customers may be tempted to abuse promotions. Over the past few months, Forter has seen a 100-200% increase in promo abuse attempts.
Hello Molly is a successful brand with a positive public profile and a large social media presence. “Unfortunately, that does make us a target for fraudsters who want to exploit any weaknesses on our website,” said Eaton.
Preparing for a Post COVID-19 World
Eaton explained that once shops began to close in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it didn’t leave people with a lot of choices when it came to shopping. But now most consumers see online shopping as a convenient way to buy the things they need. She expects Hello Molly and other merchants will see an overall increase in web traffic even when life starts to normalize. And retailers need to cater to the new reality in whatever way makes sense for their businesses. For Hello Molly, maintaining a sense of community and an expanded portfolio will be key.
Working with Forter as a Strategic Partner
Hello Molly went through several fraud prevention solutions before partnering with Forter. When the company grew larger, the previous solutions required Eaton to spend hours each day going through orders flagged for manual review. However, Forter is fully automated and provides decisions instantly at touch points across the customer journey, not just at the point of transaction.
“Having Forter enabled on our website gives me a lot of peace of mind. Our approval rate for transactions is over 99%, and we’ve got the benefit of the chargeback protection as well,” said Eaton. “The real-time decision making is fantastic and has really saved me a lot of time.”
Listen to the full webinar here for more insights from my conversation with Ena Eaton on how merchants should adapt to changing consumer shopping habits and fraud tactics in the coming months.