Almost everywhere, rapidly rising prices, especially of food and energy, are causing serious hardship for households. And following a rough 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its global growth projection for 2023, predicting a 2.7% growth rate — 0.2% lower than the July 2022 forecast.
The IMF also predicted that the three largest economies — the United States, China, and the euro area — will continue to stall. “Overall, this year’s shocks will re-open economic wounds that were only partially healed post-pandemic.”
There is always a potential for silver linings hidden within serious situations. Tough economic times can be powerful propulsion for exciting new business. They can also help give established companies a needed nudge to center themselves — encouraging them to set the proper habits and priorities.
However, tight times significantly impact consumer spending, and many businesses will see stunts in growth and fewer transactions than expected. However, one group that doesn’t reduce its buying capacity during downturns is fraudsters.
Fraud Rates Are Already Increasing
It’s not that fraudsters buy more during downturns but that fraudsters try to steal about the same amount as they usually do. But because good customers are buying less, the fraud rate increases as fraud attacks make up a higher percentage of overall transactions.
Comparing the second half of 2022 (so far) to the second half of 2021, we can already see the increased fraud rate emerging. The impact any given business may see varies by region and industry — but overall, we’re seeing fraud rates increase anywhere from 2.5% to 5%. That’s a particularly worrying trend if the IMF is right about the worst being yet to come.
The Impact on Digital Commerce
Successful fraud eats into already-decreasing profits for digital commerce, making it more important than ever to prevent fraudulent transactions. Four things to consider:
- Know Your Numbers: Executive teams are likely to be looking especially closely at KPIs, and where they can find corners to cut, so it’s vital for fraud prevention teams to show that they’re keeping fraud low and protecting the company from loss.
- Don’t Throw Friction at Fear: Another thing for digital commerce leaders to watch out for is the temptation to enact restrictive policies that add friction and inhibit a good customer experience. It’s very understandable to want to put extra protections in place to guard your checkout against loss, but adding friction for good customers can lead to cart abandonment and loss of customer LTV — which is a harrowing outcome during a slow sales year.
- Do More With Less: Many fraud prevention teams are being asked to do more with less already, and that trend will likely continue if predictions about 2023 come to fruition. Knowing your numbers and presenting them regularly (and accurately) can help show executives that the fraud team needs more resources during challenging times. If you’re in a “do more with less” situation, brainstorm gaps in coverage that fraudsters can take advantage of and try to mitigate these risks by being creative and analytical about the problem.
- Look at Fraud Impact Downstream: In many industries, higher fraud rates can indicate that more goods are being successfully stolen and, in time, sold for lower prices on the secondary market. This discourages customers from buying firsthand and incentivizes fraudsters to supply the demand for cheaper goods. Keep an eye on what’s going on in your industry for insights into goods most likely to be attacked.
How Can Forter Help?
I’m proud to work at Forter because I love being part of the mission to prevent fraud and improve customer experiences — something that I feel even more strongly about when customers and companies are feeling the pressure.
Forter’s Trusted Conversions means that companies can fully automate their fraud decisioning — ensuring accurate approve/decline decisions in real-time. This is an excellent fit for the needs of many companies in these challenging times because:
- With real-time decisions, customers get a great experience every time. Frictionless shopping helps reduce dropoff at checkout and also encourages customer loyalty for increased LTV. In times when every little bit helps, that impact can add up.
- Fraud attacks are caught fast. Fraudsters learn quickly that your site is well protected and back off, making life easier for your fraud team and better for your company.
- Real-time decisions free your fraud team up for more strategic and agile work so that you can adapt quickly to changing circumstances as the economic situation evolves — and the buyer behavior changes along with it.
- Forter’s chargeback guarantee can cover any chargebacks that get through (if you decide to go with a covered model). This means companies who prioritize being able to predict financial costs can be far more confident in their predictions around fraud costs.
In addition, Smart Claims helps your chargeback team to streamline chargeback processes, improve win rate and recover lost revenue — something many businesses will need to prioritize when times are tough.
If you’re curious about any of the ways Forter can help your business and would like to learn more, feel free to reach out! I’d love to hear from you.
Forter is the Trust Platform for digital commerce. We make accurate, instant assessments of trustworthiness across every step of the buying journey. Our ability to isolate fraud and protect consumers is why Nordstrom, Sephora, Instacart, Adobe, Priceline, and other leaders across industries have trusted us to process more than $500 billion in transactions. Click here to learn more.