Published: November 12, 2020
Reading time: 2 minute read
Written by: Kayla Parker

During NORA’s recent Retail CMO Symposium, forty of Australia’s leading retail CMOs and senior marketing executives gathered online to explore the next chapter of retail marketing and digital opportunities. Post COVID-19 marketing priorities have been redefined and a new agenda for 2021 has been reimagined committed to customer-centric engagement, agility, and fast technical adaptability. 

How to Thrive in a COVID-19 Reality

Consumer buying behaviors are changing and COVID-19 has impacted digital commerce for merchants around the globe. During a panel discussion led by Todd Welling, CEO of Overdose and Forter’s own ANZ VP, Ata Gokyildirim, leading CMOs discussed how they have seen their customer’s shopping behaviors shift and how they are changing how their business is responding to these dynamic changes. 

For many merchants, in order to succeed in this new environment, they had to understand how to adjust their business operations on the fly. Focused on customer conversions to off-set some of the physical or in-store losses they may have been experiencing over the early COVID-19 period, merchants had to pivot their approach to ensure optimization of their digital channels and redirecting/retraining store staff to provide digital services. Businesses need to make sure that their digital channels are as streamlined as possible to meet increased consumer volumes as well as elevated customer expectations of service. Large influxes of online shoppers has meant impacts on operational teams, fulfillment processes, and delivery. 

New online buyers grew 5x in 2020
New users are 5-7x more likely to be declined than returning users.

The increased pressure on operations and inventory requirements has caused upticks in service chargebacks and poor customer experience. One of the challenges during this period has been balancing the need for a smooth customer experience along with the ability to keep the business protected from increased instances of fraud and abuse. In order to do so, merchants must understand the need to prioritize fraud prevention. 

Why Fraud Should Be a CMO Priority 

The current approach to fraud prevention has been typically based on stringent rules or teams of manual reviews. As an influx of consumers flocked to online channels, these systems were not able to scale, causing good customers and new online users to be falsely declined or potentially turned away. 

In order to ensure merchants are able to capitalize on the potential revenue of new users and legitimate returning customers, even amid higher than average consumer transaction volumes, a fully automated fraud prevention partner is required. To minimize operational costs while maximizing customer conversions, CMOs should ensure they have augmented their digital presence and optimized their fraud prevention. Current manual review processes and too-restrictive fraud rules will result in less accurate fraud and abuse decisioning. 

As merchants prepare for the holidays and marketers are looking to capitalize on the season for higher-than-ever volumes, having an effective fraud and abuse prevention strategy in place now will be critical. As captured in Forter’s Ninth Edition Fraud Attack Index, businesses should anticipate new avenues of fraud and abuse due to the new climate of commerce amid COVID-19. Omnichannel offerings aimed to be as convenient as possible, blending digital and in-store experiences, have also opened new vulnerabilities for abuse from good customers and fraud by nefarious actors. 

As Forter CMO Angela Whiteford discussed in her breakout session, with online consumer sales spiking and consumer expectations higher than ever before (expedited shipping, BOPIS/BORIS, omnichannel experience), it’s important that merchants get ready now to reduce friction, reduce cart abandonment, and improve conversion rates. 

To listen to some of the highlights of the recent NORA Retail CMO Symposium, listen here now:


2 minute read