During the upcoming holiday shopping season, you likely anticipate higher-than-usual sales volume. Being proactive and preparing now is key to making sure this critical season is a successful one for your business.
To take advantage of consumers' increased appetite for shopping this time of year, you may be implementing unique selling strategies, special promotions, and even some new channels. These could, however, open your business up to increased fraud risk—or lead to an overly strict fraud strategy that could compromise the shopping experience for genuine customers.
1. Understand the holiday chargeback cycle
Chargebacks, or charges returned to payment cards after customers dispute items on their account statements, may be reported up to 120 days after purchase. So the impact of chargebacks doesn't come as a surprise, make sure your team understands the holiday chargeback cycle, including:
- Chargebacks reported from last shopping season.
- Last year’s peak transaction volume.
- Last year’s peak volume expectations.
If you’re concerned that you might have a lot of chargebacks this year, update your fraud strategy by optimizing existing rules or implementing a new tool.
2. Collaborate with marketing to identify promotion and sale periods
Your marketing and sales teams put a lot of effort into planning peak season sales rollout, including:
- Which products will be on sale.
- How they'll be marketed to different target groups.
- The launch schedule for marketing campaigns.
Customer spending patterns are different this time of year, especially with the addition of sales and promotions. Make sure your website or shopping cart platform has a fraud strategy that equips you to accept orders in line with those campaigns.
3. Plan IT requests in advance
During such an important season, make sure your website is up to date and working well in advance of any promotions or sales. The last thing you want is to discover a problem during peak traffic. Stay informed about what your IT team is doing and, as the shopping season approaches, only make website enhancements that are absolutely necessary, given the importance of the period.
4. Start testing your fraud strategies now
Examine the fraud strategies that worked last year, then add what's working right now as well as any additional strategies or tools needed to protect your business. Don't wait until Black Friday to start testing changes, as it will be too late to do a thorough job. Testing early gives you:
- More opportunities to identify what really works and what needs to be adjusted.
- More time to refine your strategy accordingly.
5. Review last year’s performance and set your goals for this year
Just as you would set personal and professional goals throughout the year, now is a good time to do the same for the holiday shopping season. Review last year's performance and identify areas where you can set realistic goals for improvement. These could be:
- Lowering chargeback rates.
- Decreasing friction at checkout.
- Reducing customer service inquiries.
6. Plan communication alignment and time off
As Black Friday approaches, the flurry of emails in your business will intensify—meaning important communications could get lost in overcrowded inboxes. Be proactive with your communications, especially on the topic of time off, as you'll want to ensure you have enough staff at key moments throughout the season. We suggest you communicate scheduled time off and work expectations to everyone.
In your communications with customers, consider sharing your team's peak season availability and time off plans and setting expectations around your ability to respond to emails. You may also find it useful to ask your partners and suppliers about their plans.