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March 2013

How to Handle Refunds, Returns and Lost Orders

 by zack on 28 Mar 2013 |
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  Part of any online store’s overhead is the cost of returns and lost orders. Consumers are finicky and prone to fits of indecisive action. Out of every hundred purchases, you’re bound to have at least a few returns. You need to prepare accordingly. That means working out a consistent and agreeable return policy that favors consumer habits, without making it too difficult for you to keep in business.  Refunds, returns, and lost orders can be quite an unpleasant bit of business. However, as long as you’re clear, consistent, and fair in your policies, you can actually end up adding value to your business. Returns Your return policy is going to be unique to your business. It needs to be personalized so that it makes sense for you, while still accommodating your customers. You can always offer a money back guarantee, however if your product is an impulse buy or something of the sort, you’ll need to actively work against buyer’s remorse in your return policies. Something like that can be addressed with time constraints. Time constraints are the limiters that you put on your returns. In other words, the length of time that you will allow before you no longer offer a refund for a returned item. For example, let’s say you’re selling Girl Scout cookies and an inebriated forty something who’s feeling lonely, hungry, and depressed wants to put in a rather large order. You’ve got to limit the time he has to return his cookies or he might come to his senses and realize he doesn’t actually need 100+ boxes of delicious thin mints. Of course, you might actually feel bad about feeding him sugar coated obesity and not leaving a sizable window for returns but keep a stiff upper lip. You’re running a business here not a charity. Store Credit vs. Money Back or Item Exchange. You also need to decide what kind of a refund you’re willing to dole out. Do you offer full money back? Store credit? Or even exchange? The choice is up to you, but you should realize decisions like these have a direct effect on conversion rate. Customers like options, and the more you give, the more appreciative they’ll be. Conversely, if they feel locked into a purchase by an overly strict return policy with no refunds accepted regardless of circumstance, their confidence drops along with your credibility and conversion rate. A store credit or exchange only policy can also limit your viability in a shopper’s mind. Especially if your store has a limited selection. Giving money back is never pleasant, but it’s a necessity if you want to keep your customers truly happy. Some might deal with an exchange or credit policy, but they’ll do so begrudgingly. Policy Design The Return policy itself, in its written form, should be easy to understand and easy to find. You want to make things run smoothly for your customers. Use easily digestible languages so as not to intimidate, bore, or in any other way discourage your customer from understanding your return policy. An easy rule of thumb to remember when creating an effective return policy goes like this: easy to read, easy to find, easy to do. That means being up front with any costs associated with returns. These need to be stated explicitly in order to avoid unseen or hidden costs. Note clearly whether or not a customer has to pay for return shipping. Otherwise this will come as quite an unpleasant surprise and leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth. They’ll be far less likely to buy from you again. You should prominently display a button/banner/link for your company’s return policy. It’s an important part of any consumer purchase, and should be treated as such. It gives the wrong impression of your company if this piece of important information is tucked tightly out of sight. It seems like you’ve got something to hide, which is no good. Because in your business, transparency is very much a good thing. If your customer is returning an item they’re dissatisfied with, you should use this as an opportunity to better serve their needs. Don’t forget that when they’re returning a purchase, they have to actively engage with you. Engagement is half of your marketing strategy already, or at least it should be. So take the chance to offer customers an extra something special whenever they’re looking to return an item. Some valid options include discounted items, similar products, or additional free content. It’s also an excellent opportunity to ask them for feedback. You know what they say; you can only truly count it as a loss if you lose the lesson. Minimize returns Ideally, there would be no returns to your online store at all. However, this is far from an ideal world, and we have to be prepared to live in reality. So the question becomes: how can we minimize the returns that we are obligated to process. There are a few proven successful strategies. One is honesty. You need to give consumers an accurate product description of the item they’re considering for purchase. Vivid and high quality product photography can also go a long way to help inform customers of the exact appearance of your products. We mentioned time constraints briefly above in this capacity, but these can be such powerful tools in limiting the number of return requests you’ll receive, they bear a bit more emphasis. Although above we stopped short of recommending a small window for returns, it can sometimes be the way to go, depending on the products you’re selling. In the somewhat specified and silly scenario we drew, the time frame was kept short so as to reduce the likelihood of a consumer realizing a mistake. However, this tactic could have the opposite effect, making a consumer nervous about the small window could make them more determined to void the purchase entirely. Another tact to take is to give a large window of opportunity to make the customer feel comfortable with their purchase. It’s simple reverse psychology. Not surprisingly, 30, 60, or 90 day periods for accepting returns are very common for online stores.   Some brick and mortar spots will actually extend the grace periods past the point of common sense. Sam’s Club for example has been known to accept a mattress return YEARS after the initial purchase. Wal-Mart, being the retail giant that it is, can afford to have a stupid policy here and there. But for a small ecommerce business, it’s best to stick to a month or so for your limitations. It’s also important for clarity and credibility sake to have a separate policy in place for damaged or malfunctioning purchases.   What not to do Be inconsistent. Don’t make allowances for some customer while taking a hard line with others. Be firm with your return policies, only making exceptions for the truly adamant high value customers. Write an angry return policy. Using threatening or aggressive language in your return policy can make a consumer cringe and flee your checkout page in a hurry. Makes sure the tone of your return policy is consistent with the friendly and amiable copy that you’re using to sell the products in the first place. Assume that nobody reads the fine print. A lot of people won’t, but then again, a lot will too. Savvy shoppers will always check a return policy, because they want to feel comfortable with the purchases their making. If you assume that poorly written or inconsistent or vague language will work for your return policy, simply because “nobody reads the fine print” you’ll definitely pay the price in the form of a disproportionate bounce rate on your checkout page. Lost Orders An even more frustrating ecommerce happenstance is a lost order. Lost orders are particularly annoying because you technically didn’t do anything wrong. The delivery guy messed up. Or it could be a fraudulent claim. These are difficult and largely unavoidable circumstances that you need to be prepared to address. You also need to know what to do if your item is actually lost in the mail. Here are a few guidelines on how to handle such a situation. Impose a waiting period before giving a refund. This way you can be certain that the package isn’t just arriving late. It can also help minimize capital lost. Depending on the product ordered, a lot of customers might just forget about it after a few days, and never request the replacement or refund. You can help guard yourself from these unfortunate circumstances by employing a delivery service that offers delivery tracking and verified delivery. Being able to track your packages and have their delivery verified brings the chances of fraudulent claims of lost items down significantly. It also increases your own sense of security about the safety of your packages, and if you give your customer’s the tracking data, it will increase their confidence in your company as well. Refunds, returns, and lost orders can be a real pain, but they can also be an opportunity for you to improve customer relations. It’s not like having to hand money or additional inventory over at no additional profit is a lot of fun, but if you look at the glass half full you can find ways to exploit these situations in your favor.  

Why and How to use CSEs when Marketing Your Products Online

 by zack on 22 Mar 2013 |
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Have you ever felt like your online store is missing something? Like there’s just some special ingredient to your business plan? If these sound like thoughts you’ve been entertaining, then chances are you haven’t looked into CSE marketing just yet. CSE stands for Comparison Shopping Engines, and they are proven effectual at driving targeted traffic to ecommerce sites. However, despite their well documented efficacy, they are often an overlooked marketing medium. Today our goal will be to discuss the process behind comparison shopping engines and how to best put them to use in your business.   What is a CSE? First off, let’s be very clear about what a CSE actually is. Comparison shopping engines can be defined as websites that exist for shoppers to quickly and easily find the best deals on the things they're shopping for. They do this by compiling searchable products so as to allow shoppers to compare product price.They work just like search engines, but with a more specified purpose. They will only bring up product results with matching titles and descriptions to the keywords entered into the comparison engine's search query. So just like you optimize your website to attract search engine traffic, you need to keyword optimize all of your products to attract CSE traffic. This CSE optimization is a separate process that’s not as well-known as many SEO techniques. For that reason, price comparison shopping is often referred to as a forgotten marketing channel. There simply aren’t that many experts in the field. Still that shouldn’t put you off in your CSE marketing efforts. Just the opposite, you should work to exploit this relatively obscure avenue. If you do so, it’s quite likely you’ll have the upper hand on your competition at least in this one respect. How do CSEs work? There are many different popular CSEs with their own individual requirements and qualifications. In general though, most shopper comparison sites work by uploading your product descriptions and data from your product feeds. They take these product feeds and convert them into advertising banners. Each time a customer clicks on your ad, you pay a small fee, usually between 10 cents and a dollar. This kind of pay per click advertising is the most common way shopper comparison engines work, but occasionally you’ll run into a service that requires you to pay for the ad up front. How do I use a CSE? Signing up for a comparison shopping engine is usually pretty easy. Most of the big sites have easily digestible step-by-step instructions that detail the process in depth, and many have support teams to call upon if you get stuck at one point or another.  However, maintaining, managing, and optimizing a product feed is considerably more complex. It requires a significant investment of time and practical proficiency. After signing up for a particular CSE you have to send the site your product feed, which will need to be customized specifically to that CSE’s specifications. Every shopping engine is unique in its requirements so you’ll have to spend a good deal of time setting up each product feed so that it will be effective on that site. To really utilize a CSE to have the greatest effect on your ecommerce venture, you’ll need a few different resources at your disposal. First you’ll need the time it takes to manage a product feed. This is a substantial investment and many marketing departments assign the task as a full-time job. Another requirement is the technical know-how that’s required to properly execute the setup and maintenance of a product feed. You’ll also need to have your product data, descriptions, and pictures to be high quality and pre-optimized before you ever list them on a feed. Finally, you’ll want to assign someone to go through the product feed at least once weekly to prune the ads that are attracting clicks sans conversions, while increasing the exposure of ads that have high clickthrough and conversion rates. These processes are called suppression and bidding, respectively. Bidding works by increasing the amount that you pay per click, which also increases the total number of advertisements. Suppression can be as simple as removing products that aren’t performing from the feed entirely. You can also underbid these ads; (spend less than the minimum per click) which will greatly decrease their frequency, therefore keeping your advertising overhead low, and your ROI as high as possible. Beyond these basic techniques there are some pro-tips that need to be adhered to if you really want your inventory to fly off the shelves. CSE sales are highly influenced by price, shipping, return shipping, number of sales, and brand recognition. That’s because shopper comparisons invite users to skim text to cover more ground quickly. While skimming, they’ll be on the lookout for these important data bits, and are more likely to clickthrough the ads that meet their exact criteria. So it’s important that your products are clearly labeled, described vividly, and alluringly promoted. That means keyword optimized titles and highly specified product descriptions, as well as well-timed and attractive special offers on certain products. Whenever a comparison shopper’s search query matches up with one of your keywords, that keyword will be bolded in your product title. So your optimized titles are bound to be more eye catching for one, and more attractive as a recognizably exact match to a query as well. Meanwhile, the greater detail in your product description, the more highly targeted your advertisement becomes. People want to know a lot about the products they’re buying before they ever receive said product in hand. So it’s incumbent upon the seller to provide them with as much detail as possible. You should also try to use your product descriptions as an opportunity to cross- or upsell. Utilizing proper phrasing like: “can be used with,” or “works well with,” you can use the space to advertise your other products. And you should, of course, use vibrant imagery to complement your product listings. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s never truer than when applied to online sales. Popular CSEs There are a lot of different comparison shopping engines to work with so here’s a brief list with a few attributes provided: Google Shopping-currently the biggest kid on the playground, any ads listed here will also be incorporated into Google’s ppc platform, adwords. Bing Shopping-like Google shopping, Bing offers free product feed upload, and though less than the tech giant mentioned above, Bing still drives a significant amount of traffic. Nextag-more of a multifaceted CSE, that allows you to list real estate and travel bookings as well as retail items. Shopzilla-over 100 million different products listed and a monthly average visitation of over 40 million visitors. Shopzilla is a popular and affluent player in the CSE world. Become-this CSE offers a user review function that’s pretty handy, along with all of the other standard functionality you would expect. Thus concludes our review of CSE marketing and the various engines with which to conduct those efforts. Check back soon for more ecommerce advice.  

5 Search Engine Optimization Tools that Every Online Marketer Should Explore

 by zack on 11 Mar 2013 |
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  Search engine optimization is a difficult and complex process. It takes a great deal of study to grasp it, and a great deal of experience to do it well. Not every ecommerce business has the resources in their budgets to go after a high level search engine marketer, much less a firm of reliable SEO experts. So what then? Luckily there are a lot of online resources to educate yourself about the process, and even more free tools to aid you in your work. Compiled below is a list of some of the top recommended SEO tools for a small business to take full advantage of. If you have a keyword quandary or find yourself in a backlink  bind, chances are that one of the following 5 tools can make a big difference in your online store’s troubles. So let’s get started. 1. Soovle (http://www.soovle.com) Souvle is a keyword research tool that allows you to build a massive list of related keywords or keyword phrases. It works by entering in a search term and compiling the suggestions that multiple search engines come up with in regards to the query. Up to 10 different search engines can be included in your research. That means in addition to the major engines everyone is familiar with, namely Google, Bing, and Yahoo; you also get to compile suggestions from shopping engines like Amazon, or video engines like Youtube. You can even get suggestions from foreign search engines that you’ve never heard of.   This sort of functionality can be very useful for things like generating a big list of keywords related to your niche. It’s also a wonderful asset if you don’t have the clearest idea of the terms you should be targeting. It can be very difficult to predict the terms people will search, but covering all your bases is fairly easy when you’re using the best suggestions from a variety of different highly utilized search engines.   It’s especially worth noting that each engine can provide you with a different perspective on the same query. For example, Amazon might suggest all of the retail products available around a keyword, while YouTube will suggest visual and audio descriptors of the same term. Thus Soovle can be very useful in your attempts at content generation.   2. Google Keyword Planner (http://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner)   The Google Keyword Planner is the Search giant’s latest addition to the adwords suite of free products for public use. And it’s predictably a very powerful way to go about generating keyword ideas and estimating the traffic those ideas will generate. The Keyword planner is in the process of slowly phasing out adwords last free product, the Keyword tool, which I personally find to be a lot simpler, but not nearly as multi-faceted. Keyword tool is still available for the moment, at least at the time of this writing, but it is slated to be removed from public reach.   Keyword Planner can be used to improve or create existing or new adword campaigns by adding in additional effective keyword ideas to target. The Planner allows you to search for keyword and ad group ideas based on terms that are relevant to your product or service, your landing page, or different product categories. But perhaps the most useful addition that the Planner brings to the table is it’s traffic and revenue estimator.   With this handy tool, you can make accurate estimations concerning clicks, search volume, and many other keyword performance metrics.   You can also track keyword performances over time, thus allowing you to determine what terms have consistent appeal versus those that might merely be momentarily trendy. Though the latter can be just as useful in terms of campaign targeting, so long as you’re  quick to act.   Another interesting attribute to your list building is Keyword planner’s similarity to an ecommerce shopping cart. The Keyword Planner allows you to create keyword lists you like by adding them to a shopping cart. I suppose that this is Google’s attempt to bring familiarity to the process. After all, if you’re involved in an online store’s inner workings, you certainly get the idea behind a shopping cart. 3. UberSuggest (http://ubersuggest.org) The UberSuggest tool is an interesting and somewhat quirky concept, again for keyword generation. Though this particular tool is geared toward finding quality long tail keywords. A long tailed keyword, by the way is a phrase that contains an initial popular keyword, and a few dangling modifiers. Not in the grammatical sense, mind you. Instead these modify the traffic you’re likely to receive. Long tail keywords don’t attract massive volumes of search information on their own, but they do attract a sizable amount in aggregate. If you word them correctly, you’re bound to catch stragglers searching for something in particular here and there. So if you target a lot of long tail phrases that each get a few searchers here and there… Well, you can do the math.   UberSuggest works by entering in a keyword or phrase and receiving that word or phrase back along with a long tail that’s ordered alphabetically. In other words, there will be up to 26 separate keyword lists for your search term + a letter of the alphabet. It’s a very organized way of going about things, and can be great if you don’t have much of an idea on where to start targeting long tails.   Usually, UberSuggest is used for compiling large lists which you can the filter later in a spreadsheet. Once your results are filtered, you can check their efficacy with a tool like the Google keyword planner mentioned earlier.   4. Keyword Questions (https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com) WordTracker’s popular SEO suite includes a free tool by the name of Keyword Questions and it’s again a quality asset in building long tail keyword lists. WordTracker espouses the view that marketers should focus on multiple keywords within a “keyword niche.” By doing so, you’re likely to attract a broader section of the population to your site.   The reason this tool is named “Questions” is because it will often show the question queries that search engines most receive within a selected niche. So to take a personal example, the search term might be ecommerce, and the suggested question keyword would be: “Where’s the best place to find helpful information about ecommerce?” The answer would of course be the Ashop blog, but you knew that already, didn’t you?   Self-approval aside, if you know the questions the consumers in your niche are asking, you can easily target the answers in your sites content. And when Keyword Questions is providing you with on average 2000 different phrases per search, you can do so in quite the comprehensive fashion.   5. MagesticSEO (http://www.majesticseo.com)   The final tool on our miniature survey is called MagesticSEO and unlike the four former entries, this one isn’t about keyword generation. Instead MagesticSEO aims to inform you about your site’s, (and its competition’s) link building efforts. I should mention that MagesticSEO is a suite of products, not just one, and many of them are pay services. However, there is a limited use free package available.     With information on link building as its main functional purpose, the array of data available from MagesticSEO is massive, and quite versatile. It can show you your site’s backlinks to its domains, subdomains, and pages. It’s fresh versus historic index function can show you a revolving monthly cycle of the top links to your site, or an all-time history of the compiled records for the same, respectively.   To elucidate, MagesticSEO allows you to keep track of which backlinks are directing the most traffic to your site, so that you can focus on at least keeping those active. You can also see which pages on your site need more backlinks and work on broadening the traffic stream to those areas.   What’s really interesting about MagesticSEO is that everything you can learn about your own site, you can also get the same details about a competitor’s site as well. you can search your competition’s backlinks, see where you stand in comparison, and compare up to 5 different domains backlink histories at a time while you’re researching. This can be a bountiful investment if you know how to interpret the data. And you can also feel a smug sense of self-satisfaction if you see your competitors engaging in Black Hat link building, while your site stays on the straight and narrow.    I hope this review of some of the more effective free SEO tools available has been helpful to you in your optimization efforts. Feel free to leave a comment on your own favorite SEO tools or your impressions of any of the ones on this list if you like. As always, we here at the Ashop blog are anxious for your feedback.

Online Theft and Other Frauds: What to Look Out For, and How to Handle it

 by zack on 05 Mar 2013 |
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   It’s a sad fact, but a hard truth that you have to set aside a certain part of your budget to account for the fraudulent activities that will inevitably occur in the  rocess of conducting ecommerce business. While it’s certainly unavoidable that 2% of the population will always steal, it’s no excuse for you not to put up as many barriers to their villainy as possible. To that end, here is the Ashop blog’s comprehensive guide to identifying and preventing the many incarnations of online theft. Commonplace Types of Online Fraud To begin with you need to understand the many different methods employed by the fraudulent that can be used against your online store. Here’s a simple list of the most common types of online fraud: Intellectual Property Theft- Whenever dealing with online media, it’s easy to have your work stolen. Bloggers are infamous for grabbing content and not giving credit where it’s due. This can be a problem if someone starts duplicating your content, and confuses the search engine bots. Identity Theft- The theft of personal information stored online is a big problem. Many people have large quantities of data stored online, and all it takes is one leak for all those important number to be taken by a nasty internet ne’er do well. Once in possession of someone’s social security number, name, address, birthday, bank account number, or what have you they’ll make illegal and fraudulent online purchases with impunity.Luckily, your online store can’t be held accountable for these lost funds. The victim’s Credit Card Company or bank insures these losses. Phishing-The online equivalent to a panhandling con artist. One that picks your pocket and empties your bank account. Phishing is when an email or website requests information, particularly your credit card and account numbers, or even passwords. Once you’ve unwittingly provided your info to a site you thought was safe, the phisherman then robs you blind. Make sure to ask the bank to confirm any account numbers associated with messages that you might suspect are Phishing scams Pagejacking- This is when those wacky hackers use their techno magic to co-opt part of your site to their own purposes. What they do is break into the backend of your site and take a bit of your source code. Then they use this to redirect some of your site’s traffic to their own duplicate site, which may contain offensive or harmful material embedded within. Imagine if your customer clicked on one of your product pages and got a face full of furry cosplay. That’s one less customer for you, and one more example of asinine trolling. You can only stop this kind of fraud once you’ve discovered it’s going on, which is unfortunate. So keep on the lookout for drastic changes in site traffic from day to day. Advance Fee Scamming- This is the oldest trick in the eBook, but it still gets the unsuspecting and the gullible with equally malevolent ruthlessness. This is a particularly reprehensible crime because it appeals to the needy and hopeful. It’s an offer for a large sum of money or goods that is promised to come after you’ve paid an initial fee, usually described as a transfer or legal stipend of some sort. To avoid being the victim of an advance fee scam all you have to do is be aware and vigilant. Bad check scams-  One thing that hasn’t changed about the crime of fraud as it’s translated into the virtual realm, is the threat of a bad check. A clever fake can fool most people, and by the time the bank confirms its illegitimacy, your scammer has already left town with your goods, and you end up eating the loss. If a customer wants to pay by check, be wary of their intentions and do some thorough checking before accepting payment. One easy way to cover your bases against bad checks is by rejecting any checks for large amounts.   Fake money orders- The thieves that can accomplish this task are pretty committed. Pulling off a fake money order scheme successfully is one of the more difficult fraudulent activities a scammer could undertake. This is because the funds transfer is handled by the bank. Banks are old hats at spotting fraud, and are better equipped than most online stores to prevent any fraudulent damages.It still occasionally happens though, so be wary of money orders from high risk areas like eastern Europe, the Middle East, or the poorer parts of Asia. Wire transfer fraud- Bank to bank wire transfers are probably the safest form of payment. Transfers from cash offices are a little bit shadier. It’s best to avoid them completely, but be especially suspicious if it’s requested. Wire transfer fraud is a common form of money laundering, and while you won’t suffer any losses, you might get into trouble for aiding and abetting the crime.     How to Spot Online Shopping Fraud There are many different ways of catching online theft before it happens. Security codes for example, are among the most basic measures in place to determine a credit card’s validity. These are the 3 digit CSV codes on the back of credit cards. Ask your customers to confirm these numbers in your online order form. If their number doesn’t match the one recorded by the bank or the creditor, then don’t accept the payment. You should also look out for any order with expedited shipping. Expedited shipping can be a sign of oncoming fraud. Give any orders that are especially large another once over before approving them when expedited shipping is in play.   It can also be evidence of a stolen credit card. Thieves are often trying to get the goods before anyone can cancel the card. If they get their goods shipped before you can shut down the payment, you’ll have to add another check into the L column. A good way of differentiating legitimate expedited shipping from online shopping fraud is by keeping track of the ratio between the order value and shipping cost. If it’s stolen money, then the criminal isn’t as likely to care much about relatively inexpensive shipping for a high dollar item(s). Another way to hedge  your bets against fraudulent activity is through customer engagement. Just like engagement builds a customer’s trust in your brand, communication with a customer should reassure you that they aren’t up to anything sketchy. If a customer responds to your emails, there’s a much lower chance of the order being fraudulent. Keep in mind that if they don’t answer, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should call the cops though. We all know how difficult it can be to get your customers to open our emails. Still, chalk it up as another warning sign and something to look out for. If at all possible, try to determine location of the order. Where was the order placed? There are free IP address geographic location programs and software suites that you can incorporate into an online order form.  If you can’t find the location that way, then check the billing and shipping address. If these two don’t match, that’s another red flag. Data thieves aren’t likely to ship to the billing address and try to intercept the mailman. You can also use an online service such as anywho.com or whitepages.org to find out if the address matches the other information requested on your order form. Again, in this scenario be very careful of orders from high risk locations. Asia, Africa, Easter Europe, and the Middle East are high risk spots for online shopping fraud. One more question you should always ask when dealing with a possible case of fraud: What kind of email account does this user have? When scrutinizing customer email addresses, it’s smart to be on the lookout for certain warning signs. If the domain is .edu, .k12, or .mil, then it’s highly suspect. These public websites are often exploited for their anonymity. There are also plenty of shady email services that you probably will never have heard of, these are willing to service scammers and be a willfully ignorant party to their ongoing schemes. How to Prevent Online Shopping Fraud Spotting a fraud in action is good, but what’ you really want is to stop it before it starts. Online shopping fraud is no joke, combatting it seriously take a serious commitment, one of both time and resources. If you have an online store of considerable size, it’s imperative that you employ a highly skilled team of individuals with a single prime directive: to detect and prevent fraud. If you can do that the rest of these measures should be gravy, mainly because you won’t be the one doing all the work. If however, you don’t have the resources to pull together a fraud team, you’ll have to pull double duty and read on. Don’t try to see this as a disposable cost though. A fraud team is extremely necessary, because of the vast section of the population looking for an opportunity to be dishonest. Another good idea is to closely monitor chargebacks. For those who don’t know, chargebacks are basically a grown up version of take-sies back-sies. Before funds are transferred the cardholder issues a withdrawal request. In a case of fraud, these cardholders will have already received their goods.  They can do this with expedited shipping, as we’ve already discussed; or if you have especially slow shipping, it could be possible. Try to keep track of any chargebacks that come through. Being able to match the transactions with order information will help you cut down on fraud in the future. There are also numerous dependable software suites available that will act as an effective filter for the majority of fraudulent activities your site is likely to encounter. This is a popular genre for programming because of the high demand, and ever evolving nature of online theft. Shop around for different options. There are also free tools for fraud prevention offered by creditors, Visa and MasterCard. AVS or Address Verification Systems can be instrumental in determining fraudster location, and should always be included as a necessary part of your checkout process. It allows you to cross reference the information a customer provides you with the information filed by their banks or credit card companies. This is how you determine the differences between shipping and billing addresses like we mentioned earlier. Though online shopping fraud is an ever-present and pervasive crime that can never be truly eliminated, if you follow these guidelines and remain vigilant, you can cut down on your lost revenues to a significant degree.    
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