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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, STORE CLOSURES, SHIFT CONSUMER BUYING BEHAVIOUR LEADING TO ACCELERATED DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FOR MERCHANTS

CORONAVIRUS

Forter Issues First In A Monthly Series of Coronavirus Special Reports 


Forter, the leader in e-commerce fraud prevention, today announced the release of the Forter Special Report on the Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer and Fraudster Behaviour. The report provides merchants across industries with insight into trends seen within the $150B in transactions that Forter processes annually.

As the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the globe, government responses have included enforced social distancing and financial support to beleaguered economies. Merchants who sell non-essential goods have responded by closing physical stores, and in some regions also their online operations. Consumers have begun to shift their purchases, even those of essential items such as groceries, online.

The Forter Special Report tracks trends and spikes in consumer behaviour as well as innovative methods that opportunistic fraudsters take to prey on consumers during this unprecedented and unpredictable time.

“Merchants are scrambling to cut costs, reduce the impact of fraud, scale efficiently, and deliver a consistent customer experience to meet rising consumer online buying behaviour,” said Michael Reitblat, CEO and co-Founder of Forter. “The aftermath of the pandemic will accelerate digital transformation among merchants as consumer shopping habits adapt.”

Covering industries including travel, fashion and beauty, food and beverage, marketplaces, and more, The Forter Special Report uncovers consumer buying trends such as:

  • The travel industry has been extremely hard hit. Regional variations are appearing, in particular an increase in purchases of inbound international travel to China in the weeks before the country closed down inbound travel on 26 March. Data in the last month points to “optimistic travel” in which the travel date is 120 or more days following booking. Such bookings now account for 65% of travel purchases.
  • The food and beverage industry has seen a dramatic increase in online purchases. New accounts now represent 15-25% of all customer volume, compared to 5-7% prior to the pandemic. As merchants struggle to manage the increased volume and meet expectations of new customers, we are seeing an increase in service chargebacks.

Fraudsters are exploiting confusion and uncertainty caused by government and corporate policies:

  • As people adjust to working from home, Forter sees a marked increase in social engineering fraud, associated with fake emails purporting to be from HR and corporate addresses. Here fraudsters invite people to click for more information, instead taking victims to malicious sites.
  • With a shift to online shopping in Apparel and Accessories, we see an increase in gift card purchases. While a higher number of legitimate buyers usually means that fraud rates drop, gift card fraud rates have not. Fraudsters have noticed an increased demand of the completely virtual merchandise that is easy to monetise.

In its recent report, “Mitigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Impacts With Digital Commerce (March 2020),” Gartner asserts that “the COVID-19 outbreak will negatively impact business performance in the short term as offline activities are cancelled and online orders overwhelm delivery capacities. Application leaders can mitigate the impact and ensure continuity of operations by accelerating digital commerce initiatives.”

 

“With more consumers experiencing buying online, we expect merchants who hadn’t considered e-Commerce as a viable platform to now try it,” continued Reitblat. “Merchants that had already adopted e-Commerce struggle to meet this increase in demand. Working collaboratively from home and hiring to meet the volume create obstacles for those who manually review transactions for fraud.”

Forter’s integrated fraud prevention platform delivers real-time decisions at every point of the customer journey from account sign up and login, to purchase, and to returns. The system is tailored for each merchant based on its unique business requirements, pairing merchant feedback with Forter’s expertise.

Forter’s growing Global Merchant Network includes over 620 million consumers globally and 97% of online US consumers. Links among known consumers and those new to the network allow the platform to infer trust, resulting in higher accuracy without the need to manually review transactions and interactions.

With the Forter platform merchants can expect an up to 90% reduction in false declines, recapturing otherwise lost revenue and delivering the best possible buying experience to their consumers, with an up to 90% decrease in chargebacks due to fraudulent activity. Forter allows merchants to scale and accelerate their digital transformation strategies even in an uncertain time.

“Rules based systems by their nature look at the past and adapt to it,” said Reitblat. “New consumer behaviours, which we’re seeing across industries, as well as new fraud behaviours, are missed by these systems until they can adapt. Forter’s identity-based system authenticates the buyer, not just the behaviour.”

Together with the Special Report, Forter has also issued its Eighth Fraud Attack Index, highlighting industry trends and innovative fraud vectors, showing the evolution of fraud, comparing H2 2019 to H2 2018. The report features the continued evolution of fraud attack vectors across all customer touchpoints, demonstrating the need to protect merchants’ digital offerings at all interactions in the customer journey, from account abuse to payment abuse to policy abuse.

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TRIO OF NEW REGIONAL DIRECTORS HEAD UP TIGERWIT’S GLOBAL EXPANSION

Following the release of their record revenue for the last financial year, award-winning online trading platform, TigerWit, has strengthened their team for global expansion with three additions to the Business Development team. Covering the areas of Africa, MENA and Latin America respectively, James Blackwood Murray, Hazim Ismail and Mario Saudino are the latest high-profile names to join the TigerWit BDM team that service clients via their global website www.tigerwit.com.

James Blackwood Murray’s move to TigerWit has garnered attention from trade media outlets due to his standing and experience within the industry. As part of his appointment as Regional Director of Africa, James will be responsible for the management of strategic growth within the area, based on over 15 years of sales experience in financial markets along with extensive knowledge of the African target market. Speaking about his appointment, James Blackwood Murray said “I am very excited to be leading the strategic development of growth in this frontier market. TigerWit has witnessed significant growth over the past few years in other regions and I am seeking to build on this within Africa and educate our clients as to the benefits of trading with the transparency of blockchain”.

Hazim Ismail has been appointed Regional Director of the MENA markets and will be responsible for the expansion and development of TigerWit strategic solutions within the region. Hazim has previously worked in London and Dubai, heading the operational and commercial business units of financial institutions with strong market share goals. With 10 years of experience working in financial markets and extensive knowledge of the Middle Eastern financial landscape, Hazim Ismail was quoted as saying “Our unique solutions are a real asset to serve the retail and business partners in the region. We offer great partnership opportunities thanks to our innovative solutions and proactive adaptability to the local requirements”.

Appointed as Regional Director for the LATAM and Spanish speaking regions, Mario Saudino brings 10 years’ experience in financial markets sales and project management to TigerWit. Mario will be focused on the regional team management, customer relationships and sales strategy in order to achieve growth for TigerWit in these areas. Speaking about his role, Mario Saudino said “I’m delighted to join a company with such prestige as TigerWit and join an unparalleled, professional team. TigerWit’s trading technology provides its clients a superior alternative to the ‘saturated standard’ in the online trading arena”.

 

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RETAILERS WHO OPEN THEIR DOORS WILL NEED EXTRA HELP

With thousands of retail stores given the green light to open in the next few weeks the government needs to think

of helpful tax breaks and further assistance, say leading tax and advisory for Blick Rothenberg.

“The problem is that many retailers are already on their knees having had no income for some three months now they will have to spend money that they don’t have on making sure that both staff and shoppers are safe when they re-open their doors,” said Richard Churchill a business advisory partner at the firm.

He added: The Government have already done a great deal for business and are encouraging shops to open to give that much needed kick start to the economy but for many it’s going to be another expense and they are going to have try and find the money for things like screens, protective equipment and extra security to police the measures they introduce.

“With the June rental payment looming it is clear the bounce back loan scheme may provide insufficient funding for all these additional costs.”

Richard said: “ The Government should consider a one-off grant or voucher system specifically for the purchase of equipment or modifications to shops designed to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 spreading and to observe social distancing guidance. “

He added:” Alternatively expenditure on such equipment could be subject to enhanced tax relief to give greater benefit for such expenditure and in a similar way to Research and Development expenditure consideration as to whether losses generated through this expenditure can be surrendered to HMRC for a cash receipt.”

“Also businesses that have overlooked CBILs in favour of Bounce Back loans and now require additional funding will be excluded from the CBILs scheme and consideration should be given to allowing such companies in receipt of a bounce back loan to also be eligible for a CBILs loan.”

 

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