Keeping Your eCommerce Site Safe and Secure

eCommerce is a multi-billion dollar industry; for some shoppers, big box stores are now literally no more than showrooms for items they can often purchase for less on the internet. For business owners, eCommerce means less overhead and the ability to reach a wider market.

By going to the company directly to buy products, the consumer can be assured that they are receiving the items as they are described. Sometimes dubious online marketplaces sell products that claim to be manufactured by specific companies, yet they really aren’t. When the customer receives their item, they might form an opinion about the product, thinking that the manufacturer is at fault, when really the product was counterfeit and illegally sold.

Things like this are fairly common in recent times, so knowledgeable consumers are sticking to online eCommerce websites that have a reputation as being safe and reliable. But how can you keep your eCommerce site more secure, as well as provide a safer experience for your customers? Well actually there are several different ways…


First, you’ll want to make sure that anyone who is signing up for an account on your eCommerce site has their information well protected. Allow visitors to your site to sign up with strong passwords; it’s recommended that you set up your site to inform new members during sign up whether or not their password fits the bill.

Strong passwords consist of numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters and symbols. They should be at least eight characters long, contain more than one word (some use a phrase) and of course, exclude any sort of personal information. Be sure to apply these password tips to your own passwords as well since you too are responsible for protecting your customers’ accounts.

It would also be wise to use two-factor authentication on your site. Basically this means that anyone who is logging in on your page will have to provide more than just a password and username to access their account. This adds an extra layer of security for your customers, though like anything else, it isn’t without security vulnerabilities.


Some shoppers can be a bit weary of using their credit cards online to begin with, and if your company happens to be the victim of a data breach, you risk losing not only business, but also your good reputation. It’s extremely important that you take the proper measures to ensure that your clients are using a secure website when completing their orders.

Start with SSL certificates if you don’t already have them installed on your web server. This will protect the data shared between your customer’s computer and your website during check-out. It would also be wise to avoid storing your customer’s credit card information for future use.

Though it can be more convenient for your customers for their accounts to have their card information on file, it poses a security risk. Even big box stores have had their customers’ data compromised from storing it in their online database.

Device Security

Speaking of protecting the information of your customers, did you know that you could be putting both theirs and your data at risk just by using an unsecure device? When you access your database, work on your eCommerce site or even use the internet on a computer that has personal information stored on it, you’re putting your business at risk.

If hackers access your computer or any other device that you might be using to connect to the internet, they can easily obtain crucial pieces of information and data that can be used for malicious purposes. The reputation of your company could plummet if you allow your data to become compromised, but luckily, safe-guarding your computer is actually simple.

Anti-virus programs are free, and although there are paid versions of these programs available, the free versions aren’t lacking in quality or protection. Some of these programs even offer anti-theft features, which will help a lot if a thief decides to take off with your gadgets. There’s an additional program you should consider installing as well: a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Using a VPN service is the best way to protect your data from hackers. VPNs protect your computer a bit further than an anti-virus program does because it shields your device from more than just malware. They encrypt your connection and mask your IP address, so not only will your location be hidden, but you can also use an unsecured internet connection without any issues.

Hackers can easily make their way into your device when you’re using public WiFi or other unsecured connections, which is why a VPN is recommended. A VPN is actually a remote server that you route your internet traffic through; beyond the security features it offers, you also gain the additional benefit of being able to access geo-restricted content.


In the event that you ever do have your site compromised, you’ll be glad that you have a backup on hand. For tutorials on how you can download a backup of your website, refer to your web host’s page for help. When saving the backup file from your website, it’s wise to make more than one copy and store them across multiple devices.

You may want to store your backups in an encrypted folder (tutorial can be found here) for added security. Another option is to store them online by using one of the many storage services available, though like anything else online, the security of these services can be somewhat limited.


Any software that you are using for your eCommerce site should be updated as frequently as possible. Software updates typically include patches to common security vulnerabilities within their code so by using the most recent version of the program, you have a better chance of keeping your site secure.

Speaking of updates, don’t forget to monitor your website regularly as well. It’s also important that anyone you may have hired to work on the site also checks it on a regular basis. Monitoring your site not only helps it remain safe, but also ensures that a problem can be fixed quicker so your customers also remain protected and your eCommerce page continues to run smoothly.

Fraud Management Services

When you’re dealing with a large customer base, it’s wise to invest in fraud management services. These can automatically scan through your orders to ensure that everything looks alright and nothing suspicious is occurring without your knowledge. Fraud management services will also prevent chargebacks, help you save money by preventing potential fees, stop shipments and overall, minimize payment fraud on your website.


One of the most important steps to ensuring that your eCommerce site remains secure is to thoroughly train your employees about internet security and confidentiality. Maintaining an online business comes with the possibility that your customers may be calling or emailing your company with their questions quite frequently, and by doing so, they could be putting their personal information at risk. It’s important that your employees are aware that they should not be discussing payment details via email, and in the situations where they must discuss payment over the phone, they should be asking for several forms of verification of identity from the customer.

Overall, the safer your company and eCommerce website is, the safer your customer is!

About the Author: Cassie Phillips works at Secure Thoughts and is a blogger who strives to help and encourage others to protect their personal information online. Over the years she has experienced her fair share of internet security breaches, which has inspired her to learn more about how she can safe-guard both her website and computer.

Join us for Happy Hour @ Google NYC on October 28th

Google Partners
You’re officially invited to join JXT Group and Google for an exclusive digital happy hour on October 28th. Food and drinks will be provided!

Hosted at Google NYC, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn from digital marketing experts about the latest industry trends. Featuring presentations by Menachem Ani, Founder & CEO of JXT Group and Candace Jordan, Google Agency Account Strategist, this is one you don’t want to miss.

Please RSVP as soon as possible, space is limited.


Common Mistakes Made By E-Commerce Sites That Lose Money

Experts at RJ Metrics estimate that e-commerce sites account for about 10 percent of all websites. Yet, it estimates that just 110,000 of those sites generate revenue of any “meaningful scale,” proving that a “build it and they will come” approach doesn’t apply to the world of e-commerce.

Here’s a look at some of the most common mistakes made by money-losing e-commerce sites.

Surprising the customer with costs.

Your e-commerce site may be legally required to charge customers a certain amount of tax,; and their shipping method of choice may present an additional set of fees, too. Customers may inherently know that buying online will present such costs, but e-commerce sites must still be transparent about exactly what those are — and how they may change as the customer adds or removes items from a shopping cart — in order to convert an online browser into a buyer. In fact, in WorldPay’s Global Shopper Report, more than half of the 19,000 customers surveyed said unexpected costs are the primary reason they’ll opt not to buy from an e-commerce store. 

Slow load times.

A study by Kissmetrics revealed that 47 percent of customers expect the desktop version of a Web page to load in two seconds or less before they’ll abandon a site. Though not all site-loading issues are within your control, optimizing your e-commerce and m-commerce sites to function as seamlessly as possible is a direct investment in your site’s bottom line.

Complicated navigation.

Nearly a quarter of respondents to WorldPay’s survey said they abandon an e-commerce site when navigation is too complicated. Ideally, it should not take your customers more than three “clicks” to find the information they seek. While menus can help structure your online shop, it should include no more than seven headers, and have no more than three subsets within each header.  Use navigation that people recognize based on the functionality of leading e-commerce sites. For example, a left arrow usually indicates that a person can “go “back,” — be sure to design your site to follow the same navigation norms.

The terminology you use to describe various product categories on your site must also be relevant to the terms your target customer uses to find products and services. Though using clever terms to describe product categories may seem like a way to develop a unique brand voice, it could make it that much more difficult for customers to find the information they seek.

Clunky checkout processes.

E-commerce checkout processes should instill customer confidence. Display familiar logos (like VeriSign and major credit card or payment acceptance symbols) that reassure the customer your payment processes are secure. Allow the option to checkout as a guest or to sign in using social media credentials. Prefill information like shipping and billing addresses once the customer inputs ZIP code. Provide checkout flows that are responsive based on the type of device the customer is using, so it’s as easy to complete a purchase on a mobile device as it is a desktop.

About the author:

Stephanie N. Blahut is the Senior Marketing Manager for Highland Solutions. Highland Solutions is a global provider of collaborative, enterprise solutions. Stephanie oversees the Highland Solutions website and has co-created their lead generation program.




Menachem Ani- New York eCommerce Meetup Panelist

On Wednesday, September 9th, JXT Group’s Founder and CEO, Menachen Ani was a panelist at a New York eCommerce Meetup hosted by Hara Partners.

The Online Marketing Panel was led by David Markovich, Founder of Online Geniuses. Ilan Nass, Founder of Takital, and Jonathan Eisenberg, Founder and CEO of Spark Hospitality Group, were the other featured panelists.

The informative trio discussed their favorite online marketing tactics and gave insights on how they would personally market some of the different businesses that were mentioned during the Meetup.

Retargeting was another big talking point at the Online Marketing Meetup. The panelists discussed different ways that businesses use retargeting to sell you their products. They also discussed how lookalike audiences worked, and how they lead to an increase in conversions and sales.

This panel gave great eCommerce insights and helped many people understand how to better market their businesses online.

Click here to view the New York Online Marketing Panel.


Five Reasons to Consider Buying an eCommerce Business

If you’re an eCommerce store owner then it probably goes without saying you’re familiar with the trials and tribulations of growing an online business.

Whilst those skills are useful for building a business from scratch, they’re also coming in handy for a new wave of online entrepreneurs looking to buy a website instead.

Should You Buy or Build an eCommerce Business?

The returns of buying can be very strong. The average expected annual return on buying an eCommerce business is around 33-50%, which is a great financial incentive for buyers.

There are many other strategic reasons to buy instead of building when it comes to growing your eCommerce portfolio. Many buyers acquire to add to their existing business and cross-sell products or use their skills to grow an under-monetized business for example.

FE International asked a number of eCommerce storeowners why they’ve gone down the route of buying existing stores. Here is what we found:

1. Buy a Proven eCommerce Business Model

A common reason for acquiring is to purchase a store with a proven business model.

When buying an aged and successful business, the store has established itself as a going concern. It has traffic, suppliers and customers already and it has also benefited from the owner taking all the startup risk.

The focus should lie in whether it is in fact a ‘proven’ model. Be sure when vetting an online business that you assess its traffic and financial history as well as the operating metrics. Ideally you should look for businesses aged 2-3 years or older.

2. The Strategic Upside of an eCommerce Business

ECommerce is a broad space and there can be a variety of ways to improve the money making potential of a business.

It’s not unusual then to see businesses on the market with a truly unique selling point, which can be acquired by a buyer for strategic purposes.

At FE International, we’ve witnessed buyers purchase eCommerce businesses to gain supplier relationships, specific customers, and warehousing contracts. All of which were later used for improving profit in their existing businesses.

The benefits are not necessarily constrained to just the assets of the business. Business sales usually come with training time with the seller to help the purchaser understand the business. Oftentimes buyers have used this period to gain the knowledge, experience and contacts of the seller for use in their other businesses.

3. Leverage Your Assets by Buying an eCommerce Business

Many eCommerce business buyers are already storeowners themselves. As such a popular reason for acquiring an eCommerce business is to buy additional traffic and customers for cross-selling products and services to.

If you own an eCommerce store in the same or related space it can mean potential cross-sell capability. Many investors have enjoyed strong returns early on from cross promotion between email lists and targeted pages.

Evaluating cross-sell capability lies in the operations of the business. Using Google Analytics as well as shopping cart data, helps to analyze the underlying customer behavior and see if they are a good fit for your existing products.

4. Save Time by buying an eCommerce Business

Often it is said in business that there is only one thing more valuable than money, and that is time. Entrepreneurs and corporate types are often heavily engaged in their existing business activities but still have ideas and ambitions to grow their empires.

Buying an eCommerce business versus building one saves huge amounts of time and helps many entrepreneurs reach their goals faster. This brings another compelling reason to mind also…

5. Leaping Ahead by Buying an eCommerce Business

For those new to eCommerce, buying a store can be the best way to leap frog the hard technical work in building a business such as keyword research, designing the website and finding suppliers etc.

It’s true also that under-monetized eCommerce businesses can be purchased for a small sum, meaning a buyer can acquire a business with a lot of sunk effort already in. This can mean buying a cheap launching pad for growth right away.

Closing the Deal

Buying an eCommerce business can be a very profitable, exciting and now much easier experience with the establishment of website brokers.

With the increasing size of the online business-for-sale industry, it’s worth the time for eCommerce entrepreneurs to think about buying an eCommerce business either for the standalone profit opportunity or the cross-sell potential.


About the author:

David is Brokerage Director at FE International. Starting out as an investment banker, he moved online to use his transaction experience for website brokerage. At FEI, he spends his time speaking with buyers, executing deals and working on raising industry standards to encourage more investments. In 2014, he closed more than $6M in sales and wrote a book on buying internet businesses for investors new to the space. Follow him on Twitter at @davidsnewell


How Mobile Payments Add to Your Marketing Power

Mobile payments can transform the smartphone or tablet you already own into a roving and affordable point of sale terminal — but they pack plenty of marketing punch, too. Here’s a look at how mobile payments can boost your marketing power.

Improve customer perception

As more retailers offer conveniences like “pay online/pick up in store” (with items often ready and waiting for the customer to retrieve within a matter of minutes), and the ability to pay without having a physical means of payment in tow, customers have high expectations for businesses of all sizes.

Though such high demands can be a burden for resource-constrained small businesses, mobile payments can multi-task beyond their primary purpose to present an inherent marketing benefit that could improve revenue and customer perception. That’s because some consumer behavior studies indicate that there is a direct correlation between the convenience a retailer offers, and the customer’s perception of the value of its goods and service. In tandem, that perception dictates what the customer is willing to pay. With mobile payments, you can equip several members of your team to use their smartphones or tablets to complete customer transactions from anywhere in the store, at the very moment the customer is ready to pay. Thanks to this optimized checkout service, the customer is more likely to have a memorable and positive perception of your brand.

Ensure your message is seen.

Many mobile payment processors allow you to collect customer data — like email and phone numbers — to deploy mobile marketing campaigns based on the customer’s past purchase behavior and geolocation (with the customer’s permission). Unlike other forms of targeted direct marketing — like postcards, emails and even social media ads — mobile marketing efforts reach customers on the one device they rarely part with — at any time, day or night. (75 percent of mobile users admit to using their device during restroom visits.)

Streamline loyalty programs.

More than half of small business respondents to a Manta survey said the bulk of their marketing efforts are dedicated to existing customer retention. Regardless of how much customers like your products or service, they have options. Loyalty programs can be an inexpensive way to remind the customer to return, provided the offers are meaningful enough to drive repeat purchase — and easy to redeem. Many mobile payment providers equip small merchants with the ability to incorporate rewards programs into the mobile checkout experience. With this integration, customers are automatically credited for their rewards when they transact, and given the option to redeem them during the transaction.

Develop promotions based on context.

Mobile marketing efforts tend be less expensive to develop and execute than traditional media — and far more flexible in terms of customer relevance. Because mobile devices travel with the customer, you can leverage location, purchase preferences, mobile search activity, and your own inventory and sales goals to customize contextually appropriate marketing offers to “low-hanging fruit.” (Data indicates that 70 percent of mobile users buy within the hour of conducting a mobile search.) Because the mobile marketing campaigns allow for flexibility, you’re empowered to control exactly who receives your offer, and for how long it’s valid.

Leverage a not-yet cluttered medium.

Though marketing investment companies claim they’ll make more than  $200 million in the mobile market, this industry remains a largely untapped medium — especially for small-business owners. Unlike junk mail, banner ads and paid social media posts — which have become so commonplace they’re often ignored by recipients — mobile marketing isn’t yet dominated. There is still plenty of opportunity in this space that small businesses can and should leverage to test and learn the ideal timing, language and strategy for mobile marketing campaigns that will deliver on business goals.

Mobile payments can improve your own operational efficiency at the point of sale — and in your marketing programs. With a combination of targeted offers, customer data, rewards and a convenient customer experience, mobile can prove a cost-efficient channel that equips your business to attract customers, generate revenue and cultivate loyalty.


About the author:

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, marketing and sales management. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.


JXT Group Achieves Google Partners All-Star Status

We are proud and excited to announce that JXT Group was selected as a winner of the 2015 Google Partners All-Stars Competition!

Thousands of leading Google Partner agencies were eligible to compete in the All-Stars Competition.  JXT Group was one of a few agencies that received the All-Star status and were selected to attend the Google Partners Summit at The Googleplex in Mountain View, California.

The Google Partner program is used as a way to distinguish top agencies that follow best practices, reach and surpass performance benchmarks, and have seen continued success and growth in their own business. Not only is it a huge accomplishment to have won the competition, but we are extremely proud and honored to be recognized as one of the top Google Partner agencies. Being selected as a Google Partners All-Star further showcases the hard-work, dedication and effort that we put into helping our customers reach and surpass their goals.

Partners All-Stars 2015 Recap

Menachem Ani and Lindsay Romanelli represented JXT Group at the one day and two night, all-expenses paid (thank you Google!) Summit at Google Headquarters. The event included all-day training with expert industry leaders, a tour of the Googleplex, and a Winning Agency Reception for the Google All-Star agencies.

Tapping into Mobile App Installs and Engagement

Antony Ho, a Product Marketing Manager at Google, kicked off the day by discussing the importance of Tapping into Mobile App Installs and Engagement. One staggering statistic that surprised many people at the Summit was that 95% of new app downloads are abandoned within 1 month, and 20% of these apps are used only once.

Branding in the Digital Age

The second speaker, Jeff Rozic, a Brand Product Strategist at Google, spoke about Branding in the Digital Age and how digital first branding is digital story telling. He shared with the All-Stars that “Consumers choose brands that engage them around their passions and interests 42% more often than those that simply urge them to buy their product” which stresses the importance of connecting with your audience and understanding their needs and desires (2014 TNS Ogilvy Google).

Building Local & Mobile into Your Online Retail Strategy

Another shocking statistic, shared by Gary Sun, Head of Vertical Marketing is that “$970 billion (28%) of US retail sales are influenced by mobile.” Gary’s discussion stressed the importance of using mobile in your online retail plan, especially since there has been an 115% increase in shopping searches coming from smartphones.


One highlight of our day at Google was learning about the capabilities of Cardboard, and we even got our own pair to take home with us! Aaron Luber and Sarah Steele showed some examples of the uses of Cardboard, and how it can be used for brand awareness and advertising.

9 Principles of Innovation at Google

Gopi Kallayil, Cheif Evangelist of Brand Marketing at Google, discussed the 9 principles of innovation at Google. They are as follows:

1. Innovation comes from anywhere
2. Focus on the user
3. Think 10x- think bigger than what you think is possible
4. Bet on technical insights
5. Launch and iterate
6. 20% time- give your employees 20% of time to focus on things they are most passionate about
7. Default to open
8. Fail well- If you don’t fail often, you’re not trying hard enough and pushing boundaries
9. Have a mission that matters

Moments Marketing

Micro-moments have been a popular topic in online marketing. Pablo Slough, Head of Mobile Solutions, gave a thought-provoking lecture about different ways that you can use micro-moments to capture your audience’s attention when they need you the most.

I-want-to-go moments
          2x increase in ‘near me’ search interest
          ◦ 82x use search to find a local business
I-want-to-do moments
          ◦ 70% increase in searches for ‘how-to’ videos
          ◦ 91% use phones in the middle of a task
I-want-to-buy moments
82% use phones in store to make a purchase decision

Using Remarketing to Re-engage Past Site Visitors

Tran Ngo, Associate Product Marketing Manager stressed the importance of remarketing and how remarketing reinforces the effectiveness of search.

Cartoon Powered Marketing

Tom Fishburne, the founder of Marketoonist displayed a collection of the marketing cartoons that he has drawn over the years. These hilarious cartoons really captured the audience’s attention, demonstrating that using cartoons can enhance any marketing strategy with a sense of humor.








On behalf of JXT Group, I would like to personally thank Google for this fun and educational experience. We can’t wait to use all of the innovative techniques that we have learned during the Google Partners All-Stars Summit. Now it’s time to get back to work and start preparing for next year!





Five Steps to Easier Inventory Management

Running a successful e-commerce business is no simple matter. You have to deal with the technology needed to run your site and ensure you have a strong Internet presence, along with most of the challenges of any other retail or distribution business. One of the most complicated issues you’ll face in running your e-commerce business is managing and controlling your inventory. Although it’s a complex task, managing inventory will have more impact on the success and profitability of your business than any other factor, so it pays to make sure you take the necessary steps to manage it well. Here are some ideas that can help make managing inventory easier:


One of the most important ways to keep track of inventory is to ensure that it’s organized and visible. If you store inventory on site, invest in some high-quality shelving for storage. When inventory is stored in cardboard boxes of varying sizes, the shelves look messy and it’s hard to keep track of what’s there. Small boxes may slide behind larger boxes, and you may not be able to find the inventory when you need it. Re-using cardboard shipping cartons is a common and inexpensive practice, but it may confuse warehouse personnel because the boxes could have multiple item numbers scrawled on them. Invest in high-quality labels and a small label printer to ensure that items are clearly identified, and consider adding bins for uniform storage of small items. Clear bins make it easy to see what’s inside, so your team can tell immediately when stock is low. You might consider adding a highly visible tag or label to the bins where you store your most important items. The extra visibility makes it easy to do a visual check to ensure you have enough stock on hand.

Off-site storage

Your startup may be in cramped quarters, with little space or resources for storing inventory. You might want to consider an off-site warehouse for inventory management. Most third-party warehouses provide visibility into the on-hand balances and transactions, so you don’t have to give up control of the inventory or the insight into your business. In addition, third-party warehouses have skilled personnel who understand best practices for inventory handling, and some off-site storage warehouses even offer affordable value-add services such as assembly, monogramming or special packaging.


As soon as your e-commerce business grows beyond one or two people, you should give up the idea that you can run your business on Microsoft Excel. While many companies try it, it leads to inefficiency and higher costs. Manual processes allow errors to creep in, and that can adversely affect your customer satisfaction. Invest in simple inventory management software, and consider looking for a cloud solution to provide the insight and control you need without the complexity of managing IT systems in-house.

Go lean

It seems counter intuitive, but adopting lean inventory techniques may improve your on-time delivery performance, reduce the number of backorders, and strengthen customer satisfaction. When you have less inventory to manage, you can focus on improving forecasts, and you don’t have to worry about excess or obsolete goods in stock.

Going lean requires excellent communication and collaboration with your suppliers, but the rewards are worth the time you will invest up front. If you’re not familiar with lean concepts, there are many ways to learn, and not all of them require a lot of time or money.

Adopt best practices

Learn about inventory management best practices. For example, you can spend time recording every transaction manually so you know when you’re running low on product. A simpler alternative is to use a Kanban card or two-bin system that alerts you to re-order signals. A Kanban is simply a card that you place in a bin. When the bin is empty, use the card as a visible reminder to re-order. The two-bin system involves placing a quantity of an item in a separate package or container. When the primary storage location is empty, you dip into the secondary stock to cover requirements during the re-order period. Institute a cycle count process so that you review your on-hand balances against your records on a periodic basis. Cycle counting helps ensure your counts are accurate, but more importantly, it can help identify flaws in your process. Correcting the flaws will help eliminate future inventory issues.

Remember, inventory management doesn’t have to be a burden. By adopting simple processes, like the five steps above, you’re well on your way to a more efficient e-commerce business.

About the author:

Don Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label ( in Libertyville, IL. The company offers solutions to streamline your business processes and keep your inventory organized and up-to-date.

3 Techniques for Minimizing Chargebacks in Your eCommerce Site

If you run an e-commerce website you’re probably already very familiar with chargebacks. But just in case you’re not, chargebacks are situations in which your customer, the cardholder, goes to their card issuer and challenges the charge from your business.  If the challenge is successful, the original charge for the sale will be reversed, and typically, regardless of whether it is successful the merchant will also be charged a fee from their credit card processor as well as another transaction charge for processing the refund. But perhaps the worst part of chargebacks is that they can cause your risk profile to go up with your credit card processing company, leading to you potentially having to maintain a rolling reserve account or getting dropped as a merchant altogether.

So with those concerns in mind, here are three techniques to minimizing chargebacks for an ecommerce site:

  1. Work Closely With Your Payment Processor

There are two important things you can do with respect to working closely with your payment processor to reduce chargebacks. The first is during the setup phase of your merchant account; make sure that you specify that charges from your company list both your company DBA and a toll free customer service phone number. If you don’t specify this, your processor may default to your entity’s legal name, which in many cases doesn’t provide a customer who is looking at their credit card statement a month later with a clear idea of who the charge was from. Thus, even if the purchase was legitimate, the customer might initiate a chargeback.  By providing the DBA and a toll-free number, the customer is more likely to call you instead of their credit card company.

The second important step is to respond timely to retrieval requests. Once a customer initiates a chargeback, you’ll typically only have a couple of days to respond to your merchant service provider with evidence that the charge was legitimate. By responding in a timely way you not only give yourself an opportunity to successfully contest the chargeback, you also give the credit card processor the impression that your business is sound and that you aren’t at risk of disappearing and leaving them holding the bag for future chargebacks.

  1. Over-Communicate With the Customer

In the context of legitimate purchases made by a consumer with their own card, most chargebacks occur because the customer is unable to communicate effectively with customer service after problems arise with the purchase.  The customer might want a refund due to the fact that the item wasn’t shipped timely, or because the customer was for some reason dissatisfied with it. For most of these types of situations, providing a means for the customer to have their issue resolved that is easier for the customer than initiating a chargeback will eliminate the chargeback altogether.

Good practices in this regard include;

  • making sure that you send an email following the purchase which provides an email and phone number that the customer can use to discuss any issues,
  • providing a 24 / 7 customer service phone number that is prominently displayed on your website, and
  • offering refunds in even questionable situations.

That last good practice recommendation, providing refunds even in questionable situations, may seem like a difficult policy to stomach implementing. But if you recall that a chargeback causes you to incur multiple fees regardless of it’s success, and that the burden is on the merchant to prove that a transaction was legitimate should you decide to fight it, in general a swift refund is the cheapest way out.

  1. Implement Transaction Scoring to Minimize Fraudulent Transactions

Contrasted from situations in which a legitimate customer resorts to initiating a chargeback because they find it more convenient or effective than communicating with the merchant, are those situations involving fraudulent transactions. Fraudulent transactions leading to chargebacks are situations in which the cardholder did not actually make, or didn’t intend to make, the transaction. The most effective way to reduce these is to implement transaction scoring.

Transaction scoring simply means that not every valid card entered will automatically be run for sale once the submit button is run. Rather, a scoring algorithm will first be used to determine the likelihood that fraud is taking place, and when that score is high enough, the transaction will not be completed.

Best practices for implementing transaction scoring include;

  • requiring the customer to enter special digits (CVV2, CVC, CID) to verify card authenticity and that the customer has the card in hand,
  • require an expiration date for further authenticity assurance,
  • using AVS to verify a cardholder’s billing address, and using the resulting code of full, partial, or no match to help determine scoring,
  • set limits to payment velocity to prevent accidental duplicate payments
  • apply higher risk scores for orders shipped to the same address with multiple cards,
  • flagging multiple cards from a single IP address,
  • flagging for manual confirmation rush deliveries and foreign transactions to nations with traditionally high-chargeback rates

Managing chargebacks has become an essential part of any e-commerce business, not only to minimize costs in the short term, but also to maintain attractive credit and debit card processing rates, and reduce the possibility of being required to maintain a rolling reserve or being dropped by your merchant service provider. Thankfully, by following some of the recommendations discussed in this article you can dramatically reduce the incidence rate of chargebacks in your ecommerce company.


About the Author:

Rich McIver is the founder of Merchant Negotiators a credit card processing comparison site.

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