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Survey: Keep e-commerce simple

BY Dan Berthiaume

Brevity is the soul of online retail.

According to a new survey of more than 300 consumers from checkout optimization provider PCA Predict, 84% of U.S. consumers stated they would abandon their e-commerce order if presented with complicated or lengthy Web forms.

Asked about their experience with retailers failing to deliver, an overwhelming 95% of U.S. consumers said that they would be unlikely to shop with a retailer again if an order failed to arrive.

The survey also highlights the importance of retailers sending delivery confirmation, with the majority of consumers choosing email as their preferred means of communication.

Key findings include:

• 37% of 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. want to receive delivery confirmation by SMS.

• 29% of consumers have given a retailer a fake cell number.

• Almost three-quarters of those who admitted supplying a fake cell phone number did so because of concerns with privacy.

• More than a third of U.S. shoppers would be more likely to share their phone number with a retailer if they made it clear how it would be used.

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Report: Retailers of digital goods spend $10 million annually on fraud

BY Dan Berthiaume

Everyone knows fraud is costly, but it be more expensive than you think.

In addition to typical fraud costs, such as the loss of goods and chargeback fees, merchants that sell digital goods, such as MP3 files and streamed movies, each spend an average of $10.1 million every year on fraud-related costs.

A new study, “The Impact of Fraud and Chargeback Management on Operations,” conducted by Javelin on behalf of card-not-present transaction provider Vesta Corp., discovered that nearly three in four retailers dealing in both digital and physical goods say fraud and chargebacks have a major financial impact. These costs account for 13% to 20% of their operational budgets each year.

Sellers of physical goods report spending 14% of their budget on fraud-related costs, and hybrid merchants who sell both digital and physical goods spend 13%.

More than half (51%) of digital goods merchants expect fraud and chargeback costs to increase over the next 12 months.

Personnel costs represent more than 35% of fraud/chargeback spending for all merchants. However, digital goods merchants employ nearly five times the fraud personnel as physical goods merchants and nearly twice as many as hybrid merchants. Additionally, more than 60% of hybrid merchants and nearly half of digital and physical goods retailers believe that finding qualified personnel for fraud and chargeback management is difficult.

The study suggests that outsourcing fraud prevention services might help retailers, especially those dealing in digital goods, better manage associated costs.

“This study makes it clear: fraud costs are eating into many merchants’ budgets, reducing the amount of money that could be spent on activities that grow and improve the company,” said Al Pascual, director of fraud and security at Javelin. “Unfortunately, if merchants don’t take action now, those costs will continue to rise as merchants attempt to mitigate the growth of online and mobile fraud.”

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Ex-Walgreens exec to lead Fred’s store operations

BY CSA STAFF

Fred’s Super Dollar has turned to an operational executive from Walgreens to take over asexecutive VP of store operations.

red's announced that John Foley has been appointed to the new role. Mike Holligan, who formerly served in this capacity, will move to the open position of regional VP store operations.

“John's addition will extend the momentum we have developed in store operations and will further strengthen the talent of our management team, one of the key steps we have outlined that will help position Fred's to drive profitability and grow its convenience/pharmacy-centric model,” Fred’s CEO Jerry Shore said. “We are grateful for the sacrifices and contributions Mike Holligan has made during this past year in leading all store operations.”

More and more, Fred’s is fielding several heavy-hitting retail pharmacy operators that has been molding the Southeast regional into a successful retail pharmacy/value operator hybrid. Heading up Fred's as president and COO is CVS Health marketing and merchandising veteran Michael Bloom, who himself served as president and COO of dollar store operator Family Dollar. Filling the chief merchandising and marketing officer spot at Fred's is Bryan Pugh, who was a product pioneer for Walgreens for more than 10 years.

Then there’s Fred's homegrown pharmacy operator Rick Chambers, who joined Fred’s as a pharmacist after graduating from the Univeristy of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1992. In his 23 years at the company, Chambers has gravitated to executive VP pharmacy and has played a significant role in elevating the role of pharmacy at Fred’s.

And now retail pharmacy operations executive Foley. Foley brings to Fred's more than 30 years of experience in retail pharmacy chain experience. For the past nine years, he was corporate operations VP at Walgreens, responsible for the Eastern Division, which in 2014 accounted for approximately $20 billion in revenue from more than 2,500 retail pharmacies, healthcare clinics and specialty pharmacy units. Prior to this role with Walgreen's, Foley served as a district manager for six years and was a store manager for 11 years.

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