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The newest factor impacting chargeback losses is…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Chargeback losses are on the rise across the retail industry, but an emerging practice is hitting e-commerce retailers especially hard.

E-retailers are finding themselves being victimized by chargeback policy abuse, a form of cyber-shoplifting — even more so than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, according to “The State of Chargebacks: 2018 Report,” a study from dispute mitigation and loss prevention firm, Chargebacks911.

Chargeback policy abuse, or “friendly fraud,” occurs when a consumer makes an online shopping purchase with their own credit card, and then requests a chargeback from the issuing bank after receiving — and keeping — their order. Increasingly gaining momentum, friendly fraud was three times more prevalent in 2017. It also “increased notably in terms of the sophistication of attack methods,” according to the study.

In a separate study from Javelin Strategy & Research, card-not-present (CNP) merchants face 34% more of this friendly fraud than retailers that operate brick-and-mortar locations as well as online. However, Chargebacks911 estimates that levels could be as high as 86%. Worse, retailers lose an additional $1.50 in fees and costs for every $1 in disputed transactions.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, chargebacks costs the industry $31 billion, and merchants were responsible for $19.4 billion of these losses. Nearly half (45%) of all consumers filed at least one dispute in 2017, and 25% filed two or more.

“Merchants have a habit of focusing on criminal fraud while writing off chargebacks as a cost of doing business to keep customers happy,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911.

“It’s little wonder that cyber-shoplifters have become more brazen in their attempts to game the system when they discover how easy it is to get away with,” she added. “E-commerce merchants can’t afford to overlook chargebacks any longer, or rising fraud losses will continue to erode revenue and offset any sales bumps.”

Merchants are encouraged to tackle chargebacks with the same determination and loss prevention efforts they use to ward off criminal fraud and data breaches.

“In some cases, consumers may not even realize they’re stealing from merchants; they just assume a chargeback is an easy, non-confrontational way to score a refund,” Eaton-Cardone said. “Until retailers and restaurateurs start fighting back against unjust charge-backs, fraudsters will continue to take advantage of the system.”

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Hourly seasonal hires could receive more perks this year

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

There is good news for temporary hourly workers this holiday season.

Employers, including retailers, hotels, and restaurants, said they expect to fill more jobs and offer significantly higher wages than they did last year, a move they hope will help attract seasonal workers in the fourth quarter, according to the “2018 Annual Holiday Hiring Survey,” from Snag, a marketplace for hourly work.

The average hourly wage for seasonal workers is expected to jump nearly 32%, from $11.70 in 2017 to $15.40 this year. Retail is leading the way in expected seasonal wage growth, jumping by as much as 54%. Hospitality companies follow at 51%, and restaurant wages will rise around 33%.

In addition to hiring in the tightest labor market in nearly two decades, employers are expecting to face fierce competition to snag skilled hourly employees. As a result, companies are using different tactics to attract candidates. In addition to paying more, employers will begin recruiting earlier than usual in order to attract talent. A majority of employers (77%) will also offer perks and benefits, including paid time off, training opportunities, childcare, tuition stipends, health insurance, and even transportation reimbursement, the study revealed.

Additional findings include:

• The number of companies that began recruiting in August or earlier more than doubled compared with last year.
• Managing employee schedules during the holiday period is expected to be one of the biggest challenges, according to 54% of employers.
• The lack of qualified workers and competition from other employers are the major challenges employers are facing as they seek to fill jobs.
• More than a third (37%) of employers expect to rehire between one and five employees from the 2017 holiday season.
• A majority of employers (62%) have increased their use of social media to recruit hourly workers this year.

“A growing number of hourly employers understand that having the best workers improves the customer experience and increases revenue,” said Snag CEO Fabio Rosati. “In order to attract and retain the most qualified seasonal workers, many companies are stepping up their game and offering more hours and benefits, higher wages, and flexible schedules.”

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The top-ranking retailers on the Disability Equality Index are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Only four retailers received a perfect score on the Disability Equality Index (DEI), a ranking that recognizes outstanding disability inclusion efforts.

CVS Health, Meijer, Walgreens and Walmart all earned a top score of 100% on the DEI, a milestone that also earned each company the honor of being named a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.” (This honor is reserved for companies that achieve a top score.) This year’s index was based on efforts across 145 companies.

The DEI is a joint initiative between American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the Disability:IN, a comprehensive benchmarking tool for disability inclusion. The Index measures key performance indicators across organizational culture, leadership, accessibility, employment, community engagement, support services and supplier diversity.

Unlike the other recognized retailers, Meijer is the only family-owned, regional chain to earn the honor. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer first participated in the study in 2017, earning a score of 90%.

In addition to creating an environment that rewards its team members for fostering programs that promote inclusivity, in 2017, the company launched a new team member resource group called Meijer Disability Awareness & Advocacy Group (mDAAG). Meijer also has extended its disability accommodations policy to include job candidates, and expanded its team member training curriculum by integrating disability into the spectrum of diversity awareness. Meijer also continues to expand its involvement in state vocational rehabilitation programs.

“We are absolutely thrilled to not only achieve a top score on the DEI, but to be named as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion – a monumental achievement for our organization,” said Meijer senior VP of human resources Michael Rotelle. “I am very proud of the progress Meijer team members have made over the years to create more inclusivity and opportunities for team members with disabilities. We are humbled to be among so many fine companies that share our devotion to inclusion.”

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