Jewelry retailer James Allen’s fraud tools cut transaction times

August 17, 2016 02:46 PM

Online orders average about $6,000 at jewelry retailer James Allen, so there’s a lot of pressure to ensure transactions are secure and accurate. But the level of scrutiny required for those transactions was time-consuming and labor intensive for James Allen’s customer service representatives and customers.

“If a fraudster with a stolen credit card can get through our system and get a product to arrive, that box could have a diamond worth $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 in it,” says James Allen co-founder James Schultz. Every transaction was scrutinized, and that carried a price.

“For customers, it meant orders would be delayed and they’d have to provide us with personal information that they didn’t always feel comfortable [supplying]. It took a process that started off positive and, in some instances, turned it negative,” he says.

In the 12 months since James Allen implemented a tool from online fraud prevention technology provider Forter, the retailer has had 80% fewer “interruptions” in the purchase process, Schultz says.  An interruption occurs when the jeweler requires more information, such as a phone call to confirm credit card details or obtain additional personal information to verify that the customer is who she says she is.

Being able to automate and smooth out the process through Forter’s Decision-as-a-Service tool, which relies on behavioral analysis in addition to analysis of credit card information and shopper location, benefits customers because their orders are processed without delays or questions and frees James Allen employees to focus on other work, Shultz says. “It has allowed us to process orders more quickly. We’ve seen a substantial increase in our top line revenue over the past 12 months and we haven’t had to add any payroll. We’re able to do more processing with fewer people,” he says.

Having sold diamonds online for more than a decade, James Allen is well versed in what a legitimate online transaction looks like in terms of how shoppers behave. For instance, a legitimate customer will spend a lot of time on the site to do research, visiting multiple pages and spending time on each before making a purchasing decision, Schultz says.

James Allen, No. 248 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, has shopped around for fraud prevention vendors before; Forter is its fourth such vendor in 10 years.

“When we started to talk to Forter, what we realized is that Forter wasn’t just looking at the card information, the card holder, the location of the person making the purchase,” Schultz says. “They were also going to look at how the customer used the website. They are able to establish ‘what does a real customer do?’ before placing that order.”

“We look at different kinds of data for every transaction,” adds Aaron Begner, head of customer success at Forter. “In part that’s on the back end, an API (application programming interface). We look at various data that rolls into the transaction itself. We understand how the buyer is interacting with the site.”

Forter is able to do this by implementing a JavaScript file (JavaScript is a high-level programming language) onto James Allen’s site, which allows Forter to analyze shopper behavior without the shopper noticing.

“We don’t want James Allen’s customers to know that there’s any kind of assessment being done,” Begner says. “Once they hit that conversion point, there’s no need for them to have any additional friction, such as re-inputting data.”




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