Why Urban Outfitters’ Fraud Team Focuses on the Positive

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are less than a month away, but there’s still time to prepare your fraud prevention team! Bryan Whitney of Urban Outfitters joined us for the last in of our series of webinars to help retailers prepare for the holiday season. Don’t miss our information-packed discussion, and be sure to watch the replays of the other two webinars in this series from LEGO and Staples for even more insights.
As the director of Urban Outfitters Call Center, Bryan Whitney is in charge of all the brands under the Urban Outfitters umbrella, including Anthropologie, Free People, and BHLDN. Bryan’s team consists of 16 fraud prevention and chargeback resolution staff, and one supervisor. It’s their job to review approximately 90,000 orders annually—over 20,000 of which come during the holiday season.
Even though Urban Outfitters typically sees a 52% nonstop increase in orders starting on Black Friday, Bryan doesn’t loosen any of the rules. After all, that’s also prime time for fraudsters to try to sneak orders through. To manage that load, Bryan focuses on the positive—building positive files of customers that have a good history with the company, that is.
Watch this 30-minute webinar recording to find out:
How Bryan builds his team: Instead of hiring from the outside for open positions on the team, Bryan fills his team from customer service team members who have already been working at Urban Outfitters and are familiar with the customers and product. He also prefers to invest in overtime hours rather than training new staff in order to maximize his team’s experience over the holidays.
Why you should be paying attention to products: Certain hot items, like Nike or Adidas shoes, jewelry, and watches can be resold quickly, making them big targets for fraudsters. That’s why it’s important to build rules around product as much as identity verification. An order packed with pricey tennis shoes could be a potential instance of fraud—an order of duvet covers and matching pillow cases, probably not so much.
Why email verification is not enough: While email address linkages to name, phone, address, and IP can be valuable in fighting fraud, they’re not enough to comfortably verify identification. For 2017, Bryan has added Ekata to his team’s mix of tools, giving them even more data to work with, including linkages between bill to/ship to addresses, physical and IP address, and more. Plus, Ekata Confidence Score helps them with their primary goal: lifting positive orders out of the review queue.
How to build a positive customer file: Good customers should be rewarded, which is why Bryan’s team updates their positive customer files every day. Using factors such as order history timeline, volume of orders, and dollar amount spent on each brand’s site, Urban Outfitters can identify valuable recurring customers and ensure their orders skip the review queue.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are only three weeks away, Urban Outfitters is already planning for the 2018 holiday season. Bryan recommends starting December 26 in planning for the next year, with a goal of reducing stress on the team and improving customer experience. Bryan’s blueprint for next year includes staff development and working with business partners to develop even better tools.
After 25 years working in fraud prevention, Bryan may not be be surprised by much. But he also doesn’t stay complacent when it comes to testing and adapting methods. As the team looks forward to 2018, Bryan is already working with another vendor on behavior analytics models to help spot common customers versus bots or fraudsters. They plan to implement that solution in the spring.
Be sure to watch the webinar replay to get a deeper look at all these topics, and more!
About our guest speaker
Bryan Whitney | Urban Outfitters
Director, Urban Outfitters Call Center
Bryan Whitney has 28 years of experience in Retail Operations, Contact Center and Fraud Prevention. His responsibilities include Global Contact Center Operations and Fraud Prevention for Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Free People, BHLDN & Terrain brands.

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