Breaking through the noise: a small retailers guide to choosing the right solution

“This is it!” Those three words are a key ingredient to any entrepreneur’s recipe to launch a new business. When that ah-ha moment finally arrives, in less than a second, the soon to be founder has seen the future: Global sales with offices to match, company logos, the numerous company profiles in Forbes and Geekwire. Before the decision to file as an LLC or a Corporation has been considered, he or she may have already decided to turn down that multimillion dollar buyout and take the company public.
Funding, marketing segments, profit margins, legal concerns are all very important aspects to focus on. But, how much sleep do entrepreneurs lose when thinking about typical non-priority factors such as customer fraud, varying levels of taxes, and employee acquisition costs? The short answer— probably not as much as they should.
I recently had the pleasure of representing Ekata at the Internet Retailers Conference + Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago this month. There were over 10,000 attendees comprised of anyone from small to medium business owners to enterprise level executives. Throughout the day, dozens of break-out sessions were held to help give insight into very specific challenges, and for every challenge or question, there was a paid solution to help solve it for you on the exhibition floor. But be prepared, if you stare or smile in the mere direction of a sales gal or guy longer than a second, you may find yourself knee deep in what the sales world likes to call: The discovery process. This is where I spend my time.
Here are a few big takeaways I discovered after speaking with dozens of small and medium-sized business operators about customer fraud and risk.
There is a solution for every problem
Whether a business operator is being preemptive or reactive, if there is a pain point in the business, there is a solution for it. Internet retailers have seemingly an unlimited number of options for order management platforms, drop shippers, logistics and automation, and fraud solutions. What’s even more interesting is that even though it seems like many vendors are offering a similar business solution, if you look under the hood, there are going to be a few big differences.
Ekata focuses on the fraud and risk space by helping merchants clear good orders and fight fraud. Our solution is built to surface actionable identity data at low latency and approachable price points, in order to reduce manual review time by providing visibility into the email, phone, name, address, and IP behind a transaction. In the same fraud and risk space, there are solutions that use device ID to determine fraud, solutions that only provide insight into email or phone, and other solutions that dispute chargebacks on behalf of their customers. In order to filter through your options, ask questions about what the solutions provider is doing to stay ahead of the curve and how that can directly help your business. Is it a focus on machine learning or perhaps converting their servers to the cloud? Just like you, solutions providers are trying to fulfill a gap in the market and the good ones know not just where the market is headed, but they also help drive it there.
History matters (buy wisely, not cheaply)—choose to work with companies that solve big problems
As a small business operator, every dollar counts. CRMs, ERPs, OMSs, PMSs are just a few acronyms that internet retailers need to be familiar with. No matter the solution, it is important to work with companies that have flexible solutions. If we think about the largest business solution providers in the world, they tend to have products that service a need at every business size. Those are companies that you can grow with. There may be a higher cost of entry, but it’s worth the investment. In Ekata’s case, we deliver two solutions to help merchants reduce fraud and approve more good orders. Our Identity Check API is designed for automations and high volume, while our Pro Insight solution is the perfect tool for small business owners doing everything manually and Enterprise manual review teams.
Additionally, solutions providers with a strong track record of success tend to have great partnerships with other great service providers. By leveraging these partnerships, business operators can learn how to create a more harmonious technology environment at a cheaper rate. For example, Ekata partners with many fraud and decisioning platforms to give our customers an easier way to access our data in their current workflows.
Spend hundreds, save thousands—Why the “how much” question matters less
As the access to technology becomes easier and the landscape more competitive, products and services will continue to get cheaper. As a small business operator with a small budget, it may seem that the available products to solve your problem are either not on the market or too expensive–think again!
Every dollar counts, and losses tend to sting a lot more for small companies, so it is imperative to find tools that have an obvious and direct impact on the bottom line. When it comes to fraud, any lost order due to a chargeback is more than just the cost of goods, it can also mean loss of product, loss of dollars reissued to cardholder, additional banking fees, and/or loss of time due to chargeback investigation. It doesn’t have to take thousands of dollars and developer hours to control fraud and risk. By spending a couple hundred dollars a month, small businesses can fight fraud and save thousands over the months and years.
Internet retailers have an enormous task ahead of them and squeezing every piece of value out of dollars spent is crucial. Being prepared for landmines and pitfalls can help catapult a business into high-growth mode. And while fraud is a real threat to any company selling goods online, it doesn’t have to be costly. By constantly researching the market, investing in solutions that have proven success, and purchasing solutions that help solve big problems, business owners and operators will always have a leg up on the competition. To learn how Ekata helps small and mid-sized internet retailers reduce fraud and false positives and approve more good orders, contact us here.

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