Business Processes 101 for Online Merchants

Entrepreneurs will tell you that their most innovative ideas and profitable decisions came from something intangible – a gut feeling, or intuition.

September 18, 2012

By Peter Harvey, MD of PayGate

Mihnea Galeteanu once said, “When something goes wrong, it’s either because there is too much process, too little process or the wrong process. When something goes right, it’s because the right resources (people or systems) were engaged at the right time…what dictates that is, again, a process.”

Entrepreneurs will tell you that their most innovative ideas and profitable decisions came from something intangible – a gut feeling, or intuition. But what kept their idea on the right track, and protected what they’ve built, are practical business processes. This is especially important in terms of the financial security of any enterprise with an online shopping component. Eight out of ten businesses who sell online will be the targets of credit card fraud at some point.

Here are a few tips for setting processes in place to secure your business runs smoothly and securely:

1. Know your client

Every business with an online component is exposed to the dangers of online fraud. Although there are sophisticated tools that will, in most cases, protect your business against fraudsters there are unfortunately ways and means of beating even the most sophisticated system. Sometimes, the best protection is to know your customers. Gather the information you need and limit your exposure to new customers until they have developed a track record. Work with payment gateway providers to develop a system for your unique system.

 2. Spot the warning signs

When an order is placed, look at what it is and where it’s going. Names, addresses and email addresses (and even typing styles and language used) reveals a lot. If there is anything suspicious about the transaction – investigate. Check the person’s Facebook page, or ask for additional ID or a landline telephone number. Legitimate buyers should have no problem providing that information. Take special caution when receiving noticeably high or above average orders. Document all content as a quick reference point when a red flag is raised.

3. Do not alienate your legitimate customers

Be as non-invasive as possible. Ninety-nine percent of your customers are legitimate and you do not want to alienate them with tedious security measures (such as asking for ID numbers on checkout) just to catch the 1% who are fake.

4. Use a reputable tools for added protection

Services such as PayProtector adds an extra layer of protection against online fraud, automatically blocking suspicious transactions before they’ve even been sent to the bank for processing. Similarly, daily reports allows merchants to review and investigate medium-risk transactions that have been flagged by the system, but not blocked.

Fraud is always a possibility, but by taking responsibility for avoiding fraudulent transactions and implementing simple processes to protect your business the risks are alleviated significantly.