You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Skip to main content

The Dark Side of 2020’s E-Commerce Boom? A Surge in Digital Shoplifting

Online shopping has been retail’s breakout star in a year marked by viral disruption, store shutdowns and a nagging economic slump, but the shift to clicks comes with a dark side, too.

Global advisory firm FTI expects a 25 percent surge for e-commerce growth this year, en route to $1 trillion in volume by 2023. And now a new forecast from digital payments provider ACI Worldwide sees a 27 percent uptick for the October-through-December holiday shopping period, which will drive a 40 percent rise in consumers picking up online purchases in physical stores (BOPIS). A survey of 1,500 consumers from San Jose, Calif.-based Signifyd, meanwhile, has a similar forecast for omnichannel fulfillment. According to the commerce protection platform, 41.5 percent of consumers will rely on BOPIS throughout the gift-giving season, while another 34 percent are banking on curbside service.

Debbie Guerra, executive vice president, ACI Worldwide, expects “BOPIS to be the primary delivery channel that consumers use to do their holiday shopping this year.”

“Moreover, as we head into the holiday shopping season, we see consumers beginning their shopping in early October as a result of concerns over inventory shortages,” she added, “as well as shipment delays, but also because merchants are providing sales and deals earlier in the year.”

Many companies now rely on their digital channels to eke out revenue, but some consumers won’t think twice about stiffing their e-tailers, Signifyd data shows. More than 40 percent of shoppers lied to their credit card companies to get money back for a charge they falsely alleged was fraudulent, while more than one-third said an order they in fact received never made it to their door, all as a ruse to recoup their purchase price. Still others (30.5 percent) resorted to plugging in single-use promotion codes more than once, violating well established discount codes, Signifyd found.

Related Stories

Signifyd CEO Raj Ramanand said he was disheartened to “see the extent to which some consumers are willing to take advantage of merchants who have shown such resilience in the face of massive disruption caused by Covid-19.”

“Fortunately, we have the solutions and expertise to turn back these forms of digital shoplifting,” he added, “and we continue to innovate to protect retail enterprises every day.”

Guerra echoed the Signifyd chief’s warnings on digital bad actors. “We expect the BOPIS delivery channel to grow for both genuine and fraudulent consumers as merchants both large and small continue to add this as a new option due to the pandemic,” she said. “The accelerated use of digital payment channels due to the pandemic has resulted in both cross-channel journeys such as BOPIS as well as the blurring of the channels themselves—such as the usage of mobile devices and mobile check-out inside physical stores.

“This digital swing has opened a way to expand merchants’ market reach by enhancing the buying journey experience—but it also means more exposure to fraud,” she continued, “which merchants must be prepared for as we get further into the holiday season.”