Peak Trading Is About More Than Black Friday And Cyber Monday
Many merchants will have now experienced their biggest single trading day of the year, either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, and alongside these peak trading days have focused their efforts on effective fraud managements and delivering a seamless and secure checkout experience. However, this is not universally the peak for all merchants.
There are a number of factors that determine when peak trading periods occur;
• Country or region within which the merchant operates
• Sector or industry
• Seasonality, or other significant dates
• Product type
• Merchant-specific promotions or sales
• External factors such as exchange rates, regulation and legislative changes
First, let’s consider the country or region. The explosive growth in Black Friday sales in the U.K. and North America has occurred over the past five years, and we are now starting to see the same rapid growth in other European countries. However in China, Singles Day, held on the 11th of November, is now considered to be the busiest online shopping day on the calendar, easily eclipsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Local public holidays and special events can also produce an increase in traffic, as can sporting wins and other significant celebrations.
The industry within which a merchant operates is another, if not the most significant trigger for peak periods. Although a number of retail merchants will relate to Black Friday and the pre-Christmas build up, there are merchants in other sectors for whom peak periods vary significantly. In the travel industry, for example, peak volumes typically occur in the spring months, as people booking their summer holidays. Likewise, there are also peaks in early autumn, as travelers plan and book for the Christmas period. The release of blocks of tickets for use over the Christmas period can trigger a mini peak, seen in October. Travel merchants are also more likely to be affected by external triggers, such as fluctuations in exchange rates, which can drive smaller, but often quite unexpected peaks.
For digital goods such as games and music downloads, merchants can experience a very significant increase in traffic when new games or high profile albums are released. Marketing campaigns clearly drive peak in these industries, increasing pressure on website performance rather than on physical logistics and delivery. Fraud management strategies for digital download merchants need very close attention as the time from purchase to receipt of goods is virtually immediate, with no opportunity for rescreening, and accept/deny rules need careful consideration.
Similarly, in the mobile telecom industry, significant peaks take place when new handsets are launched, again impacting website, payments and delivery logistics. Fraud rules need to be tailored to cater for these specific launches.
By working with experienced risk analysts to review and refine fraud strategy, and discuss fraud rulesets, merchants will be in the best possible position to deliver a seamless, secure and satisfying shopping experience to customers, regardless of when they experience their peak.
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