Why consumer safety is at risk over Black Friday and Cyber Monday

John Spencer | November 28, 2019

Black Friday – originally a one day in-store event with its online counterpart on Cyber Monday – has experienced a colossal shift to online in order to meet changing consumer habits and appetite for convenience. Since its inception ten years ago, Black Friday has almost tripled November online sales to nearly £2 billion, with digital promotions now beginning up to two weeks beforehand.

However online fraud is already a huge problem, with over 2.6 million UK accounts defrauded in the past year, of which 76% were remote purchases. This number is only expected to increase as malicious and fraudulent activity becomes more sophisticated. As a result, retailers must innovate multi factor authentication strategies to stay one step ahead and avoid becoming another high street casualty this Christmas season.

Customer Security

Black Friday has been thriving since its arrival from the US ten years ago, and it is now impossible to ignore how valuable this influx of sales will be for embattled UK retailers. However, with online transactions now set to make up 77 per cent of total Black Friday sales – the highest of any nation in Europe – digital security for customers must be made a business priority. If customers do not feel safe purchasing online, retailers face unprecedented abandoned baskets and customer churn.

Consumer safety is at risk now that digital retailers have been granted an extension to implement Strong Customer Authentication until March 14th 2021 – a regulation which required two or more factor authentication on purchases over £28. In order to ensure retailers know their customers are who they say they are, authentication techniques must move away from ‘what you know,’ such as a password – which is easily phished and stolen – to ‘who you are,’ which should rely on a combination of explicit and implicit biometrics.

Multi-factor Authentication

Customer authentication must be a priority for companies as they look to provide a seamless and personalised experience for their customers. A multi factor security strategy, paired with single-step convenience on the customer’s digital device is the first step in the fight against fraud and identity theft, resulting in building customer confidence. Integrating implicit authentication, such as cutting-edge behavioural biometrics, uses artificial intelligence to identify unique mannerisms such as gait, delivering the highest level of security with an improved user experience, reducing abandoned purchases. Businesses must get to grips with changing consumer habits, and respond to the robust needs of the digitally savvy, mobile first customer, with security and convenience often making the top of that list.

However, when integrating biometric technology into the customer verification processes and becoming passwordless, it is important to take a strategic approach. This means going back to basics and understanding the digital expectations of the customer, and utilising the right biometric technique, for the right use case, based on the customer scenario – increasing security without the associated costs.

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