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The Friction-Right Experience: Balancing E-Commerce Convenience With Customer Protection

Blog Post05/12/2020
image showing The Friction-Right Experience: Balancing E-Commerce Convenience With Customer Protection

Mobile is redefining the retail industry. Whether we’re browsing or buying, most of us reach for our phones to view products, compare prices and find the best deal. To meet consumer expectations for transparency, convenience and value, retailers need to improve all aspects of the mobile experience — from optimizing platforms to managing fraud risk. We look at how retailers can create a “friction-right” experience that protects against fraud and identity theft without compromising on convenience — and provides just the right amount of comfort to customers.

Mobile dominates the global (and growing) e-commerce industry

As the COVID-19 situation develops, e-commerce is growing rapidly — dominated by mobile which quite literally puts choice and convenience in the hands of the consumer.

We can use our smartphones to shop brands from just about anywhere in the world, and those same brands can use digital platforms to offer us greater convenience and a more personalized experience.

Consumers have access to an array of options and direct price comparisons, all within a few clicks. Who hasn’t browsed multiple websites to see if the item is available elsewhere in a different colour or size, or at a better price?

To compete for the business of connected customers, retailers need to understand this behaviour and introduce innovation into the customer experience.

They also need to keep up with how fraudsters are adapting to this changing retail reality.

Sophisticated fraud tactics put mobile transactions at risk

Cybercriminals have moved on from promotion abuse (accessing or creating accounts to exploit promotions) to more sophisticated — and lucrative — schemes in which they attempt to mimic common consumer behaviour.

With 78% of e-commerce transactions taking place on mobile devices in 2019 (an increase of 32%), potential fraud on those devices increased by 118%. In that same year, account takeover fraud increased by 347% and shipping fraud by 391%.1

From cart to checkout, retailers are at risk of losing customers at any stage of the e-commerce journey — and not only because of fraud. In some cases, it’s their own processes that work against them.

Creating a “friction-right” experience from cart to checkout

Consumers value the speed and convenience of mobile retail. They also want a certain level of comfort that their identities and credentials are safe.

If your verification and authorization measures seem too complex or simply take too long, this could create friction in an otherwise seamless process — and possibly result in customers losing interest and you losing sales. Close to two-thirds of consumers participating in a recent study said they’ve abandoned a transaction because the identity verification process was poor.

However, if your verification checks are so fast they’re barely noticeable, this could rouse suspicion. Consumers understand the risks of sharing personal data when they shop online, and 95% view additional identity validation as a positive part of the retail experience.2

Too much caution can also work against you, as is the case with good transactions being declined by automated platforms or even manual reviews, simply on the basis of suspicion of fraud.

To combat fraud and grow your mobile e-commerce business, you should:

  • Authenticate user transactions along the customer journey
  • Implement a comprehensive fraud solution that leverages third-party data, device intelligence and a cooperative fraud network
  • Use multilayered identity verification and authentication to match fraud protection measures with the level of risk at certain stages of the customer journey


Winning retailers will be able to provide a “friction-right” experience that balances fast, smooth and convenient transactions with a healthy dose of due diligence for customer security and peace of mind.

Read more about global e-commerce trends

TransUnion’s report, Global E-Commerce in 2020: Redefining the Retail Experience as Shopping Patterns Change, covers a range of topics relating to global e-commerce and the rise of mobile in the industry, including:

  • Consumer expectations and retail innovation
  • Positive disruptors retailers should embrace
  • Top fraud trends retailers are facing and how to resolve them


You can read the full report here.

Improve digital fraud prevention with IDVision® from iovation®

TransUnion IDVision with iovation is a device reputation platform that helps businesses to establish identity, authenticate consumers and prevent fraud. To see how it can help you build a friction-right experience for your customers, visit transunion.ca/idvision

1TransUnion Global E-Commerce in 2020: Redefining the Retail Experience as Shopping Patterns Change, 2019
2TransUnion Holiday Retail Fraud Survey, 2019 Insights

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