Is Your E-Commerce Site Leaking Revenue?
Imagine a visitor on your website shopping for a winter jacket. As they explore your carefully curated selection, an advertisement pops up for the same jacket from a different retailer — and it’s on sale! Your prospective customer is likely to do one of two things — click on the ad and buy the jacket from your competitor or, not understanding what’s happening on your site, close the browser and try a different online store, leaving them with a less-than-ideal experience with your brand.
As an e-commerce professional, you've been charged with generating online sales by providing an optimal customer journey. You’ve spent time, money and other resources to understand potential buyers and their interests, and to design an online experience that meets their needs and expectations. You’ve built and tested every page meticulously to maximize results.
So why is another retailer popping up on your site, luring prospective customers away?
This is an escalating problem in e-commerce — a significant number of consumers don’t experience the online shopping journey as it was intended. They encounter a barrage of pop-ups, banner ads, competitor product recommendations and other unwanted distractions. What they don’t know is that this is caused by digital malware running on their browsers and devices, or pushed through Wi-Fi networks. You, as the site experience owner, have no visibility into this — and no control — because it happens on their computer, completely bypassing your web servers. The disconnect manifests in a negative impact on customer experience, unexplained decreases in conversion rates and, ultimately, tens of millions in lost revenue annually.
E-Commerce Blind Spot
Welcome to the world of "journey hijacking," a rapidly growing phenomenon plaguing the retail industry. This damaging occurrence is impacting e-commerce revenue more than ever before, as new malware is created and distributed daily. Combined with widespread use of free, unsecured Wi-Fi and the ever-increasing shift in consumer shopping behavior to online, the impact is significant.
A huge part of the problem of journey hijacking is that neither the e-commerce retailer nor its customers are aware that it's happening. Injections aren’t visible to the site owner, and look like a native component of a website, like the advertisement for the jacket in the example above, so consumers have a high propensity to click.
Holiday Hijacking Projections
We recently monitored more than 500 million retail website sessions across a range of industries over a six-month period to determine how widespread the problem of journey hijacking has become. What we found is astonishing: between 15 percent to 25 percent of user sessions are infected with digital malware, and consumers aren't experiencing the journey as it was designed. Furthermore, during infected sessions, 40 percent to 70 percent of malware ad injections include competing product ads intended to lure shoppers away from the e-commerce site on which they're on.
Previous years’ data shows a surge of infection rates during peak shopping seasons, such as the winter holidays (October-December) when infection rates surge from 15 percent to 17 percent to 25 percent to 30 percent. The trend is expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2017, with rates potentially skyrocketing to 30 percent to 40 percent as the proliferation of digital malware continues.
Taking Control Back
The first step in fixing this problem is raising awareness among stakeholders within your organization that the issue exists, as well as recognizing the magnitude of its business impact. It's also important to understand that your current security solutions cannot, and were not designed to, prevent this type of threat, and that a specific solution is necessary.
Preventing client-side injected ads and protecting the customer journey leads directly to higher e-commerce revenues, increased visitor retention and customer loyalty. In today’s competitive retail environment, can you really afford to be losing customers (not to mention millions in revenue annually) to journey hijackers?
Chemi Katz is the co-founder and CEO of Namogoo, a cyber security company.
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