RC Planet is an online store that sells hobby-grade radio controlled cars, trucks, drones, boats and more. In business since 2003, RC Planet has grown exponentially. They now offer more than 60,000 parts online, recently opened their first local store in Utah and have two distribution centers.
During the first eight years, word of mouth was enough to grow their business online. But as e-commerce grows and large e-retailers continue to arrive on the scene, RC Planet found that they must evolve their online marketing and fraud protection strategies to remain competitive and successful.
We spoke with Holly Jefferies, General Manager at RC Planet, for her perspective on how growing businesses can keep pace with large online retailers while protecting themselves against emerging credit card fraud threats.
What advice would you give merchants who are looking to launch their online stores nationally?
Flexibility is key! Merchants must be able to change their online strategies based on the evolving marketplace and what their competition is doing. For example, when Amazon Prime launched and began offering free shipping, customers of all retailers began expecting free shipping when they shopped online.
For companies with already-small profit margins, free shipping cuts into revenues significantly, so they must find creative ways to stay competitive with shipping costs while maintaining profitable margins.
How do you recommend e-commerce merchants build trust among their online audience?
In the end, I think it really comes down to creating an amazing customer experience and providing unequaled customer service. Customers expect personal attention, so if you can provide them something extra to improve the online purchasing experience, you’ll make great strides at winning them over. We’ve learned that it’s the little things we do and offer that make a huge difference.
How can online reviews help build trust and contribute to an e-commerce merchant’s success?
Reviews are everywhere these days, and good reviews are critical to a business’s success. But you can’t ignore bad reviews, nor should you want to. Instead, addressing a negative review is an ideal opportunity to show off your focus on customer service and turn that customer’s experience around. The way you respond to reviews and transform experiences is just as important as the reviews themselves.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an e-commerce merchant, and how did you conquer it?
The competition from Amazon and other large e-retailers has probably been one of our biggest challenges. Trying to match their free shipping offers can easily put smaller merchants at a financial disadvantage.
But it’s made us be more creative in exploring ways we can cut costs and increase profits — and it’s also made us more prepared for a potential reduction in profit margins. Being resourceful in our approaches has helped us remain competitive among the e-commerce giants.
Another big challenge we’ve faced is watching our credit card fraud risk steadily increase. Before partnering with ClearSale, I handled every instance of fraud. It quickly became apparent to me that if you don’t keep it in check, credit card fraud will grow year over year. E-commerce merchants must have a comprehensive fraud management strategy that keeps exposure to a minimum, and ClearSale’s solution has helped us do just that.
As an e-commerce merchant, what’s the most difficult aspect of dealing with fraud?
I find that the lack of support from credit card processors during the chargeback process can be extremely frustrating. When a transaction is processed, they’re helpful with matching and issuing approvals, but they provide little support or backup to merchants when chargebacks are filed.
We try to do everything right during a transaction by doing our due diligence and providing the processor with complete information. But we often feel very alone during the chargeback process. Processors generally favor the customer and hold us responsible for the fees and penalties — even if it was an instance of customer fraud.
Partnering With ClearSale to Continue Growth, Minimize Credit Card Fraud
RC Planet was frustrated by the chargeback process, their increased fraud exposure and the difficulty in adequately staffing their fraud management team during high sales periods. They knew they needed a fraud protection solution that could easily handle volume spikes and would let the company get back to focusing on growing their business. ClearSale’s unique combination of human analysis and artificial intelligence, vast resources and cutting-edge technology let RC Planet do just that.
The partnership has also helped RCPlanet become better informed about transaction risk and fraud practices and has given them the confidence to accept more “gray-area” transactions, directly resulting in increased sales.
If you’re ready to learn how ClearSale’s comprehensive Fraud Protection Solution can help your e-commerce business reach its full potential while minimizing fraud exposure, contact one of our fraud protection analysts today.