Common Threats to E-commerce Retailers Around the Holidays

People can purchase virtually anything online these days, from clothing to household essentials to appliances to cars. E-commerce has without a doubt grown exponentially over the years, especially since COVID-19. According to eMarketer, it’s predicted that U.S. consumers will spend a whopping $933.30 billion via e-commerce by the end of 2021 – up nearly 18% from 2020. 

As consumers shop for holiday gifts online – it’s important to stay safe and keep personal information protected. Similarly, retail companies that offer e-commerce (commonly known as e-tailers) need to be aware of a few common threats that could potentially interrupt their business if they’re not careful. A digital storefront creates a convenient experience for shoppers to purchase what they’re looking for from the comfort of home with just a few clicks. However, when something goes awry, it’s possible to lose even the most loyal customer’s trust.  

Common e-commerce threats and mishaps for retailers to look out for 

Ensure a strong infrastructure 

If your website gets a healthy amount of traffic on any given day, chances are it will increase when Black Friday and prime holiday shopping season rolls around. To prepare for this customer influx, it’s essential to upgrade your company’s internet infrastructure so it can properly handle your website’s increased traffic load. If the infrastructure’s scalability and performance are not optimized and up to date, your website can become extremely slow or, even worse, crash. The results could cost your business both sales and reputation. 

Beware of denial of inventory attacks 

An increasingly common threat to e-commerce companies 
that often takes place during the holidays is a denial of inventory attack. This is a scheme in which cyber hackers use bots to rapidly add mass quantities of items to their online shopping carts in order to make products appear unavailable for actual buyers. Brand websites’ e-commerce software will typically automatically “remove” an item from their inventory whenever it’s added to someone’s cart to prevent that particular product from running out of stock by the time of checkout. The hackers, of course, have no intention of purchasing the items.  

How to prevent denial of inventory attacks 

To prevent denial of Inventory attacks, monitor your inventory extremely closely each day.  

  • If a user has an alarmingly high number of items in their cart, send them an email to let them know of the time limit to check out. 
  • Your e-commerce automation platform may also have a setting that sets an automatic time limit of how long an item can remain in someone’s cart before it’s added back into the inventory. 

Intercept formjacking/e-skimming 

Formjacking – also known as e-skimming – is a type of cyberattack in which a fraudster uses malicious JavaScript code to steal customers’ personal and financial information from website forms. The page on which the form is present, typically the checkout page, is hacked. Then, each time a user fills out the form with their shipping and billing addresses, payment information, etc., the entered information is sent to the attacker – putting customers at risk of identity theft, credit card fraud and other types of stressful setbacks.  

To prevent formjacking: 
  • Make sure you have the latest version of a reputable antivirus software installed on your website.  
  • It’s also recommended to run penetration tests and vulnerability scans to help identify software snags and patch them up as quickly as possible. 

Enable encryption 

Be sure to always enable encryption and use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for added layers of security on your e-commerce site. 

What is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)? 

SSL is a type of technology that keeps your internet connection secure and protects sensitive data sent between two systems (i.e., the customer’s computer and the retailer’s database). It stops criminals from being able to intercept or modify transferred information, including customers’ personal and financial details. 

Use a reliable third-party payment processor 

Always avoid storing customers’ payment information on your company’s servers. Instead, implement a trustworthy third-party payment tool they can use, such as Shop, Shopify or PayPal. 

Having the right business insurance, especially around the holidays, is essential. To learn how to properly protect your online business, contact your local Rural Mutual agent today. 

The information provided in external website links is for general informational purposes only and does not form any recommendation or warranty by Rural Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates.