About five miles from the beach in Tel Aviv, Tal Agassi’s team of 10 did their best to tell good orders from bad. None had fraud-prevention expertise. Some had been on the job for only two weeks. Even so, a number of them would spend as much as a third of their day sorting through online orders.
The odds they’d get it right were slim, a fact of life that was enough to give Agassi indigestion. “I don’t want to leave those decisions in their hands. Sometimes they make good calls and prevent fraud, but on the other side, they may also decline someone who looks suspicious but is actually a good buyer,” says Agassi, founder of the online consumer app GOTit, which, for the past three years, has successfully blended social media and online shopping for over 1 million subscribers.
Eliminating manual reviews
In March, Agassi signed up with Signifyd. Now he and his team don’t decline any orders from “good buyers.” Since Signifyd guarantees protection against fraud and merchant protection from chargebacks on every order, Agassi no longer has to agonize over whether a suspicious-looking order is fraudulent or whether there is an innocent explanation for its idiosyncrasies. “It saves a headache,” he says.
Before Signifyd, a customer who was buying seven unique items within the first week of subscribing would immediately appear suspicious. “People don’t normally buy so much in their first few days,” Agassi explains. “We had to check every transaction, see who the buyer is, check the shipping and billing address, make sure it matched the name on the card, how many sales attempts he had before. Many, many, many things needed to be checked.” says Agassi, remembering his stomach-churning days before Signifyd. “And we have about 300 to 400 orders per day, or 10,000 a month, averaging $40 each. Checking each one of them individually takes too much time, too much overhead for us.”
Now those manual checks are no longer necessary. Plus, Agassi isn’t losing money by canceling orders that simply look suspicious but are actually legitimate. “We don’t have to go through each one of them and check whether the buyer is legit or not. So that’s a good thing. We had lost legitimate buyers. They looked so suspicious we didn’t want to ship the product. Now we’re definitely saving time and shipping more orders. It definitely gives us peace of mind because we know we are protected.”
Agassi is also reassured that he won’t reach the number of chargeback types — typically one for every 100 orders — that brings on penalties. “When that happens, you go into a specific plan with PayPal that, at the end of the day, creates higher fees on every chargeback you get. It’s really, really, really bad. It can get to $100 per chargeback. I would have to sell 10 different items to cover that one chargeback.”
When you add it all up — the time saved, an end to denying good orders, the peace of mind — Agassi says teaming with Signifyd was an easy decision. “You want to have Signifyd on the back end,” he says. “Given the current environment, it’s a no-brainer. I’d like to prevent as much fraud as I can.”
Growing the business
GOTit’s primary demographic is men, aged 22 to 28, spread across the United States. Customers are most interested in street fashions and accessories and popular items include ripped jeans and Nike Jordans. His female customers really like long skirts.
The idea behind GOTit is to provide 20-something buyers with the kind of feeling they get when they’re scrolling through Instagram or using WhatsApp to check out the latest fashions. Given its target market, the business relies heavily on word of mouth and social media.
Which is why Agassi needs to be sure his customers always get answers and orders quickly. “Customers get an answer after one second. They really like this and we have exceptional service.” But early on fraudsters also loved the site, especially the $150 shoes.
“Nike, Adidas – as expensive as they can get. That’s what they do: they buy it and they sell it. They make money out of it,” says Agassi, who says he was surprised when he lost chargeback claims. “In 90 percent of the cases we lose the chargeback, even if I have all the information showing that the product was shipped.”
But that’s all in the past. With Signifyd on the job Agassi has been able to turn his attention to marketing on Facebook. “Because that’s my only marketing platform – that’s how we get new users into the application.”
“Overall, I’m very happy with Signifyd,” he added. “I think it’s give me peace of mind, which is very, very important.” But that still doesn’t mean he gets to sit with his feet up on the beach, which is so close to his office. After all, he still has a business to run. “I still have full responsibility as the owner of my business,” he says.