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OPINION: Why making delivery and returns policies clear is key to overcoming text delivery scams


Al Gerrie, founder and CEO of ZigZag explains the need for better education to prevent consumers falling victim to delivery scams.
With the rise in online shopping, delivery and returns services understandably became a target for fraudsters. Seeing the news of delivery text scams making the headlines recently, it’s outrageous that scammers are getting away with this, particularly after all the progress that has been made in ecommerce during the pandemic.

We all know that today data is a precious commodity, and the recent scams are proof of how far scammers will go to gain access to people’s personal information.

An increasing problem

With an average of 100 reports a day being received by the police, it is easy to see how quickly issues like this can escalate. The boom in online shopping has exacerbated the problem as it’s not uncommon for people who often make online purchases to find it hard to remember what they are expecting, and when. Adding to that, often no money is taken immediately making the scam sound much more plausible and instead personal information is gained.

The need to be more aware than ever

Retailers will need to be ready to face the non-stop changes anticipated for the coming year and partners like us will need to be more alive than ever before to the pain points shaping the industry. What retailers need to realise is that returns policies will continue to have a bigger impact not only on sales and client retention, but also as a key strategy to protect their clients from scams like this.

While there is a strong core of regular online shoppers, there is still a significant number of consumers who need to get more familiar with some standard practices in the industry, so it becomes harder for fraudsters to convince people to give away money or personal data in exchange for a redelivery booking. In truth, it is very unlikely that anyone would ever be charged by a courier in the UK for a redelivery, and the sooner customers know this, the better.

Educating consumers

The industry will need to come together to educate customers and help them spot potential scams in the future. One of the reasons that underpins this tension between retailers and scammers is the enormous value of data. Data is powering ecommerce to new levels, helping companies reach their target market more efficiently than ever. However, with the responsibility of such valuable data, the entire ecommerce ecosystem also has a duty to hold one another to account, so that collectively we remain instrumental in protecting customers.

The biggest threat

And the biggest threat of all? Retailers will lose online customers as quickly as they gained them in the last year unless they can help them to feel safe again. A little can go a long way, like making sure your returns policies are up to date and easy to follow. We know many people will check the delivery and returns policy before deciding whether to make a purchase. Make sure your customers know what to expect and when during the returns and purchase process – don’t allow them to fall foul of any nasty surprises.

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