Business Business.- Retailers face an especially competitive environment this holiday and Black Friday early shopping season, making the need to retain and increase customer loyalty more critical than ever.
According to Oswaldo Palacios, Senior Account Manager for Akamai, Strong discounts among competitors, along with inflation and declining consumer confidence, can lead a brand’s most loyal customers to shop elsewhere to find a offer. So as the holidays approach, retailers must step up their efforts to not only attract customers, but also keep their attention.
Added to this difficult context is a new threat for e-commerce sites, which is audience hijacking. This term is used to describe shoppers who are diverted from their online purchasing process by unauthorized distractions that are injected by cybercriminals through browser extensions or add-ons.
“These injected distractions can drive a shopper to a competitor’s site or prevent them from having the desired user experience and ultimately prevent them from completing any purchase,” Palacios continued.
Akamai reveals in its research that between 5% and 15% of all sessions on an e-commerce site are affected by audience hijacking tactics, resulting in significant lost revenue and lower conversion rates for retailers. .
Audience hijacking tactics
Audience hijacking tactics include affiliate fraud, injection of malicious and unauthorized ads, price comparisons, and coupon extensions, all of which can impact a retailer’s bottom line.
Affiliate marketing programs are commonly used in a retailer’s advertising and acquisition strategy, but they are also a prime target for fraud. In fact, 69% of brands spend more than $1 million on advertising and lose at least 20% due to ad fraud.
In the case of audience hijacking, abusers of an affiliate program silently inject a iframe (component of an HTML element that allows documents, videos, and interactive media to be embedded within a page) through a browser extension or plug-in on a digital commerce site while a visitor to the site is shopping. The iframe then loads a fraudulent referral ID into the URL and a third party takes credit for the affiliate sales they didn’t make. This can cost a specific website millions in fraudulent affiliate payments.
Injection of malicious and unauthorized advertising
Unauthorized ads and notifications occur as a result of third-party code being injected via an extension or plugin into a site’s page. The site visitor is then enticed to click on the ad and diverted from the customer journey.
These ads sometimes feature adult content and may seek sensitive information when a user navigates to the site linked in the ad. Not only do they ruin a carefully designed user experience, but they can also harm site visitors and brand reputation.
Price comparison extensions should be of particular concern to retailers. These extensions are specifically designed to divert the user from one brand’s site to its competition.
These extensions scan other online retail sites for lower prices on similar products or services. With fierce competition and deep discounts, shoppers will be looking to maximize their savings and are likely to take advantage of these price comparison extensions as a means to compare prices.
Coupon extensions are extremely popular and to some extent can be beneficial for online retailers. These extensions look for coupons or discount codes as a shopper browses a retailer’s site and can automatically inject discount codes into checkout pages. The retailer may not have intended for a discount to be so widely available, which can lead to lost revenue.
¨Understanding how brand hijackers operate, it is important for retailers to understand the importance of having a solution that can provide visibility into how browser extensions and other add-ons interact with their site and give users the ability to block these activities. unwanted mainly in times of high influx such as the Christmas season¨, concluded the Akamai manager.