As you were setting up your e-commerce store, you doubtless planned for many contingencies: inventory outlay, the holiday rush, negative reviews, returns. But did you prepare yourself for robot attacks?
If you’re an e-commerce seller, you need to be aware of how automated attackers that are after your inventory – can keep legitimate customers from buying your products, and how these attacks can impact your bottom line. Here are 3 basics to keep in mind.
1. Understand how automated attackers operate. Let’s say a legitimate customer adds a product to her cart, but doesn’t check out for a day or two. Chances are, your site holds that inventory for her so when she does check out, it’s still available.
Automated attackers take advantage of this courtesy to customers by constantly adding items to a cart but not completing the purchase, for the purpose of sabotaging your site. Hoarding prevents you from making sales and moves your customers to different sellers. Once the products are out of the bot’s cart, you’re likely to have lost customers and missed sales opportunities, and will need a new plan to unload those products.
2. Know who you’re dealing with. Establish you’re dealing with a bot and not a human customer. Check IP addresses – a single address is a red flag, but note that the attacks can originate from multiple addresses, too – and look for patterns in timing.
3. Revisit your cart policy. Work with your marketplace or website contractor to limit the amount of time users can hold items and/or add multiples of the same product to their cart. Consider, too, a hard limit on hot items, such as limited release products or items tied to special events.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let bots botch your business. Know how to identify when automated attackers are threatening your inventory, and take steps to prevent future assaults.