How Vestiaire Collective Scaled Its Fraud Operations
Vestiaire Collective provides fashion enthusiasts around the world with quick, smooth, processing - while at the same time enjoying high approval rates, a full chargeback guarantee, and reduced fraud management costs.
In October 2009, Sébastien Fabre founded Vestiaire Collective, an online marketplace dedicated to pre-owned luxury fashion. Five co-founders quickly joined the adventure. The goal was to make high-end clothing and accessories affordable by authenticating and controlling 100% of the catalogue, while providing easy and secure transactions for buyers and sellers alike. The company quickly grew into a huge success. Vestiaire Collective currently registers 20,000 new product deposits each week, 3 million monthly social interactions, and 5 million members.
But with rapid growth and international expansion, Vestiaire Collective was straining to provide consumers with a smooth shopping experience. The high growth luxury fashion marketplace needed a flexible, scalable, fraud management solution that would ensure customers received the experience and service they deserved. Partnering with a fraud management solution that understands the fashion industry in and out, achieved that goal.
Today, Vestiaire Collective provides fashion enthusiasts around the world with quick, smooth, processing – while at the same time enjoying high approval rates, a full chargeback guarantee, and reduced fraud management costs.
Building An Online Luxury Fashion Community
Gaining the trust of affluent consumers is crucial to the success of any luxury retailer, and Vestiaire Collective works hard to achieve that goal.
For starters, the company employs a team dedicated to validating the authenticity of every item after it is sold on the website. But the founders also had the vision to realize the importance of providing value beyond commerce. They make sure the site regularly features editorial content from fashion industry influencers and thought leaders – innovating the creation of a profile page for every user in order to generate trust around social interaction. This allows enthusiasts to use the site not only to shop but also to follow current trends, check out the tastes of other buyers and sellers, or even post comments on iconic item pages.
The result is a thriving online luxury fashion community.
But as this community initially grew, the company began to run into challenges caused by its fraud review process. Reliance on manual review led to longer wait times for customers as the volume of online purchases increased. Vestiaire’s efforts to expand into the US market were hampered by a lack of familiarity with local fraud and legitimate shopping patterns. Additionally, differences in time zones put a severe strain on fraud management resources.
However, the desire to cultivate and maintain trust with consumers means ensuring the customer experience from start to finish. This extends all the way to the payments funnel, which according to Michael Benisti, Head of Payments and Revenue Protection at Vestiaire, needs to be as frictionless as possible in order to inspire confidence. Vestiaire Collective’s site regularly processes transactions for tens of thousands of euros, and if something feels wrong in the payment funnel, people become reluctant to conduct such a large transaction online.
“Finding a scalable solution was critical to face our high growth situation and Riskified delivered on this key criteria in everything we do,” Benisti explains.
In 2015, Vestiaire achieved an 85% growth rate versus 2014.
Meeting The Challenges of Hyper-Growth
Anticipating such skyrocketing expansion is why when Benisti joined the company in October 2013, he wanted to make sure the payments funnel would continue to provide the same excellent customer experience that is the hallmark of Vestiaire Collective’s brand. To accomplish this goal, he knew he would need to manage the challenges of rapid scale and expansion into international markets that came with Vestiaire’s aggressive growth.
Keeping customer friction from entering the sales process was a priority. Benisti sought to understand fraud patterns in Vestiaire’s new and emerging markets so that manual review wait times would remain low. Having this knowledge would allow him to avoid invasive fraud prevention techniques such as calling customers over the phone, requesting photo IDs, or even requesting copies of bank statements.
To accomplish these goals as successfully as possible, Benisti began looking for eCommerce fraud prevention experts who could help. He wanted a flexible, scalable solution that could provide insight and expertise only when necessary. Ideally, the goal was to maintain Vestiaire’s manual fraud review intact where it was effective, while outsourcing fraud management in cases where unfamiliarity might cause an erosion of the customer experience.
Partnering With Riskified
Benisti found that solution in Riskified. While he was originally attracted by the 100% chargeback guarantee on all approved orders, he was later impressed with Riskified’s commitment to merchants’ online growth and ability to streamline the fraud review process.
“I really liked the simplicity of the model,” Benisti notes. “The fact that you validate orders instantly and refund me instantly for any chargebacks incurred is why I went with you. The decision was almost a no brainer to me; I demonstrated that it was going to create value to my CFO with a spreadsheet model and there were no surprises once we went live.”
Riskified worked with Benisti to create a virtual “on-switch” that would allow Vestiaire Collective to submit orders to Riskified only when it was deemed necessary. Once the custom submission plan was finalized, it took just two weeks to complete the technical integration and go live with Riskified.
Since making the decision to partner with Riskified in February 2015, Vestiaire Collective users enjoy instant confirmation for all orders during overnight hours and weekends. That’s down from a previous average turnaround time of 6 hours for orders deemed potentially risky during these periods. And while providing quick approvals was important, Riskified also maintained a high approval rate for purchases across all markets.
A high approval rate is extremely important to Vestiaire Collective. Some items for sale on its site are worth as much as 90,000 euros, making every lost sales opportunity significant. But as Head of Payments and Revenue Protection, Benisti is not only mindful of the revenue lost from a rejected purchase – he’s also very concerned to avoid the negative response consumers have to being falsely declined. The luxury goods available on the Vestiaire Collective marketplace attract affluent fashion enthusiasts with a very high potential lifetime value. Therefore, it is extremely important for the company to avoid insulting customers by declining their legitimate orders.
“Sometimes a repeat customer can spend as much as 300,000 euros on the site. So, we are very careful about false declines and are always trying to maximize acceptance rates. We will risk a chargeback to avoid a false decline that we think will cost us a lot of value,” Benisti explains.
Vestiaire Collective trusts Riskified to have the same commitment to eliminating false declines, even while providing a 100% chargeback guarantee on all approved orders.
“I think that you are taking risks because I know that you are taking chargebacks,” Benisti says. “I’m expecting you to take at least as much risk as we do ourselves, and you do.”
Overall, Benisti is extremely satisfied with the way Riskified fits into Vestiaire Collective’s online fraud prevention strategy. In addition to improving the shopping experience and maintaining high approval rates across markets and time zones, Vestiaire Collective now spends less on fraud management than ever before.
“Our total cost of fraud – including HR costs, payment and fees for fraud management tools, and the cost associated with chargebacks – has been reduced by almost 55% thanks to Riskified,” Benisti notes.
Ready To Meet Future Challenges
Riskified gives Vestiaire Collective and Michael Benisti, the company’s Head of Payments and Revenue Protection, the peace of mind to know that the company will remain protected from fraud without compromising the user experience. Today, Vestiaire Collective supports its in-house fraud management team with a scalable solution that helps it meet its goals.
With Riskified as a partner, Vestiaire’s future growth is backed by a scalable solution that provides instant decisions. To learn more about how Riskified helps businesses overcome their online fraud related challenges read our success stories, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.