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Polywood furniture automated its fraud detection processes at checkout, resulting in higher conversion rates.

After 25 years exclusively as B2B, outdoor furniture merchant Polywood shifted to include B2C to “own our own brand,” says Sean Valencourt, executive vice president of information systems.

As business grew, so did Polywood’s fraud risk, Valencourt says.

“We were actually targeted by a fraud ring,” he says. The retailer received multiple fraudulent orders, to the point where its manual process for flagging suspicious orders could no longer keep up, Valencourt says.

The retailer was in danger of hitting the 1% threshold where financial companies won’t allow a retailer to process its credit cards anymore, he says. For example, Visa has a 0.9% threshold. The financial institution issues an “early warning” when the percentage of fraudulent orders reaches 0.65%.

“We hadn’t gotten to that point, but we were approaching a 1% threshold on fraudulent orders,” Valencourt says.


The retailer turned to online payment and checkout platform Bolt. Instead of relying on employees to manually flag potential fraudulent orders, the retailer automated the process. That freed up employees to serve customer inquiries directly instead, Valencourt says.

It also increased conversion, Valencourt says. Polywood began using Bolt in 2018. The first year after adding Bolt, Polywood’s conversion rate increased 10% in 2019. By the end of 2020, conversion increased 20%, he says. That’s increased to about 50% conversion currently, he says.

Customer checkout rate

A portion of Polywood’s customers order furniture for locations other than their main home. Some are for second homes or other properties, for example. These orders were often flagged as fraudulent because the billing zip code did not match the shipping zip code.

“A bank might flag it and it hurts checkout,” he says.


That’s a big deal when the average order value for a Polywood order is around $1,000, he says.

Instead, Bolt automates this process and catches these details.

“Now, our customer service agents can answer customer questions like what product is right for them or sizing and colors about products,” Valencourt says.

Polywood uses Bolt as its default checkout processor. Customers can check out as a guest. They can also use Bolt if they’ve purchased through other retailers that also use Bolt or are saved in the Bolt network. This allows shoppers to check out quicker because their information is already stored with Bolt.


Polywood preventing fraud

Bolt flags fraud and offers Polywood the ability to track deliveries. As Polywood expands its customer base, the shopping process has grown more complex. There are split shipping and multiple manufacturing centers and warehouses to navigate, Valencourt says.

“We actually did start offering split shipping a couple of years ago,” he says. “But we didn’t really let the customer know what was going on. A customer might get half an order and call in saying they were missing part of it. They didn’t realize it was coming in a separate shipment. The customer service team didn’t either. They would send a replacement for the missing items only to find out the rest of the initial shipment arrived later.”

That Bolt network is growing, says Shilpi Narang, chief customer officer. The number of Polywood shoppers who check out using a Bolt account has more than doubled since the merchant went live with the vendor. Shoppers with a Bolt account constitute 30% of Polywood’s total volume of checkout as of September 2023.

Merchants don’t typically want to outsource their entire checkout process, Narang says.


“We work with them so they can keep their branded look while tapping into elements of our technology,” she says.

While merchants want an automated fraud and checkout solution, Narang says they also find value in Bolt’s growing network. The vendor claims that its shopper network includes tens of millions of U.S. shoppers and has grown year over year in 2023 by 44%.

“As we work with more merchants, especially with larger more complex merchants, we heard they wanted to increase conversion and leverage our shopper network,” she says. According to Narang, when a U.S. ecommerce merchants turns “on” Bolt, “immediately about 17% of their site traffic is recognized by Bolt,” she says.

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