How BuyWake rode the checkout conversion wave and radically decreased fraud
Twin brothers and founders, Lee and Eric Elliott know all about turning a passion into a career and capturing incredible results. While in high school, they developed a love for ocean surfing and wanted to build a business that celebrates the water world. In 1997, along with their late stepfather, Chuck Morrow, they started Ambush Board Co. in Atlanta, fusing the complementary elements of punk rock, skateboarding, wakeboarding, and snowboarding.
Originally conceived as a flagship brick-and-mortar store, the founding team quickly saw the benefits of ecommerce. In 2001, they launched their website buywake.com, a dynamic ecommerce space that sold their products and promoted the tight-knit community of wake culture.
Challenges: slow checkout and fraudulent transactions
Although the fundamentals were in place, the team had everyday technical challenges with their website, limiting their ability to grow and retain customers. The first issue was a slow and clumsy checkout process, which resulted in frustrated customers. Eric Elliott recalls, “our conversion rate was lower than it had ever been.”
In addition to the slow checkout process, the fraud prevention solution on BuyWake wasn’t accurate. Elliott says it was, “allowing too much fraud to get through and having a fair amount of false positives.” The algorithm allowed fraudsters to get away and flagged genuine transactions incorrectly, leading BuyWake to lose revenue. Elliott mentioned there was also an issue with their previous provider’s Magento integration. When flagged orders were approved, they wouldn’t be inserted into the transaction flow. As a result, the BuyWake team wouldn’t even know about the flagging change of genuine transactions until the chargeback came through due to the order having never been fulfilled and received.
For a mature business like BuyWake, Elliott says the key metrics are number of orders, conversion rate, and website traffic — all revenue drivers. Losing customers due to an inefficient website was a deal breaker for BuyWake.
In 2019, the BuyWake team decided to onboard Bolt into their Magento platform and leveraged Bolt’s powerful checkout and fraud prevention capabilities. “The integration of Bolt with Magento was a smooth process with no snags,” Elliott says. He recalls that most of the technical integration happened behind the scenes and he didn’t have to be actively involved in it.
Soon after the onboarding, BuyWake saw two huge benefits from Bolt: optimized checkout and fraud prevention.
Prior to BuyWake onboarding Bolt, customers had an option to create an account with BuyWake, customers hardly interacted with this option, 90% of the transactions were guest checkouts. But BuyWake observed a change in this trend — 40% of guest transactions converted into Bolt accounts.
The ease and speed of the one-click checkout process, along with the ability to create a Bolt account gave BuyWake customers an Amazon-like experience, Elliott shared. The creation of a Bolt account helps both customers and the business: customers get the advantage of a speedy, one-click checkout while the business gains insights into customer preferences and behaviors.
Since going live with Bolt, over 11,000 unique shoppers have created Bolt accounts on the BuyWake site and 19% are repeat customers. The checkout conversion rates have since risen to 68% compared to 40% for guest checkouts.
Wiping out fraud
Before Bolt, BuyWake experimented with different fraud solutions, but had finally settled on an in-house solution with an employee manually reviewing all the orders to spot fraud. Bolt allowed BuyWake to save unnecessary time and cost. Post-Bolt, BuyWake’s chargebacks decreased significantly, and the average order approval rate to 98%.
Reflecting on the difference BuyWake has seen since Bolt, Elliott Shares, “I don’t even call it [fraud] prevention, I say elimination. Because it’s handled, I can see the rejected orders, I can tell why they’re rejected through the insights, and I know we’re not turning away good business. When we do have a chargeback, it’s covered.”
"You can't argue against one-click checkout, total fraud elimination, an improved post-purchase experience, and beyond. That...and Bolt is the consummate partner.”
Customer service: going above and beyond
BuyWake operates in difficult market conditions that make it hard to maintain profitability. Many of their friction points such as escalating shipping fees and high advertising costs fall outside the realm of the ecommerce platform. In such a tough business climate, seemingly small things make a difference.
For instance Elliott says, “the reduced payment processing fees with Bolt made a difference to BuyWake. A fraction of a percentage point across 50,000 transactions really adds up.” He also calls out his top-notch experience with the customer support team adding, “Bolt continues to be nimble and prioritize what’s important to us and our business.” Regardless of whether it’s a bug that needs a fix or a new request that needs to be addressed, Bolt’s responsiveness has given BuyWake a big boost.
Perfectly poised to ramp up
Moving forward Elliott says, “he would like to tap into the data available with the Bolt network—which has already brought them 5% of new shoppers—and Bolt accounts to build personalization capabilities and loyalty programs into the BuyWake website.” The goal is to offer recommendations and incentives to customers based on their individual interests.
As the BuyWake team gears up to deliver more value to its shoppers, Bolt’s reliable partnership will help them keep pace with changing needs.