How PuppySpot Reduced their Manual Review Time from Days to Minutes
In the competitive and crowded pet industry, PuppySpot has emerged as an industry leader due to their extreme care for the very core of their business: puppies. Originally founded in 2005 in South Florida, PuppySpot is now headquartered in Jersey City and has grown to include employees spread throughout the United States.
This growth can be attributed to a number of facets of their business. From their intensive breeder screening process to their scientific advisory board made up of veterinarians and specialists, the team has thought through every detail. And they not only stand behind their due diligence with a 10 year health guarantee, but are always available to support PuppySpot families throughout the dog’s lifetime.
Early Growing Pains Highlight a Need for a Solution
In the early days, after graduating from faxing 15 page documents to customers to take orders, PuppySpot began using Payflow Pro to process payments. However, they quickly discovered that it was unreliable, repeatedly broke, and offered no form of fraud prevention. As Kyle Baker, VP Product at PuppySpot, remembers, “we had challenges with basic payment processing for a long time. In particular, the fact that we are a high fraud risk because our price point is pretty high for puppies.” Payflow Pro also left a lot of questions unanswered for the team. There was no control over the experience or analytics and customers were redirected to a hosted checkout page. PuppySpot lost any visibility into the process and was left hoping customers successfully converted.
In addition to payment processing, the team also began to outgrow their approach to fraud prevention. PuppySpot used LexisNexis InstantID to follow up on orders that looked suspicious. However, that was an incredibly manual process where their internal team ran checks to obtain the LexisNexis score. Even with these checks in place, the root problem wasn’t solved. “If we were able to verify that the person and the address matched, we would move on with the transaction,” Kyle explains. “But even then, there were holes in that and we were getting fraudulent transactions going through. If we had a low LexisNexis score, we really didn’t have any good options.”
Even worse, the team noticed that the level of fraud they were witnessing was growing more and more sophisticated. “We’ve had some targeted fraud rings,” Kyle explains. “It became clear that we weren’t just dealing with intermittent individuals attempting to scam us, but we’re actually being targeted by coordinated groups.”
And it’s important to highlight that fraud in relation to PuppySpot’s business is very different from other companies. “For us, fraud is not just a line item on our spreadsheets. Fraud is very personal because we are sending a living, breathing animal to its forever home,” Kyle explains. “We want to make sure it grows up and matures, is well taken care of, and we know who has that puppy. Beyond just the financial hit in successful fraud instances, there’s a living animal out there that we’re responsible for that we don’t know if it’s being cared for properly.”
The Search for the Right Solution
Once the team decided it was time to find a better solution, they began looking at the big names in payment processing. However, they quickly discovered that the level of service they were looking for wasn’t common practice. They were also consistently referred to third parties for fraud prevention instead of finding a solution that addressed all of their needs in one.
When the team started looking into fraud solutions specifically, they also were left underwhelmed. “We found that fraud partners would either require us to take on a burden of PCI compliance that we weren’t comfortable with or were too invasive for our customers,” Kyle explains. “Some were recommending that we require social security from our customers or we had the flip side, where we had solutions that didn’t seem that much better than what we had with LexisNexis—where we were manually doing these instantIDs and even then there were plenty of holes and gaps.”
Regardless of payment or fraud provider, the integration process also seemed to create unnecessary friction. The team understood that any decision would require integration with a payment provider, a separate integration with a fraud service, and the hope that these integrations worked and ran smoothly together. However, PuppySpot liked the appeal of selecting and integrating solely with Bolt to address all of their needs. As Kyle sums up choosing Bolt, “it was just the easiest solution we could find on the market.”
We’ve been able to be a lot more efficient now that Bolt is handling all the fraud checks.
Chargeback management and improving operational efficiency were two of the biggest areas of focus for the team. As Kyle explains, “when Jonathan Diaz joined our sales operations team, it was a very manual team performing a lot of repetitive data entry scenarios and one of those was our former fraud prevention process.” Jonathan adds on, “in one short sentence, thank you to Bolt.”
Jonathan, who is one of the closest team members to the manual review process and remembers PuppySpot’s previous processes well, explains “it was very manual. We had to go pretty much order by order. Whenever the billing address and shipping address didn’t match, it would take an extra one to two days just to get all the information from the customer that we needed to make the decision to move the sale forward—only for it to possibly still be a chargeback and fraud.”
However, with Bolt in place, those time-consuming manual review processes have greatly reduced. “We’ve been able to be a lot more efficient now that Bolt is handling all the fraud checks,” Jonathan explains. “You’re taking the load off of the fraud checks so we can focus on everything else that we’re handling.”
In addition to handling the heavy lifting of fraud prevention, Bolt continuously serves as a partner by turning merchant feedback into new features built to address those requests. Specifically, PuppySpot partnered with Bolt to design Rejected Order Insights, a feature that gives merchants visibility into why an order was rejected. The PuppySpot team reviewed wireframes, participated in the beta process before the feature was generally available, and provided invaluable feedback. Kyle explains, “when you added the reasons (Rejected Order Insights) into the Bolt interface, that was extremely helpful.” Jonathan quickly adds, “yes, extremely.” Instead of the one to two day window that Jonathan and his team regularly experienced, “within seven minutes we’re able to review orders now on average,” he explains.
It’s not just about fraud prevention for bad orders, but also streamlining approval of good orders as well. Kyle explains, “the unsung hero here is all the people that, in the past, we would have done additional checks on that we no longer need to inconvenience with our former fraud process because they’re automatically being approved by Bolt.”
The unsung hero here is all the people that, in the past, we would have done additional checks on that we no longer need to inconvenience with our former fraud process because they’re automatically being approved by Bolt.
The Network Effect: Driving Additional Revenue
And speaking of approving good customers, PuppySpot has also seen significant revenue come from being part of the Bolt Network. As a Bolt customer, PuppySpot has immediate access to Bolt’s entire network of shoppers with Bolt Accounts. Accessing this network of Bolt Account shoppers brings immediate value to retailers like PuppySpot, because they’re able to give shoppers a fast and frictionless checkout that results in a better customer experience for their shoppers and increased revenue for themselves. In fact, 10.5% of PuppySpot’s retail sales have come from Bolt Account shoppers alone.
Not only is Bolt Fraud Protection key in protecting PuppySpot from fraud and approving more orders, but access to the Bolt Network continues to drive customers to PuppySpot. When asked how Bolt has exceeded his expectations, Kyle sums it up “you’ve exceeded my expectations in quite a few [areas] actually. Relationship management has been great, you’ve been very responsive to our product requests, you were very easy to integrate with, and the fraud prevention has been great.”