This blog post is part of Forrester’s Holiday 2018 retail series.

By now, you have laid out plans for your holiday sales season in hopes of exceeding customer expectations and sales targets. This includes updates to your websites and mobile apps, reward programs for your loyal customers, and adjustments to ads and sale prices as the season progresses.

But just like the Grinch who wanted to wreck the holidays, attackers will try to ruin your carefully planned strategy. They’ll use bots — simple automated programs, which make up over half of web traffic — to commit fraud, price-beat or match your sales, and befuddle your marketing and customer experience colleagues trying to improve the customer journey. You should be looking at bot management solutions now to thwart these would-be Grinches:

  • They siphon your ad dollars. Advertisers typically pay host sites based on where website visitors had their “last clicks.” Bots click on these ads to create the appearance of a human viewing ads to redirect your dollars to fraudulent attackers’ pockets. Ad fraud is estimated at more than $3.3 billion in 2018, luring in those malicious attackers trying to make big money.
  • They kill customer experience. A recent study found that every public website with a login is actively attacked by bad bots. So not only are they slowing down your site, they’re also skewing the customer journey data that your colleagues use to improve customer experience.
  • They use stolen gift-card numbers. Gift cards continue to top holiday wish lists, and malicious attackers make use of their large numbers and their detachment to a specific customer to hide their fraud. Bots brute-force different combinations of account numbers and pins trying to find a card to steal, causing your website to be bogged down even if no cards are stolen.
  • They steal your sales tactics. Web-scraping bots scour online data for purposes such as price comparisons, IP theft, or plagiarism. Using this data, your competition can easily keep pace with your pricing and sales product mix.

Need to get a bot management program in place immediately? Work with your security and risk pros to quickly choose and implement the most effective tools. Using these tools ensures that your “nice” traffic flows freely and keeps your customers happy.