Bots are bigger than the security team. Conversations with security professionals concerned about bots often start with credential stuffing attacks, but the bot landscape is much broader and can directly impact your top line. Even the defenses have business impacts: A bot management solution that slows down traffic on the biggest shopping day of the year will not be greeted warmly by your business colleagues.

How do bots impact a retailer’s revenue? Here are a few examples:

  • Inventory hoarding bots buy up desirable merchandise before real customers can, and then the bot operators resell the merchandise elsewhere for a nice profit. Meanwhile, when frustrated customers can’t buy the popular item on your site, they probably aren’t buying any peripheral products either.
  • Card fraud bots rapidly enter potential gift card numbers in hopes of stealing gift card balances. If they are successful, not only are you dealing with a frustrated customer who has lost their gift card balance, you are likely refunding the stolen balance (and you have gifted the bot operator with free products).
  • Web scraping bots are a competitive machine. These bots scrape your product and pricing information and then set their own site’s prices to be slightly lower, luring price-sensitive customers away from your storefront.

A holistic defense against bots requires all affected parties to work together. The e-commerce team must share their requirements around customer experience in the midst of bot defense, and they should make the security team aware of upcoming events that could lead to an increase in bot traffic. Security, in turn, must share bot attack information with the e-commerce team and coordinate on defensive strategies. The three of us — Sandy Carielli, Andras Cser, and Sucharita Kodali — collaborated on the new “Q&A: Bot Management In Retail” research to help retailers and brands bridge the gap between the security and retail teams. For a spirited conversation we had on the issue, check out the nine-minute audio clip at the end of the report.