Portero Luxury launched in 2004 as an online marketplace for consumers looking for pre-owned or rare luxury items. Based in New York City, Portero’s inventory includes the world’s most recognizable fashion designers such as Chanel, Hermes, and Bulgari. In an industry where consumers expect quality, the company sources every article from vetted suppliers and has live chat representatives available on their website to provide quick and accessible customer support.
We interviewed Alexis Clarbour, Director of Portero, who shared her tips for building a strong brand, optimizing customer experience, and combatting fraud. Clarbour also spoke about the substantial positive impact the company’s partnership with Riskified has had on its acceptance rate of international transactions.
What advice do you wish you would have received before launching your online store or expanding your online business internationally?
The best advice I ever received was from a mentor of mine who said, “no one is going to remember a year later if you were a day or week late when launching an initiative. What they will remember is if the project was not completed properly.” So, take your time, test, and pay attention to the details.
Do you have any other general advice for retailers looking to build and strengthen their brand?
I think it is important to remember your brand’s mission statement, as it maintains the brand’s core values. Ours is called the Portero promise which is: “It’s our mission to help you get the most out of luxury.” Portero respects the brands we serve. We guarantee the authenticity and condition of all merchandise. We ensure the highest level of service and security. That’s our promise. And we don’t take it lightly. This statement is on every page of our website. It guides all of our decision making from the suppliers we use to the people we hire to work at Portero.
you will never stray far off from
the brand’s identity and strength.”
What steps do you recommend taking to provide an optimal shopping experience for online customers?
Beyond merchandising and marketing tactics, it really comes down to excellent customer service. With customers who spend on average $2,000 per transaction on pre-owned items, it is our responsibility to build trust, reliability, and provide the best quality merchandise in the marketplace. It’s vital that when a customer calls to talk about a specific product that we have a professional, knowledgeable person they can speak to. It goes a long way with our clients.
What was the biggest challenge you experienced as an eCommerce merchant?
One of our biggest challenges as an eCommerce merchant was fraudulent transactions. I used to say before Riskified our customer service team could work for the FBI. They would go through a number of steps to vet the order and customer. They did a fantastic job but they weren’t perfect and unfortunately when we did get hit with fraud it could be very costly.
What do you think was your “lowest” moment in dealing with fraudsters, or most frustrating fraud-related problem?
After our last holiday season, we had one particular incident where our customer service team had lengthy conversations with a “customer”, who acted as if the item they were purchasing was a special gift for their wife. The “customer” wanted it sent to an alternate address, as it was meant to be a surprise. It was clear how sophisticated fraudulent transactions had become when six weeks following this “customer” interaction, we were hit with a significant chargeback. That’s when we decided we needed help, and found Riskified.
Portero and Riskified
Portero Luxury’s fraud prevention strategy once included costly, time-consuming internal manual review. The company even went so far as to ask customers placing high value orders to pay via bank wire transfer. Due to the serious drawbacks of these order validation methods, Portero decided to reevaluate how it handled risky orders.
In the Spring of 2015, Portero implemented Riskified’s Shop Protection service. Today, all incoming orders are reviewed, approved, and guaranteed by Riskified, taking the burden of decision-making off Portero’s shoulders. Riskified helps Portero avoid chargebacks and simultaneously provides short fraud review turnaround times. Thanks to Riskified’s high accuracy rates and frictionless fraud review process, Portero Luxury’s legitimate customers are never falsely turned away or inconvenienced, and enjoy a quick and easy shopping experience.
With Riskified, Portero Luxury no longer needs to divert resources away from its core business and can expand confidently to all markets without fearing chargebacks.