Everything about American luxury leather goods company Ghurka is linked to heritage – the company is named after the famously brave brigades of Nepalese soldiers who served in the British military, and the company still manufacturers bags by hand in its original Connecticut facility. However, the US-based retailer, founded in 1975, has managed to stay ahead of the times, with flagship stores in trendy New York City and San Francisco locations and a successful online store catering to both domestic and international customers.

We interviewed Justin Sellman, VP of eCommerce and Wholesale at Ghurka, who shared his tips for building a strong brand and optimizing consumer experience.


Based on your experience, what steps do you recommend taking to
provide an optimal shopping experience for customers online?

“Our goal at Ghurka is to create an experience in which our customers are able to find the product for which they’re looking, to be introduced to exciting new products, to transact easily, and to receive their product when and as they expected it.  The rest is the icing on the cake.”


Where do you go to learn about new technologies and tools relevant
to eCommerce and/or fraud prevention?

“In addition to trade publications, I get a lot of information from my marketing and development agencies by asking them about what they see working for other clients.  Additionally, you can imagine I get a lot of inbound solicitation that I filter for good opportunities.”


You have a strong brand. What tips do you have for other retailers
looking to build and strengthen their brand?

“It all starts with the product.  If a customer purchases a product that wows them, they will come back. Over time, that repeated action is what builds a strong brand.”


Ghurka bags

“If a customer purchases a product that wows them, they will come back.”


Almost every business gets hit with fraud. What was your “lowest”
moment or most frustrating fraud-related problem?

“The holiday time was especially difficult. We were transitioning teams and hadn’t
put Riskified fully in place.”


What is your favorite fraud-related story or anecdote?
The funniest fraud attempt you’ve come across?

“I am amazed at the audacity of those perpetrating fraud.  After orders have been declined through Riskified, we sometimes get follow-up phone calls from fraudsters checking on their orders.  A team effort with Riskified helps us to understand the reasons for which the orders were declined in the midst of the persistence.“


What was the biggest challenge you experienced as an
eCommerce merchant and what was some useful advice you received?

“Analyzing each part of the user experience in depth and knowing how your site is viewed by Google and other search engines are two pieces of advice that I was happy to have received from trusted partners.”


Ghurka and eCommerce Fraud Management

Ghurka does not have dedicated fraud management personnel, and for a while the operations and customer service teams were tasked with handling suspect orders. Unfortunately, the brand soon started incurring fraud-related chargebacks. Ghurka sought a solution that would help avoid fraud while maintaining a frictionless customer experience and high approval rates.

Ghurka became a Riskified customer in May 2014. At first, the company utilized custom automatic rules to determine which orders were submitted to Riskified for review – based on criteria such as the shipping address, AVS match, and the order’s value. Unfortunately, fraudsters managed to “beat” those rules and Ghurka continued to incur chargebacks.

Today, Ghurka is fully automated with Riskified’s Shop Protection plan – and has implemented auto-fulfillment to streamline the entire order processing flow. With Riskified, Ghurka has managed to eliminate both the cost of fraud-related chargebacks and the stress of reviewing incoming orders for fraud.