Web Design Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Chargebacks


As web designers, our main goal is to make each client’s web presence as dynamic as possible.

For the clients themselves though, the success of their website relies on cold hard cash. If the website isn’t bringing in business and generating profits, it is not doing its job.

In order for our clients and our designs to succeed, we must find ways to not only make their businesses money, but help them hold onto it.

There is risk involved in any e-commerce business, especially when they operate solely online. Sometimes, simple changes can greatly decrease a company’s risk of fraudulent activity and chargebacks, which can greatly increase the size of their bank accounts.

What Are Chargebacks & Why Do We Care?

As designers, we focus on making graphics pop and slogans zing! However, we should probably also be aware of the aspects of an e-commerce business that can affect the company’s bottom line.

One of those areas is the company’s risk of chargebacks. Chargebacks affect all online merchants negatively.

Chargebacks occur when customers have an issue with a purchase, but requests a refund from their bank instead of the merchant. This is just a simple definition of chargebacks. If you’d like more information on a very complex issue, check this site. Chargeback prevention tips come in all shapes and sizes; what we’ve listed here is just the tip of the iceberg.

Customers file chargebacks for any number of reasons. Sometimes the customer was a victim of credit card fraud. Other times, friendly fraud takes place. Customers set out to steal from the merchant by keeping the product and getting their money back anyways. And, a lot of chargebacks are filed because the customer is unhappy with some aspect of their purchase and want an easy refund.

In this article, Monica Eaton-Cardone explained the practice of friendly fraud. The repercussions of illegitimate chargebacks are terrifying.

If customers contact the bank that issued them their credit card and tell the bank they have a valid reason to receive a refund, the money is automatically taken back from the merchant’s bank account and given to the customer.

Chargebacks were created to protect customers from credit card fraud and deceptive merchants. However, customers sometimes file chargebacks simply because they want to.

This misuse of the chargeback can cost merchants not only the price of the product or service, but a fee as well. By doing everything they can to prevent chargebacks from being filed, merchants can retain profits and satisfy customers. This is where we come in.

How Can We Help Our Clients Prevent Chargebacks?

There are four ways you can help your clients reduce the risk of chargebacks.

1. Honest Advertising

One way many online businesses try to edge out the competition is by offering specials. Sales, deals, and trial periods attract buyers who may have otherwise clicked elsewhere.

While the deals offered are the business’s game plan, how they are presented can cause them to either strike out or bring it home.

If a business is offering a great deal or sale on their website, we must ensure that the promises we make are accurate:

  • If the special is presented as being completely free, but there are hidden fees tucked into the fine print, consumers will feel betrayed.
  • If an advert is offering a discounted product, but is really only for a travel sized version, the customer will feel tricked.
  • If a “free trial” graphic claims to offer 30 days free, but only gives the customer two weeks before they are charged, they will feel lied to.

All of the above examples can result in customers filing chargebacks.

By honestly and accurately describing the specials being offered, we can enable businesses to not only attract but satisfy customers.

Make the terms of the sale or special as clear as possible. If there are time restraints, make them prominent. If there are requirements, make them straightforward and clear. If there are exceptions, don’t reduce font size and hide them at the bottom. Help customers clearly understand the deal being offered. If customers feel tricked, they will want revenge.

2. Accurate Descriptions

Speaking of honesty, all of the products and services must be honestly represented.

This goes for both product descriptions and images:

  • If something comes in different sizes, list measurements for each size. If the business is selling clothing or shoes, include a size chart with international sizing.
  • Specify materials, ingredients, and components. If a shirt is 100% cotton, say that. If a supplement includes ten different ingredients, list them with percentages. Customers will appreciate the details.
  • Include images of every color the product is offered in, including a disclaimer that colors vary depending on screen resolution. Customers do not want to be surprised when they open the box.
  • Make product and service descriptions as thorough and complete as possible. When the customer reads the description they should be able to picture the exact product they are ordering.
  • Only use photographs of the actual product, not a stock photo of something similar. Include close up shots of details and texture.

Every aspect of the sale should be described thoroughly and accurately.

If customers feel like what they received was not what they were sold, they will file chargebacks. Do not oversell the quality of the product. Sell the product at hand, and sell it accurately.

3. Easy Access

Make the website as user friendly as you possibly can. Your goal should be that your 18 year old daughter, your 40 year old husband, and your 80 year old father all found it incredibly easy to navigate the site.

Do not make purchasing more complicated than it needs to be. Allow the customer to quickly choose the size, color, and quantity of the product. If the business you are designing for sells a service, make specifying the details as simple as you can.

Simplicity is key. Navigating different areas of the website should be simple. Allow the customers to easily find the return and exchange information. This information is crucial in preventing chargebacks. If the customer feels like they won’t be able to receive an easy refund from the business, they will go over their heads. Do not hide anything that a customer may want to find. Allow them to view and review their cart as much as they please.

Easy access to the business’s contact information is also vital in preventing chargebacks. By including the customer service phone numbers and email addresses on every page of the website, you’re allowing customers easy access to the business. We desperately want the customer to contact the business instead of their bank.

Also, make a specific page for contact information. On this page, include absolutely everything a confused customer might want. Don’t forget the physical address of the business and even a live chat widget. If it is simple and easy to contact the company for help, there is no reason the customer will ignore it.

4. Clear Cut Policies

While we want the check out process to be quick and easy, we also need it to be thorough. Make sure the business is requiring customers to not only enter their name and payment card number, but also a billing address, expiration date, and security (CVV) code. The customer should not be able to complete the transaction without all of the necessary information.

Before the purchase goes through, allow the customer to review their purchase and triple check the information entered. That way, if something is wrong, it is not at the fault of the merchant.

If there are terms and conditions involved in a purchase, do not let the customer leave the page without confirming their comprehension. This is important for any and all merchants who are selling free trial products or recurring subscriptions. These businesses are live bait for chargebacks, and the terms and conditions pages can be their saving grace. By making customers sign their names or check a specific box, we can help ensure that they understand the purchase.

Clearly state delivery and shipping policies. If a customer won’t be charged until the product has shipped, tell them that. If they will be charged the day of the purchase, make that clear. Every business has different policies when it comes to shipping, but customers may not realize that. Make it as clear as possible when the delivery should arrive. Give a range of dates during which the customers can expect the product or service. Don’t make any promises that the business may not be able to keep.

If a product is delivered digitally, make the retrieval process as clearly explained as possible. Customers want instant satisfaction. If the directions are too complicated, they will become fed up before they can even enjoy the product.

Use Your Best Judgment.

When it comes down to it, we are all consumers. We know which websites we find easy to navigate and which ones we find confusing.

Use your best judgment not only as a designer, but as a customer. Would you understand the company policies if this was your first time visiting the site? If so, great! If not, work with it a little bit until you would. Nothing needs to be too complicated.

Our main goal here is to make money for our clients and help them hold on to it. If a customer files a chargeback, we want to ensure that it was because someone stole their credit card, and not because they were confused during the purchase.

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