April 24, 2003, 12:00 AM

Barewalls’ overseas fraud checks become a CRM tool

As its foreign sales grow, Barewalls.com is finding that its manual efforts to verify orders pays off--not just in halting fraud but in customer relations as well.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

As its foreign sales grow, Barewalls.com is finding that its manual efforts to verify orders pays off--not just in halting fraud but in customer relations as well. "People are happy to hear that we get confirmation to assure there`s no fraud involved," CEO Lorne Lieberman tells InternetRetailer.com.

The extra care Barewalls gives to checking fraud--which includes calling some customers overseas to confirm their personal information--supports the e-retailer`s success in growing sales in foreign markets, where fraudulent use of credit cards can be higher than in the U.S., experts say. About 15-20% of Barewalls`s overall sales are to overseas customers, maintaining a fairly steady 5-7% increase in international sales in recent years, Lieberman says.

He adds that foreign customers tend to buy in larger quantities than do U.S. shoppers. "We noticed our international customers always order more, probably because they can`t get it locally," he says.

Barewalls helps drive international sales by advertising on other web sites that attract foreign shoppers, such as travel and foreign language sites. It also offers a standard shipping fee of $29 for all international shipments other than unusually large orders, and has designed a shopping cart with common symbols that explain its usage. "We try to make them feel comfortable," he says.

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