July 3, 2003, 12:00 AM

GoodGuys.com reports increased business through Verified by Visa

After getting off to a slow start, GoodGuys.com`s participation in the Verified by Visa secure payments program is not only catching on with customers but also bringing in new business, the retailer says.

After seeing little activity during its first several months of operation, the Verified by Visa password-driven secure payments program in place at consumer electronics retailer GoodGuys.com is becoming popular with shoppers and generating new customers, Joseph Parker, GoodGuys.com’s manager of loss prevention, tells InternetRetailer.com. "In the last month, it`s really picked up," he says. "It`s absolutely bringing us new customers."

GoodGuys.com started participating in Visa U.S.A.`s Verified by Visa system about eight months ago, but saw little participation by shoppers for the first several months, Parker says. But participation began increasing two months ago, and now 35-40% of orders are processed with the Verified by Visa system. Although he`s unable to explain the recent rise in customer participation, he notes that customer surveys and direct e-mail feedback have all pointed to positive customer experiences. GoodGuys.com operates as a separate entity from the Good Guys Inc. chain of retail stores.

"I`ve never had any negative feedback," Parker says. "Customers say they feel safer shopping with us knowing their card is protected. It makes their lives easier and it makes our lives easier."

Participation in the Verified by Visa program requires consumers to use a password registered with their credit card issuer during online checkout. When a registered shopper reaches online checkout, she`s prompted by a pop-up window to enter her password as assurance that she`s the true cardholder. If the card issuer authorizes a Verified by Visa payment, the merchant is free of any fraud-related liability.

Although some retailers and analysts have expressed concern that the password-entry process could turn off consumers and lead to increased checkout abandonment rates, Parker says GoodGuys.com hasn`t seen any negative impact on its sales conversion rate. He notes that the process takes about 30 seconds or less for the typical shopper, and that if a shopper forgets her password, she can either opt out of the Verified by Visa process and continue with the purchase transaction or contact Visa for a new password.

GoodGuys.com has not promoted the Verified by Visa program, Parker says. He adds, however, that GoodGuys.com has not yet decided whether it would also participate in the similar SecureCode program from MasterCard International.

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