Retailers and eCommerce companies are massive targets of various types of bot attacks, including denial of inventory, inventory hoarding, sniping, web scraping, fake site creation, fake account creation, and other types of bot-driven fraud.
Inventory hoarding refers to bots that add stock to their online basket, removing it from the system. Retail and eCommerce sites tend to have systems where items are removed from the stock counter when someone adds those items to an online shopping cart. As such, bots often add all the inventory of a given item to their basket, giving the illusion that no more exist. This means that legitimate customers are unable to purchase an in-demand product because it appears to be out of stock. As a result, they will likely go to a different store, costing you valuable sales – not to mention the annoyance of needing to fix the issue and reset the stock to ensure that the inventory is correct.
Adversaries or competitors of retail sites can leverage bots to steal content and replicate sites elsewhere. One of our retail customers had this happen to them, where the fraudster stole product listings from their site, set prices competitively lower, and sent counterfeit products to the end-customer, making a profit on every sale. This resulted in a loss of revenue for our customer as well as a tarnished brand reputation, which we helped them remediate once we were deployed to detect and stop these bad bots.