Managing Duplicate ECommerce Orders

Duplicate orders are expensive to deal with and ECommerce merchants need to develop procedures to help them identify and prevent such orders from being processed in the first place. In a face-to-face transaction setting it is pretty easy to determine whether or not the transaction has been processed and the risk of a duplicate is minimal. Orders placed online, however, are susceptible to being duplicated, due to the fact that it sometimes takes a long time for the customer to receive an authorization response and he or she might do it all over again. Duplicate orders can lead to higher payment processing costs, as merchants will pay for every transaction that their merchant account provider processes, regardless of whether it is legitimate or not.

Moreover, merchants will have to spend extra time to identify the duplicate transactions and issue credits to the affected customers which all leads to additional expenses as well. Another unwanted side effect from duplicate transactions is the customer dissatisfaction that naturally results from having their credit card accounts billed twice for the same purchase. Cardholders may, in such cases, call their card issuer directly, instead of contacting the merchant and try to clear up the issue. They are likely to dispute the transaction, initiating a chargeback.

As you see there are plenty of reasons why you should implement controls to prevent customers from inadvertently submitting a transaction twice. You can use the following best practices to build your procedures around:

Require customers to make positive clicks on order selections, rather than hit the “Enter” key on their keyboard. In other words, have customers click on a “Submit” or a similar button.
Once the order has been submitted, display an “Order Being Processed” or a similar message.
Regularly check your orders for duplicates.
Send email messages to customers to confirm whether or not a duplicate order was intentional.