Blog / Machine learning

Lessons from our merchant conference

What we learned about risk, growth and fraud from an afternoon with e-commerce experts

Lessons from our merchant conference

Some months ago we decided to host a conference on how e-commerce businesses were coping with the challenges to growth that fraud and security can bring. The fraud solution world does not lack for conferences to be sure, but we felt that they suffer from a few issues.

  • They’re often boring
  • They’re expensive
  • They take too long
  • They are awash with people trying to sell and people trying to avoid being sold to
  • They’re unfocused

So we reasoned, what if we tried to create one that was not boring? What if we created a one afternoon event plus drinks in a nice location, free, with a single focus and interesting speakers. And no selling. Would anyone come?

Here’s a video we put together that will give you a flavour of the day itself.

You can also view and download the entire slide deck.

RavCon video

The 200 seats were completely filled on the day which was wonderful and speaks to the fact that there is an appetite out there for education delivered in the appropriate way. So what themes came up during the day?

We focused on the challenges to growth - that is, the challenges that leading businesses are facing today. To set the context we asked an academic, Dr Mike McGuire to talk about the ‘economy’ of fraud. Dr McGuire came to my attention through some interesting findings he has published .

Dr McGuire is new to commercially focused conferences but I hope will be invited to do more as it is surprising how fractured our view of the fraud threat can be. Merchants are aware of how fraud affects them, but less so about how those threats are financed and what else they finance. We discussed it on a podcast and you can see the full video as well. It’s worth your time.

Just Eat and eShopWorld shard insight into their individual business goals and journeys as well as the fraud challenges they face, and the steps they have taken to tackle them. Both businesses are Ravelin customers, but the focus was very much on them and not us. It was fascinating to hear about their real-world experiences that prove how important proper fraud detection strategies are for businesses that operate internationally.

The more global a company is the more strategic the fraud detection function is. You can watch the full eShopWorld presentation here and you can download the Just Eat slide deck here.

RavCon Panel Jagex, Just Eat, Green Man Gaming

This correlated with another of the event's themes - conversion. Attendees felt positive about the rise of the fraud team from being seen as the 'sales prevention officers' to company heroes! Well, almost. The event had a strong message about the fraud team's role in optimizing and enabling conversion rather than being seen as a blocker.

In a panel discussion I was fortunate to be joined by fraud luminaries Daniele from Green Man Gaming, Dave from Jagex and Lora from Just Eat. I discovered at the drinks reception that the panel was very well-received as it was unbiased and showed a range of different considerations and approaches to using machine learning for fraud.

The three participating businesses have very distinct approaches to fraud and use of machine learning, with Jagex even having their own proprietary machine learning tooling, Green Man Gaming using machine learning alongside a lot of manual review and Just Eat using Ravelin. It was great to hear about the different strengths, uses and limitations and share diverse ideas around technology with the audience - watch the whole panel here.

I should give special thanks to our hosts that for the event, Google Cloud. We are a proud partner/user of GCP and it is to their credit that they provide real value to their users in all sorts of ways. In this case allowing us to use their brand new conference facilities in 6 St Pancras was a real privilege and key to both driving attendance and a great experience on the day.

Tweet fraud journey

At the end of the event we went to a bar next door to Google. It was pleasing to see so many people wiling to give up their evening and it was a chance to mingle and network and carry on discussions into the evening. I hope this blog post gives you a flavour of the day and the resources are helpful. We have not scheduled a next event but if you want to register advance interest you can do so here.

Related content