You clicked on this blog because you must be loving the horde of new orders and subscribers on your Shopify store, right? 

I mean, maybe. 

But are they all real? Chances are you actually clicked here for another reason. Likely one of two things:

  1. You checked your abandoned checkout section in Shopify, your Cart Activity Monitor in Consistent Cart or your email signups, and you noticed an influx in abandoned checkouts and messages. 
  2. You’ve heard of this happening, and want to proactively defend your store against Bots.

If you’ve gone through the basics of why you might be seeing more abandoned checkouts or more fraudulent orders, you might have a bot problem.

Before everyone panics and assumes the robots are finally taking over (my Google Home assures me this won’t happen, if that’s any consolation), let's go over what I mean by bots. 

These are not robots, or artificial intelligence, but automated computer programs designed to detect signup form code on your website. 

Realistically, a handful of these signups won’t hurt. However, a lot of false information can seriously skew your data and make it difficult to grow your business.  Here’s how: 

They make your email marketing go to spam

A large number of bot signups (with real addresses) will usually send your newsletters straight to the spam folder. That doesn’t really matter, except this can trigger your subscribers’ email service providers to mark all your customer contact as spam, so these subscribers won’t read your emails.

They kill your Data

Fake signups = Fake News.  

Your open and click through rates will plummet, which can seriously impact your ROI. Especially if you pay for your outreach per email subscriber. 

Your customer profile goes out the window.

If your audience isn’t real, how can your profile of them be? How can you accurately use your customer insights to expand your customer base and create ads when many of your “customers” are fake?  With bot signups, it can feel impossible to know.

Let’s say you sell ukuleles mostly geared to a specific location, like Ontario, Canada. An influx of these spammy contacts could be coming from the United States (53.4 percent of all bad bot traffic comes from the United States). This data could lead you to switch up your target audience.

Bot contacts don’t convert or interact with your brand, so marketing to them could mean a lot of lost time and money.

But Who’s Who?

It can be really difficult to separate the spam from the real deal. Generally you can tell the fakes from a few details though: 

  1. The email address is a name, but something is off about it. 
  2. The first and last name fields are filled, but are different from the name in the email address.

These aren’t the orders you’re looking for.

If the bots are making a purchase, there is a possibility that the intent is to create a chargeback to get free items from your store. 

Shopify does offer a pretty good fraud protection built in, but you can also opt for an additional app. Some suggestions would be: 

  1. NoFraud
  2. Fraud Scanner
  3. Fraud Filter (free!)

Otherwise, If you’re more technically skilled, the simplest solution for your real customers is to add a hidden field to your checkout form. Through the HTML, you can disable submission if anything gets imputed in the hidden field. 

This works because bots fill out every field, every time.Your real customers can't enter information into a field they can't see, so anyone filling this field in won’t be real.

You could also consider harnessing the power of Google Analytics to help with the situation. If you can analyze where these bots are coming from, you can use a geo-blocker apps from the Shopify app store and turn the site down in that region. This should curb the bot activity. 

If you’re still having trouble after all this, it’s time to call in the Pros.  I would definitely recommend working with Shopify support to get the IP banned from your store.  

A final note

Just keep in mind that spam happens. It’s great to get out ahead of it, but you’ll likely never stop it completely.  Just ensure it isn't hurting your customers or your data, and you're golden!