February 20, 2012
The online registration page has always been a necessary evil. Despite the obvious need to collect customer information online, 11% of US adults have previously abandoned an online purchase either because they didn't want to register online or the site they were visiting was asking for too much information. Many websites make it downright difficult to register, with seemingly endless input fields, complex password requirements and even annoying captchas all conspiring to make the process of buying online incredibly frustrating. To put this in context, a retailer with $200m of annual online revenues could be leaving a further $22m on the table simply due to the complexity of the registration step in their checkout process. But this is old news. For years eBusiness professionals have obsessed with optimizing the registration process, using A/B and multivariate testing to try and find the right balance between collecting enough customer information and exasperating their customers.
However, the days of optimizing the registration process may be fast coming to an end. In fact the playbook on customer registration tactics is being completely rewritten as a new and increasingly familiar button takes hold across the web:
Welcome to the era of "Social Authentication". No longer must customers fill in yet another registration form and create yet another password. With social authentication, users simply identify themselves through their favorite social network or email provider via a single mouse click. In my latest research report "Using Facebook Login To Your Advantage" I take a closer look at why social login is gaining popularity among consumers and the reasons behind the adoption of this technology by leading online retailers, media firms and consumer brands like Sears, Groupon, Netflix and Nike.
Social authentication also makes life easier for customers that return to the same site over and over again. In today's world, many users are already logged into Facebook, Google or Twitter when they visit a third party website or online store, which in turn, means they can be automatically treated as authenticated users. The social identity providers guarantee the identity of the user, leaving eBusiness professionals free to concentrate on delivering a highly contextual and personalization online experience. Furthermore, in my report I discuss the other tactical and strategic reasons for implementing social authentication options as well as taking a look at the common concerns that eBusiness professional have around privacy and ownership of the customer relationship.