Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

First Impressions: Consumers are still being let down by poor login experiences

Steven Rees-Pullman, SVP International, Auth0

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And things are no different in the world of ecommerce. Online retailers rely on the appeal, consistency, and effectiveness of their website and app to attract new business and build lasting relationships with existing customers. All too often the login box, the first buying interaction customers have online, lets them down. That can hurt retailers, as customers abandoning their online carts represents lost business that may never be recovered.

Clunky or insecure logins impact the entire online shopping experience and can jeopardise sales. So much so, that UX stats reveal that 88 per cent of online shoppers wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience.

That places a considerable burden of responsibility on online retailers to provide the right sort of experience for their customers. Yet, despite this, a recent YouGov/Auth0 survey of businesses and consumers in the APAC and EMEA regions discovered a huge disconnect between what consumers and businesses think of login methods.

Login processes lead to cart abandonment

The research reveals that more than 8 in 10 consumers (83 per cent) abandon their shopping cart or registration attempt due to a complex login process. Rather tellingly, while 85 per cent of businesses admit that potential customers abandon their cart or sign-up process, a quarter (25 per cent) think it’s unlikely a customer will abandon their services because of the sign-up process, and a third (35 per cent) think it’s unlikely login processes are the cause of abandonments.

Clearly, businesses underestimate the impact a poor login or sign-up experience has on cart abandonment. What’s more, the research also exposes a huge gap between consumer expectations of login methods and what businesses are offering. It tells us that about half of consumers (49 per cent) are frustrated by long login and sign-up forms. Despite this, only 45 per cent of surveyed businesses allow consumers to sign up for their app in one minute or less, and about one in five (21 per cent) say the login process for returning customers takes more than one minute.

Customers want a range of ways to prove their identity

The simplicity and speed of sign-up and login is important. Shoppers don’t want to be slowed down while trying to complete their purchases. Security is also a priority as cyber-savvy customers become ever more attuned to the value of their data and the repercussions of it being breached. The study found that consumers want greater choice in login technologies, and actively seek them out. Nearly half surveyed, for example, say they are more likely to sign up to an app or online service if a company offers multi-factor authentication (MFA). Other in-demand login options included Single Sign-On (SSO) that uses a single ID and password for multiple related services, followed closely by those that demand biometrics and passwordless.

MFA, biometrics, and SSO provide secure means for customers to register with and sign in to services without adding too much friction to the process. Yet, most businesses don’t offer these login options, despite the demand. While 45 per cent of businesses surveyed do offer SSO capabilities, less than a third (28 per cent) offer MFA, and fewer still biometrics (21 per cent) and passwordless (20 per cent). In fact, across the surveyed markets, one in 10 IT and marketing decision-makers said they don’t offer any of these login technologies.

The login opportunity

Right now, retailers have a big opportunity to optimise their customers’ login experiences to promote loyalty, protect online transactions, and provide insight into customer choices, navigation journeys, and buying patterns. By knowing and understanding customer behaviour, retailers gain the means to personalise the shopping experience for each individual.

What’s more, today’s consumers expect their go-to brands to know how, what, and when they buy, their shopping history, and information such as delivery details. Retailers that intelligently, and securely, gather this data and use it to tailor online journeys encourage repeat visits.

But we must pause here because data is not a one-way street. It’s here that retailers must enter into a social contract with their customers, to use their data only in specific ways, and to treat it with the same seriousness and care that the individuals themselves do.

At the end of the day, retail customers are human beings, and the management of digital identities is an opportunity to demonstrate a baseline respect for their information. Simple changes like implementing progressive profiling that enables users to provide information over time, as they log into your app, can go a long way toward building trust and transparency.

The log in box is more than a functional step in a transaction. Approached with the mindset of providing effective customer identity and access management (CIAM), it can be a powerful way to provide an easy, frictionless, and secure way for customers to access the online services that retailers offer.

The questions, who are you, and what can you access are as relevant as they’ve ever been. Yet arguably, the login box is seldom the first place executives look to build customer loyalty and retention. The data serves to suggest that perhaps now is the time to start.