How to Combat Abandonment with Social Sign-On

Requiring separate registration hurts conversion and engagement

Retailers and web publishers know users don’t like creating a new account at every site they visit. But it could be costing them big in terms of completed purchases or other engagement metrics if they force users to fill out forms.

A survey conducted by Blue Research on behalf of Janrain, a provider of social login and sharing solutions, found that just 25% of web users will simply complete a new registration process when a site requires it. The rest would consider leaving or avoiding the site if possible, and most would not return.

US Online Buyers

Even when users do register at a site, more than three in four say they have given incomplete or incorrect information rather than share personal data with each website. This reduces the value of registrations for retailers and other websites, but companies have the change to regain that value through other means—a single login that users can bring along with them.

“With social sign-on, retailers have access to richer profile information because the data elements collected on social networks are more extensive than what web retailers request from customers registering on their sites,” noted eMarketer principal analyst Jeffrey Grau in the report “Social Commerce: Personalized and Collaborative Shopping Experiences.”

About two-thirds of respondents said they thought websites should offer social sign-on, defined as the ability to log in using an account from a social network or email provider. Internet users preferred social sign-on to using a guest account as well as creating a new one.

US Online Buyers Who Think Sites Should Offer Social Sign-In, Dec 2010 (% of respondents)

And fans of social sign-on may be more desirable customers than average. The survey found they were more likely than critics of social sign-on to be planning increases in holiday spending, and they also indicated they would be doing more of that holiday shopping online.

“Another benefit is that the registration information on a retail site can grow stale,” said Grau. However, as Kamran Lotfi, director of product management at PowerReviews, told eMarketer, people frequently visit Facebook to update their profile and add fresh information about their likes and preferences, further adding to the benefits of social sign-on for ecommerce and beyond.

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