Concerns about identity theft are as old as the concept of owning property, but the internet age has made the situation much more pressing than it was in the past. It seems that hardly a week goes by without some massive breach of data from a retailer, healthcare provider or government agency. This has made consumers reasonably concerned about protecting their identity while they shop online. A recent study found that consumers expect retailers to do more to protect their identity online.
The constant stream of cyber threats have taken a toll on the trust people place in ecommerce. People are still willing to buy online, but they try to be more cautious. More than 90 percent of US and UK consumers are at least somewhat concerned about data privacy and how companies are using customer data.
The research is based on a study Gigya commissioned OnePoll to do. The researchers documented the perspectives of 4,000 adult consumers from the U.S. and the U.K. The study, which is conducted annually, examines consumer attitudes around data privacy, the prevalence of social login, and the importance of personalized marketing.
“Balancing data privacy while providing consumers with personalized experiences has always felt like somewhat of a paradox for marketers,” wrote Reeyaz Hamirani in a blog post on the Gigya website. “Though this balancing act may seem arduous, the variety of marketing technologies and data-driven strategies available today make it entirely possible.”
The 2015 State of Consumer Privacy & Personalization revealed an explosive growth in social login use. The benefits of using social logins is something discussed in a previous article on this site. They are convenient for consumers who are driven to use social logins by an aversion to completing lengthy registration forms and having to create more usernames and passwords. Using social logins is one way to keep people from falling out of the sales funnel.
The researchers also found that adoption of next-generation authentication methods is growing. There are now 59 percent of US consumers who acknowledge a willingness to register or log in to a website or mobile application with an existing identity from a payment provider such as PayPal or Amazon. Consumers trust these online brands, so it’s useful to retailers who want consumers to trust them.
Though this is of less use to business owners and marketers, it should be noted that biometric technologies are emerging as popular options for authentication. The study found that 41 percent of US consumers have a high level of comfort logging in to a site or mobile app using a thumbprint or face/eye scan. This is interesting since the increase is likely related to the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6, but smartphone fingerprint scanners are notoriously insecure. The report seems to suggest that some websites are using face and retinal scans as identification methods. If true, use isn’t widespread, but it may be something to keep an eye on.
The benefits of improving online for retailers are numerous. It protects the business owners from losses related to unauthorized payments, prevents embarrassing security breaches that make the business look bad (e.g. Target during Christmas 2014), and saves the business the expense of paying for identify protection for the victims of security breaches. Investing in better security for a retail site is necessary for protections of consumers and business owners.
For more information about internet security, read this article on the benefits of using HTTPS for retail sites.