“Hello, give me your name, address, shoe size, motorcycle and boots.”
Now, we can all agree that approaching a first date like you’re the Terminator is not going to go very well. No one likes to be bombarded with personal questions as soon as they sit down — let alone by a stranger they’ve just met.
Yet this is how most brands approach those first moments of engagement with potential customers online. Most marketers don’t even think of the login box being a tool to woo consumers — it’s a functional tool owned by security teams in their eyes.
I’ve spent 20+ years working in marketing, including a number of B2B SaaS companies, and many teams rarely saw the login box as something that we could use to their advantage.
But what if marketers started to see the login box for what it really is: the ideal opportunity to not only help acquire customers, but retain and continue to drive conversions? And not just at the first click but throughout the whole journey?
That’s where customer identity, or the login box, comes in.
When it comes to building brand loyalty these days, it’s all about the digital experience being as frictionless as possible. That’s not news to you though. Every marketer has been chasing the elusive high of frictionless for years now, but it might be useful to outline a few examples of friction when it comes to customer identity.
An ugly registration box that asks the world of you. No customer wants to give you their phone number, state, and gender on the first sign-up.
Three pop-ups within a minute asking if you would be interested in a 10% discount in exchange for your email or mobile number.
Asking for customers to create an account just before a purchase.
Frustrated consumers can simply click the ‘x’ button on pop-ups in a split second, enter false data to get rid of the friction, or just abandon the whole process. It’s been shown, by Baymard Institute, 24% of customers abandon their cart at checkout when they’re required to create an account.
All of which leads to no conversions, brand love, or any real desire to repeat the process.
Firstly, you need to be very clear about your objectives. Are you trying to acquire a new customer, or are you furthering an existing relationship?
If you are looking to acquire, then you need to be totally focussed on that. You don’t need to see it as your one and only chance to find out EVERYTHING. You also need to be confident in giving your potential new customer some space.
For example, say you’re a streaming service and a customer has just clicked on one of your digital ads promoting the new must-see show. They land on the site and all they want to do is start watching. But then you want them to sign up instantly, and this means asking for their name, credit card details, date of birth, etc. Suddenly that impulsive click that brought them to your site has turned into a slog, and they may just give up.
So how about doing something a little different? You could just ask for their email in exchange for a 30-minute free trial. Then at the end, once they are hooked and have to find out what happens next, you can present the payment option.
This scenario is more enjoyable for the consumer, and actually increases the chance of sign-up. It just requires a little bit of patience and putting yourself in their shoes.
Another great feature of the modern login box when it comes to acquiring customers is social login.
We’ve established that people hate friction, but with security breaches becoming more and more prevalent, there’s been a shift towards how the average consumer views brands that suffer data breaches. Security Magazine reported 78% of customers stop engaging with a brand online following a security breach, which has meant a hesitancy with giving details to a new or unfamiliar brand.
One solution to both the friction and security concerns is the use of social logins. This allows for a brand to allow a customer to sign-up and then authenticate themselves using credentials from another brand — Facebook, Apple, or Twitch for example. This is a good thing for the consumer: they already trust a brand such as Apple, and so are more likely to trust logging in with that option.
Social logins also offer an opportunity for brands who wish to make their own identity a social login. For example, a retailer might create its own social login, then allow a brand such as Converse to use that on their site. Customers could then log in and purchase the shoes on Converse’s site, but using the retailer’s credentials.
Not only does this help increase brand loyalty since consumers associate the social login brand with a seamless authentication process, but it also helps improve personalization, as consumer behaviors can be tracked and learned from across multiple online properties. The retailer now understands how its customers are acting across the whole web, not just on retailer’s site.
But how else can you personalize the experience of your customers without freaking them out?
Once you have acquired a new customer, the next goal is to show that you understand them and provide more personalized recommendations and engagements. This is where progressive profiling comes in.
Progressive profiling basically means learning about your customers slowly and with their full consent. To go back to the dating analogy, it’s about asking questions over a few dates and not demanding a life story within the first few minutes. For example, say you’re a shoe seller: after a customer has visited your website a few times, you can build in a question to the login process that asks, “what shoe size are you?”. This can then be used to personalize the experience and only show shoes that are in stock in that size. Research by Aritic PinPoint has shown that this approach can result in up to a 20% increase in conversion rates.
But why not just do this on the first visit?
Because it’s intrusive. Why should a customer share something like that when they just want to take a quick look at some shoes? They have no affinity or love for your brand yet, so demanding they share something personal like their shoe size is expecting a lot of them early on.
I know I’ve used the dating analogy a lot in this piece, but it’s because there’s so many similarities to how brands can charm customers.
You need to take it slow, but not so slow that they think you’re not interested. You also need to show your date that you remember them the second time, rather than asking, “who are you again?”. In login terms, this would mean introducing biometric login for a repeat visitor to make it easier for them by allowing them to sign-in with Face ID or their fingerprint.
So take advantage of what the login box and customer identity can actually do for you. It’s not just an annoyance to get past, or a security checklist, but a powerful tool that can do a whole lot more for you than it’s probably doing right now.
Want actionable insights to improve performance on your consumer app? Put your login experience to the test with our free assessment: https://www.okta.com/form/customer-identity-assessment/