Study: Shoppers Increasingly Seek Online Convenience Without Sacrificing Security
In the wake of the pandemic, retailers need to create better online experiences or risk losing customers to competitors that can. However, these enhanced user experiences cannot come at the expense of lesser security.
Those are some of the findings from a new study of more than 3,400 consumers worldwide about their login and account creation experiences, their attitudes about online safety and convenience, and their control over their personal information online.
The research suggests that retail executives need to understand that post-pandemic consumers want frictionless online experiences without sacrificing the security of their personal information if they want to keep them happy and coming back for more. Troublingly, despite the digital transformation organizations underwent during the pandemic, many retailers still underdeliver consumer expectations for convenience.
Friction during account creation and login were among the biggest challenges consumers mentioned. The study found that 61 percent would quickly leave and go to a competitor if that retailer provided an easier login experience. Nearly the same amount (59 percent) have already abandoned an online experience when the login experience became too frustrating. And most troubling for the retail industry — just 37 percent of consumers said their typical login experience was an efficient, enjoyable one.
Above all else, consumers want ultimate convenience with enhanced protection. For example, consumers increasingly feel more comfortable with retailers that use multi-factor authentication (MFA) at login, with 63 percent indicating they feel better about MFA, an increase from 53 percent last year. MFA typically requires consumers to verify their identities using one-time passwords, texts, secret questions, or biometrics. MFA is particularly effective against fraud that consumers may experience from account takeovers.
Social media and email are also favored approaches. More than half (59 percent) of consumers feel more in control of their online information when using social media or email accounts to log in. And the same amount said they would prefer to use those mechanisms if they had superior security.
Digital IDs are another area that retail executives should consider embracing. A digital ID is a validated digital credential for the online world containing personally identifiable information, which could include anything from a person’s driver’s license, passport, or social security number to biometric data, financial accounts, and login credentials. In addition to the convenience consumers gain, digital IDs offer retailers the opportunity to provide greater personalization and deliver more tailored experiences to their online shoppers.
The research found that 43 percent of consumers are comfortable with the idea of a digital identity card that stores all their personal information securely and allows them to share it electronically. But they want to “own” it. Nearly half (46 percent) prefer to keep a digital ID card on a personal device rather than in the cloud.
Lastly, retailers need to understand the impact that fraud plays when consumers choose to do business with them. The study found that 43 percent of consumers have experienced fraud as a result of having personal information stolen online. More than half (53 percent) of consumers who have experienced fraud are more cautious about revealing information, while one-third look for businesses that use MFA or other alternative ways to log in. And with three-quarters (77 percent) of consumers feeling that they will never be fully in control of their personal information online, the retailers that help consumers feel more in control of their personal data will position themselves for a more successful, secure future.
Modern consumers seem to disagree with the old proverb: you can’t have your cake and eat it too. In fact, they desire, and in many cases demand, the convenience of frictionless experiences with the comfort of knowing their data is secure and not being used fraudulently. They're willing to abandon brands to have better experiences elsewhere, while simultaneously trying not to be victimized. Consumer appetite is evolving with (invisible) security top of mind, and businesses have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by allowing consumers to have their security “cake” and eat it through exceptional and frictionless experiences.
Aubrey Turner is an executive advisor at PingIdentity, the intelligent identity solution for the enterprise.
Aubrey Turner has extensive background successfully delivering strategic, enterprise cyber security solutions to Fortune 1000 companies that addresses business problems, strengthens organizations, reduces risk and delivers positive business outcomes. Aubrey has demonstrated rapport and consensus building with key stakeholders. Additionally, he has proven leadership, communication, management, collaboration and sales skills.