Tuning out on signing in

Most e-Commerce sites whether purveyors of goods or services, urge visitors to sign-in regardless of intent to purchase. That has long been a turn-off for many as limited time and attention spans caused them to vault to someplace else. In September last year  Gigya.com a software company that develops "technology that makes websites social" in conjunction with Edge Research a strategic market research firm released a report entitled "the Value of Social Sign-On and the Registered User”.  The study/survey underscored the importance of "registered users" and the benefits of social sign-on for both retailers and publishers on the web. Arguably, those benefits extend to just about any eCommerce site including airlines and hotels.

The Gigya/Edge survey foresaw that nearly 75% of companies expect social sign-ins to have a positive effect on the bottom line. A majority of respondents to the survey noted that signed-in visitors are more likely to be loyal and engaged than those that were not. More compelling is the fact that these users spread the word virally (and freely) about their experience. Another elusive and sought after quality of signed-in shoppers was loyalty enabling the building and solidifying of customer relationships as these visitors tend to spend more time on the site. That further enables custom developed content and in that context the recent beta testing by Google of Google Offers can only make the search giant's latest offering more potent.

A more recent study by Janrain a company that has a user management platform for the social web and market researcher Blue Research affirmed that three out of four consumers who use social networking sites say "they would rather leave a site that requires that they register in order to access that site than comply". A striking finding from the recent survey is that "76 percent of consumers said they have purposely given inaccurate or incomplete information when required to register for a site, and 45 percent have left a website rather than reset passwords or answer security questions when they have forgotten their login information" and, unsurprisingly, notes that "consumers are more likely to return to a site that automatically recognizes them by 55 percent to 20 percent".

Both the Gigya/Edge survey and that of the more recent one by Janrain/Blue focused on retailers who clearly gain the most by employing a user management platform that enables social sign-in but its absence in the service industries calls for an immediate re-look as the benefits for garnering new customers and returning customers is likely to be equally substantive.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.