January 25, 2023

How to improve checkout conversion and customer retention with mobile digital identity

Paul McGuire
Co-founder, CEO at tru.ID

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e-Commerce firms often find themselves in a Catch-22 situation when it comes to checkout policy. 

On one hand, data suggest guest checkouts remove login friction and improve conversion rates: apparently, 25% of baskets are abandoned when people are forced to create an account before buying, according to a study from Baymard. And speed is a major factor, with 28% of people expecting checkouts to be done in two minutes or less, according to Capterra.

On the other hand, the costs of digital advertising continue to surge (between 14% and 185% depending on the platform). Tightening data protection laws and privacy-first policies further restrict how marketers operate, making strong first-party customer data even more valuable. 

On top of that, there’s the added incentive of building permission-based customer loyalty to drive repeat purchases… how could you not seek permission to re-contact a former customer? As we all know, it’s easier to sell to people who have bought from you before than people who haven’t.

Now, retailers no longer have to make this trade-off. Instead, they can use the same seamless and secure mobile digital identity technology used by mobile phone networks – identifying and verifying who we are, every time we switch on our phones. And as mobile-first e-Commerce only continues to rise, now is the time to make the change.

Rising mobile-based e-Commerce leads to more guest checkouts

I spoke to the Product Owner of a large online platform business recently – and his experience shows how online retail has changed. An industry leader in a multi-billion-dollar sector, over the last two years his company has seen a dramatic transition in the way customers choose to check out. 

Originally, the business’s traffic was entirely desktop-based, but today 95% of their transactions take place on a mobile device. This increases further when you consider leads and referrals from paid-social ads on mobile-first platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

As a result, over 80% of their customers no longer register for an account; they simply check out as a guest. This may be an extreme case, but most retailers are seeing these trends.

This overwhelming preference for guest checkout is a major problem for both retailers and their customers. Without the certainty of a signed-up customer, retailers miss out on valuable data and marketing opportunities, while customers miss out on the streamlined purchasing, records of purchase, and potential loyalty benefits that come from having an account. 

Why mobile users prefer guest checkout

Here’s a summary of the typical pros and cons of each option (from the viewpoint of a mobile customer):

It’s easy to see why mobile shoppers don’t want to sign up. 

Even though retailers have tried to adjust to mobile – by making websites responsive, or offering native apps – most platforms still default to email and password for account signup. 

No-one wants to type a long email address into a small mobile screen (sometimes twice in some apps). It takes too long, and it’s easy to make mistakes. 

The killer, though, is the password and authentication step. 

We all know that for security reasons, we should use long, strong passwords that are different each time. But by now, most people have ‘account fatigue’ (we already have too many passwords to remember; we don’t want to create yet another one) and can’t always rely on different password vaults across different devices to store them.

Being forced to wait for an SMS or email and retype the PIN code to confirm their identity is even worse – it just takes too long and creates too much inconvenience. 

Inevitably, given the choice, most mobile customers don’t bother to go through that password step, choosing to simply check out as a guest – and everyone misses out.

A game-changing passwordless alternative on mobile

The solution is simple: take advantage of the identity that customers are already holding in their hands – the mobile phone. 

Use the mobile number instead of an email address to identify customers, and the SIM card in the mobile phone as the security check (a much stronger ‘possession factor’ than a vulnerable password). 

The result is a frictionless, near-magical experience for your customers, combined with far greater security than the traditional password + SMS combination made possible using SIM-based authentication, a new technology which verifies the mobile phone silently, without the need for an SMS.

It makes for a very easy, one-step process for the customer, who will no longer need to resort to guest checkout because they can immediately create an account without having to type or memorise details or wait for codes to arrive. 

So for your business, mobile digital identity is a serious competitive advantage – when other services are still asking users to retype endless personal information, frictionless signup is an attractive selling point to your target mobile customers.

Find out more about using tru.ID

To learn more about tru.ID and discuss how we can help you transform your checkout experience on mobile, take a look at our website or contact Sales.

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