One of the biggest challenges for retailers is getting shopping carts over the checkout line. According to recent research from Talend, four in ten online shoppers in the UK regularly abandon their online shopping carts before they complete their purchases. Talend argues this represents a loss of hundreds of billions to the UK retail industry, which poses the question: what’s going wrong?

Friction at the checkout 

One reason for the high rate of customers abandoning their carts is the checkout process itself. For online purchases, many customers don’t want to go through the time-consuming process of registering for every website they choose to shop from, but shopping as a guest user still requires filling in the same long, repetitive forms with their personal details. This causes friction for customers who either put off the purchase entirely, or go to find the same item from a retailer they are already registered with.

Solving challenges with tech

A secure login authentication service can help alleviate these key areas of customer frustration, and help convert those intentions into sales for retailers. These services provide an easy and secure way for customers to prove they are who they say they are, so they can buy products without having to remember different usernames and passwords. To bring these benefits to customers, retailers must look to adopt universal login solutions which customers can use across different websites.

The answer lies in our pockets. Smartphones have long displaced PCs and laptops as the primary device for shopping online – mobile commerce grew by 77.8% in 2015, while RetailMeNot research shows that PC shopping jumped by just 2%. More customers are changing their own shopping habits around the convenience which smartphone shopping provides, buying, selling, and checking stock on the go.

Working with operators and service providers, the GSMA has taken the convenience of smartphones even further to provide a secure, universal log-in solution that uses our mobile phones. Mobile Connect uses the mobile operators’ network to prove that the customer is really who they say they are, so it can reduce friction by acting as an automatic ‘form filler’ for the customer. It’s simple and easy for the customer to use, reducing friction and getting those shopping baskets over the line.

For the retailer, they can be assured that the information provided by the operators’ network is based on trusted data and a real user – a considerable benefit over log-in services that rely on social media, for example, which can be easily manipulated. Mobile Connect can also help reduce fraudulent transactions by using the network to confirm that the phone and user is actually in another country. This means no more false declines for customers when travelling abroad, and more opportunities to buy from their favourite retailers wherever they are.

The way forward

Retailers who adopt authentication services like these also benefit from superior intelligence about their customers and building trust. Knowing the customer, and understanding how best to engage with them, is crucial to growing a business or brand. But the amount of data some retailers collect seems excessive, simply because customers have little choice about sharing it. Customers can either share all their data, or choose not to use any retailer at all.

Authentication services like Mobile Connect gives power back to customers, allowing them to choose what data they will share with the retailer. Customers can choose to share only what they feel is relevant – simply proving they’re over 18, for example, rather than sharing their exact date of birth. As this data relies on the operator network, retailers can be assured that is accurate so can sell and target the customer with appropriate products. But most significantly, giving customers the option to give their explicit consent for what data they share drives further loyalty for the retailer and builds trust.

A strong authentication service has much to offer retailers who are looking for ways to reduce customer churn. By providing a simple service that is also secure, retailers can grow a loyal customer base who will come back time and time again.

Over the coming months, representatives from the GSMA will be writing exclusive commentary for Essential Retail, looking at how the latest mobile tech innovations are impacting retail.

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