Social Sign-On Could Be a Boon for Retailers,Preference for Facebook as an all-around login grows

Online retailers, as well as other publisher sites that want to encourage visitors to register and sign in as a way to gain information about them, would do well to consider social sign-on, which allows internet users to carry a login from Facebook, Twitter, Google or a similar site elsewhere on the web without having to fill out forms and go through the hassle of a full registration process at each site they use.

Research has shown that making the registration process easier, and giving users options for signing in with any of several different logins, increases sign-ups and conversions. And Facebook, with its massive reach, has become the leading choice for users.

An October 2011 study from social retail recommendations service provider Sociable Labs found that at any given time around half of all visitors to US ecommerce sites are already logged in to Facebook. They may not be using their Facebook login to tie their interests, activities and social graph back into the retailer’s recommendation algorithms—yet—but they are active members of the social networking giant who are currently logged in on the same computer.

And among social network users worldwide, nearly half chose Facebook in a Janrain poll about which social ID they prefer when signing on to retailer sites. That’s higher than the average for signing in to all types of sites across the web, for which 42% of respondents preferred Facebook. It’s also an increase over time for retailers: In Q1 2010, around 40% of social network users worldwide used their Facebook ID to sign in to ecommerce sites.

Fortunately for retailers, a Facebook login carries a wealth of information with it. Alternative login choices such as Twitter might carry with them only a name and the ability to share information about purchases socially. But Facebook will carry over a user’s interests, connections and other vital elements of the social graph, giving retailers the opportunity to create better, more personalized recommendations based on a preexisting login.


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