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IAM and the War on Clicks

IAM and the War on Clicks

If you start talking about identity and access management (IAM) to marketing people, their eyes will glaze over pretty quickly and they start fumbling with their iPhones checking for the latest updates on Facebook - and you've lost them. IAM is a technology term, and does not explain much to a marketing person about reducing exit rates or improving conversions. But, a well-executed and thoughtfully integrated IAM solution can help marketing departments in several areas of web marketing initiatives. As an IAM professional, you need to put the benefits of the IAM solution into words your CMO can understand. Here's what an IAM solution can bring to the table…

Reducing Exit Rates

If you have managed to lure your web site visitor deeper into your web site, you've already overcome the bounce rate problem. Exit rates tell you how many of your visitors leave a particular web page. When you need to capture the identity of your visitor for one reason or another, the user needs to act. If the act is a complicated one, they will most probably leave the site. Web commerce sites have an approximate 70% shopping card abandonment rate

The top reason for abandoning the shopping cart or purchase order is the registration requirement. The ecommerce site requires visitors to fill in complex forms, and create an account for the site. This is all too familiar for all of us. Some sites do a better job at registration than others, but it's still something that makes the majority of customers abandon their carts.

The first step to reduce the exit rate/cart abandonment rate is to make this action as easy as possible for the end user. Social identities such as Facebook, Google or LinkedIn provide a one-click method of capturing the user identity. Social identities provide the name and the email address of the user. An IAM solution integrated to your online services can provide these identities and an easy way to capture the visitor. What's even better is that if the user travels between your sites, perhaps from one business line to another, the IAM solution can maintain the authentication information when crossing from one site to another. This will remove the need for the user to click the social identity logo another time.

Social identities are good for capturing the user identity, but are too suspect for conducting a real transaction. Up to 11% of Facebook identities are fake. So, for the real transaction you need something more, and you do need to ask your visitors to input at least their credit card details.

Repeat visitors

Some online sites have created an extremely easy shopping experience for their users. Amazon is the prime example of this. Unfortunately the 1-click method for online shopping is covered in some market areas by a patent. An IAM solution can help your site or online service to ease the ordering process of a returning visitor in a similar way, without infringing on the patent.

When the visitor makes an initial visit to your site, and goes through the registration process by using the Facebook or other social media and filling in some blanks on the registration form, and perhaps even creating a password for the user account, the IAM solution can capture both of these identities, with the users consent.

Returning visitors can then Single Sign-On to your online service, as most of us have a persistent session with Facebook, Google or LinkedIn. They don't have to use their ID (email) and password that they created during their first visit. The IAM solution takes care of this through technology called user-driven federation, where two identities are linked together. In this case, the social identity and the account the user created. With user-driven federation, your visitors get easy access to your service, and at the same time your business intelligence or tracking solutions will get the information from the account information, and not just the social identity information.

This will reduce or eliminate the number of required clicks on your site for capturing the returning user identity.

Password Resets

If your customer needs to call the helpdesk to reset the password, the costs of your operations will skyrocket. While everyone should know this, what many of the site owners might not realize is that even this action can be made smoother for the end user. IAM solutions should include a self-service password reset function as a built-in feature. If you are looking at a solution that does not support this, look for another vendor as this simple function can ease the life of your customers and help you save a lot of money.

Reducing clicks in password resets is a usability benefit. When we use online services infrequently, we tend to forget the passwords we used during registration. When we need to reset the password, the most common way is to send a reset link to the registered email address. So far, so good. After clicking this link we are redirected to the "create new password" page of the online service, and we create a new password. After pushing the "submit" button, we're directed to the login page - wait - I just submitted the new password. Why do I have to login again? If you have IAM solution in place, it can create a new authenticated session for the user after the new password has been created and redirect the customer directly to the online service as an authenticated user, removing the requirement to login again and improving the user experience.

IAM is not only about authenticating the user. If used properly it can improve the user experience and at the same time reduce your cost, and give business intelligence information on your customers, ease marketing, and improve conversion rates. 

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