Q&A With the Expert: What ASOS’ New Social Sign-in Option Means for Ecommerce
Online fashion giant ASOS has launched a social sign-in for new customers, seemingly the first retailer to do so at the checkout, offering its fans an easier way to shop as they socialise.
The retailer, which last year generated sales up 27% on last year to £975m, has an impressive 8.8 million active customers – up 25% on the previous year. So, with such a big customer base ASOS remains the brand to beat when it comes to attracting the young, trendy and digital-savvy shopper.
By offering a social login and checkout option it seems ASOS is tapping into the rise of customers sharing potential purchases online as they seek approval from friends and family on social networks.
But changes in user experience at the checkout may impact conversion rates as new customers respond to the different login options. However, with customers logging in through social, ASOS may have access to a wealth of new information, so the long-term pay off is likely to be worth the potential short-term impact.
Could social login streamline the checkout experience?
Fresh Egg senior conversion strategist Luke Hay explains why brands may use social login in future but why offering your customers a guest login could boost user experience and sales.
ASOS is now offering customers the option to sign in through social media sites to buy their goods. Why do you think it is offering this?
ASOS sees the added benefit of learning more about their customers from their social profiles. They’ll present it as an easier way for users to buy from them (“no extra passwords – no brain fail”), but it could be that they’re really after more data on who their customers are.
Collecting social data on how their customers live their lives will give ASOS insight into who their customers are, which is going to be great for marketing and, potentially, onsite personalisation. This may also help them plan how a customer may act in the future, what type of purchases they will make and when they are likely to make them.
They are also probably looking beyond immediate purchases through the website and are focusing on their long-term relationship with their customers. By engaging with users through social, they will be able to build customer relationships and loyalty.
What benefit might this have for ASOS?
This looks like a long-term plan with ASOS focusing on the lifetime value that they can get from better quality information about their customers, and easier access to their social accounts. The more they know about them, the better they can market to them and engage with them online.
In the short term, this method also makes it easier for users to share details of their purchases with their social networks. By making it as easy as clicking a button, I expect this form of sharing to be one of the measurements of success of this controversial approach.
There are also opportunities that come from the level of access users need to grant ASOS. By signing in with a Twitter account, a user needs to agree to grant the following permissions:
- Read Tweets from your timeline
- See who you follow, and follow new people
- Update your profile
- Post Tweets for you
With many people worried about general online security following a number of high profile hacks, do you think some customers may be frightened off by this option?
I think it will be popular with some people, though others may not want to give ASOS access to their accounts.
It’s also worth remembering that ASOS appeals to a younger demographic who are more likely to be comfortable social media users. Social log in would be a bigger risk for a more traditional brand with a less socially-savvy target audience. The fact that ASOS is an established and popular online brand will also mean that users are more likely to be willing to jump through hoops to purchase from them than they would be with a less well-known or less respected brands.
Have any other brands offered this before?
Not that I know of, at least not for checkouts. Plenty of websites allow people to log in with their social accounts; it’s just the fact that ASOS are using it at the checkout stage that makes this approach stand out.
ASOS doesn't offer a guest checkout option but do customers prefer guest login from a user experience point of view?
This is the big issue for me. From a user experience point of view, people expect to be able to make quick and easy purchases without giving away any more details than they really have to.
Guest checkouts are very popular as they allow people to complete their purchase with just contact, delivery and payment details and no feeling of commitment to a particular retailer.
From a user experience point of view, one of the best options would be to give new customers the choice of logging in with their social account or using a guest checkout. This would remove what many users, myself included, might see as a barrier to buying from ASOS.