The pandemic has uprooted life for everyone, from distributors to sellers to consumers; and with this change in the economy, a heavier dependence on digitalization has formed. Businesses across industries have placed a concentrated effort on transforming their digital presence to meet the growing needs of hungry consumers accustomed to instant gratification. The ‘age of convenience’ has evolved from expecting quick customer service to receiving your product with the click of a button.
About the author
Mijo Soldin is the Director of Operator Strategy and Partnerships at Infobip.
As a result of this new era, consumers are looking for new ways to purchase increasingly expensive items online more frequently without risking financial security – this means heightened awareness around how companies are protecting them (or not protecting them).
The growing digital identity market
Digital identity technology, initially heralded as a solution to online fraud, is predicted to expand to a $5.2 trillion market over the next five years, says Accenture. Years ago, this technology was typically seen as a back-end element to ensure and enhance revenue and was rarely ever catapulted into the mainstream like it is today. Although many companies knew about the risks of potential monetary losses, until recently, very few brought to light the potential cybersecurity issues their customers might face.
And unfortunately, if businesses suffer, you can ensure that customers will suffer too. Despite being financially protected by a company in the case of a cybersecurity breach, regardless, customers will lose out in the experience department. Fraud leaves customers feeling short-changed and devoid of a seamless and proper buying experience, whether it’s something as seemingly trivial as a T-shirt or as important as home insurance. What results from this period of financial and cyber-insecurity is an increased dependence on online authentication as a strategic business differentiator.
The relationship between CX and trust
The better online security becomes, the more consumers begin to trust the websites they purchase from – particularly through their mobile devices. Even the most committed of online shoppers accept that there may be certain hoops they need to jump through before gaining access to the convenience a digital portal brings; for instance, two-way authentication. That, however, only represents a portion of online shoppers; many consumers abandon their transactions after the first or second hurdle (and, depending on first-time use, ditch the company as a prospect altogether). For some, near-instant gratification is simply not enough.
These hurdles, which often lead to abandoned carts, cost companies potential sales, or worse, send customers to competitor sites where authentication is not prioritized. Measures taken to ensure safety have cost businesses revenue but, in practice, digital identification is here to make the process safer and more streamlined for customers. In fact, we already have access to the solution to this growing problem: The mobile phone.
Mobile identity as the solution
Mobile identity, or the process of verifying a user’s identity through their mobile device, is executed through first-party billing data held securely by a customer’s mobile phone service provider. This is the gold standard of authentication and can be done through different means such as Silent Mobile Verification (SMV), Know Your Customer (KYC), SIM Swap Detection and Instant Form Filling. All of these capabilities are automatic, run in the background and can be checked against verifiable information.
There are several advantages to proper mobile authentication as it relates to a customer acquisition. Mobile verification is one of the processes that continuously validates a customer’s identity through their entire site visit and purchase journey, from “shelf” to transaction. It facilitates more efficient and convenient onboarding with instant form-filling that ultimately speeds up the verification process for users.
Depending on location, mobile authentication can also ensure GDPR compliance, given that services are based on a user-centric approach. This promises that neither companies nor mobile network operators learn anything new about the end-user other than the information they’ve already been granted. In this way, government regulations ensure quality control of security measures, and bring peace of mind to all consumers.
As people search the online marketplace from their mobile devices and consumer demands continue to evolve, the need for proper authentication will continue to be increasingly critical to a good digital experience (and the opportunity for repeat, loyal customers). Businesses know the value of omnichannel and meeting customers where they are, especially through the IoT (Internet of Things), which is why mobile authentication is that much more relevant – and something that should be a priority moving forward.
Retaining customer engagement is the goal of any good brand, and that goal is not hard to reach when the consumer experience is prioritized. Putting effort into providing a friction-free, connected and contextual framework to shape an online visit is the most important part of pleasing your most important audience, your customers. The first step in this lengthy process begins with security, and ensuring that it’s implemented throughout every step of the customer journey.