After taking so much trouble to get customers to their Web site, many online merchants are sending them running from a registration page - very few customers stick around to sign up for a new account. Alternative log-ins via social network sites or e-mail providers can help keep them browsing.

There are several ways that sites lose customers or value when they require those who use their site to create an account. Most customers find it too inconvenient to create or maintain an account. One way to help with this problem is to adopt social sign-in accounts, which circumvent many of the obstacles that users find annoying when visiting sites.

The numbers are stark, as was discovered by a Janrain study on perceptions of online registration - three out of four consumers avoid creating new user accounts. Four percent will leave or avoid a site with such requirements, and seventeen percent will use a different site, if they can. Of those that do sign up for user accounts, three-quarters have given incomplete or incorrect information in order to sidestep the issue.

These accounts continue to interfere with usage, even after the accounts are created. If a visitor forgets their log-in information, they often just do not bother coming back. Nearly half of responses admitted to leaving a site instead of resetting their passwords or answering security questions.

However, most surveyed customers would use a social sign-in option - 66 percent said that SSI should be offered. This option would avoid the above issues, giving customers an easier way to use the site, and keep consumer data more relevant for the merchant.

Additionally, SSI “fans” spend more - on average, they spent more in the past holiday season than critics of the option, and buy online more often. These purchases are more likely to have an influential effect for social network users - these individuals post positive feedback, as well as observe and decide based on the positive feedback of others within their social networks. According to this study, adopting SSI attracts purchases, as well as encourages the type of customers who may increase traffic and purchases through their own power.

By Ivory King