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Five ways password managers are changing the game for online retailers

Recent high profile cyber hacks have made consumers understandably wary of giving over their data when shopping online. With the multitude of hacking-based news stories online shoppers have become more security-conscious and retailers, especially small ones, need to anticipate this new way of thinking.

While some larger websites have gone for the “social sign-in” option using Facebook accounts to sign you in, this is unlikely to be an option for smaller businesses – nor is it necessarily more secure.

Password managers are an increasingly popular alternative for the casual shopper, but auto-completion and centrally stored passwords mean that certain expectations about what online shopping feels like will change.

Following are some ways that shoppers’ use of password managers will change the game for retailers.

The days of fumbling around with a dozen passwords are gone

Password manager software fills in all forms automatically, and larger sites have started using social media accounts to log in for the consumer. Your e-forms need to be simple and compatible with form fillers or your customers will go somewhere that’s easier to use.

You can’t count on repeat customers just because they’ve signed up

It used to be that once a customer had signed up online with your brand they would come back just because signing up elsewhere was too much of a hassle. Now that passwords are centrally stored simply being a member of your site is no longer a good safety net. Today’s customers will flit between sites without thinking about it. Strong brand identity and ease of use is now far more important than loyalty borne out of convenience.

Time is money

Brand loyalty will accrue around those retailers who provide quick access to the payment page. If customers are used to logging in with the click of a button, as with password managers and social sign-ins, they won’t wait and fumble through clumsy online forms.

Requiring a certain complexity of password is no longer as off-putting as it once was

A password manager creates extremely strong passwords automatically, so requiring higher password entropy from users won’t be problematic. Your site is made considerably more secure from hacks if the passwords you require are longer than eight characters and contain symbols and characters. The more people use password managers, the more confident e-retailers will become in requiring strong passwords.

Requiring password resets is a sign of security, not an irritation

In a world where you have to manually remember multiple passwords, customers might get annoyed when they are forced to reset them to something different. This has led to many retailers avoiding this crucial requirement, sacrificing security for convenience.

Changing passwords is much simpler with password managers which means you needn’t be afraid of insisting that the customer’s password is changed periodically. Your diligence on this point will only increase their trust in your security.

Bill Carey, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at RoboForm

Photo credit: Ai825 / Shutterstock