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Selesti debates Facebook connect and e-commerce

Recently, e-commerce sites, such as Skechers and Naked Wines have used the ‘login with Facebook’ button on the contact details page. We’ve probably all seen it, on apps, websites, blogs and now it seems to be coming to e-commerce. This may be another ease-of-access feature, but will it actually make things easier? Or will it just call into question issues about privacy and personal details? As a digital marketing agency that specialises in designing websites, e-commerce sites and apps, we like to be one step ahead with the latest features and technology. When a feature like this comes along we need to weigh up the pros and cons of connecting online shopping and Facebook before we make any decisions about using ourselves.

It certainly is quicker. All you need to do is click a button, and personal details you entered into Facebook years ago will suddenly appear. The website has the information it needs, and you have saved 5 minutes of your much needed time. Surely a win-win situation? Maybe not.

The information you would have entered when opening a Facebook account may be different to your current details, such as your email address, location and maybe even your name. Inaccuracies such as these can cause issues for customers from confirming purchase through to delivery of certain items. Those 5 extra minutes saved have been lost within the half an hour of chasing the verification emails, disconnecting Facebook and manually entering the correct contact details.

Though it’s not all bad. For the e-commerce website owners, the idea of having most of your customers sharing your brand with their friends, family and co-workers, must be considered a major plus. Alongside this the company now has access to the customer’s profile data, meaning that they can gain access to their social graphs and personalise product suggestions.

For the user there is the ease of having one password for many services. Although this is what we have always been advised against, it does make life easier. We don’t need to write down thousands of logins, we now have the ability to have one universal access. This calls into question the issues surrounding the potential instance of a customer’s Facebook being hacked. How much more information can the hacker gain access to after the user has connected to several different e-commerce sites? If they learn the Facebook password - and for many of us it’s not hard to guess - then will they be able to login to an e-commerce site, such as Skechers, impersonate the user, and purchase hundreds of trainers with their saved account details?

It’s more than just making life easier for consumers though, as a recent survey carried out by Econsultancy with 2,000 UK consumers, detailed the reasons why people are put off from buying online and why they are likely to abandon their purchase altogether. 26% of respondents abandoned the shopping basket due to compulsory registration on the checkout pages, explaining the increase in Ecommerce sites using Facebook Connect. Site owners don’t want to lose sales the moment before the customer enters their payment, and 1 billion people do own a Facebook account, so it seems to make sense.

Except if you don’t have a Facebook profile. Yes, people out there don’t use Facebook, believe it or not.  Plus we’re forgetting those who wish to delete their account. If they delete this then they are deleting their online registration with the site owner, which could cause issues for both parties involved. We can also consider the idea that unlike most of the population, some people may not wish to share everything they do, everywhere they go and everything they buy with their 1,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook.

If you fancy joining the debate, or if you just want to find out more about what we do, feel free to get in touch.