SecurityBrief New Zealand - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
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Online retailers lose millions as 1/3 of customers forget password at checkout
Tue, 31st Mar 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

eCommerce sites are seeing a surge in traffic as millions of consumers across the world replace their usual, in-person retail habits with online shopping.

But these sites are losing millions of dollars in potential revenue for one very human reason. People forget their passwords.

Recently released research has found about one in three of online purchases are abandoned at checkout because people cannot remember their password to access their account and confirm their purchase.

Password managers, in addition to providing added security, would alleviate this issue, but many casual shoppers may not be aware of their existence or perceive them to be another inconvenience.

50% of Chinese and 31% of Italian consumers say they're shopping online ‘more frequently', according to Ipsos MORI.

Vietnam, India, and Russia have also seen their populations turning to eCommerce — online shopping has increased by 57%, 55%, and 27%, respectively.

“Studies show that people are extremely impatient online. Even if they have already placed their items in the basket, they're still in a very fragile state, and every little roadblock can lead to an abandoned cart,” says NordPass security expert Chad Hammond.

“In 2019, a total of 69.57% of the carts was abandoned for various reasons. And with increasing online sales, every forgotten password costs more and more.

“Customers also don't like to spend too much time trying to recover their password. If they can't remember the password immediately, they will hit the ‘reset' button. However, this is not always the best route.

“Most of the sites ask you to wait for an email to confirm your password reset. While some of them send the email instantly, others require a few minutes,” says Hammond.

“These few minutes feel like an eternity for a customer staring at the blank page. This encourages them to quit shopping and abandon the cart.”

According to the research, 18.75% of online customers abandon their cart due issues related to resetting their password.

Some companies attempt to fix this problem by letting users buy without registering. If the customer can't log in, they can still purchase as a ‘guest.' 14% of users abandon their cart if there is no guest check out option.

Long, tedious or confusing checkouts are also a significant roadblock for many online shoppers, who are looking for maximum convenience. Research shows that the more clicks they have to do, the more likely they will abandon the shopping cart.

“While having proper security measures is crucial, it's also essential to make the buyer journey as easy as possible,” says Hammond.

“Passwords are still a significant cybersecurity issue. Research shows that a surprising number of people still use poor passwords, such as ‘12345' or ‘qwerty.'

The cybersecurity issue of reusing the same password for multiple different accounts clashes with the convenience of only needing to remember a single password.

“It's obviously impossible to remember 70-80 different complex passwords. Still, people should take password hygiene more seriously,” says Hammond.