Customer service should be a priority around the clock, and not just when an issue arises. For online businesses, this means providing consumers with a stress-free shopping experience from the second they arrive on your website to when they checkout. But did you know that not offering shoppers the option to login with their social credentials could be viewed as poor customer service?

According to a February 2013 study, 92 percent of shoppers abandoned a website rather than recover lost login information. That’s a shocking statistic, and one that shouldn’t be ignored. Rather, by offering social logins, you can avoid the potential loss in customers and even increase the number of repeat buyers. Here’s everything you need to know about integrating social logins with your website.

What Are Social Logins?

A social login offers consumers the ability to register and log in on websites with a social network or email address. This makes the account creation and login process much faster and easier, while eliminating the need to remember yet another username and password.

Additionally, social logins give you, the company, access to a wealth of social data that can be used to deliver a more personalized experience to your customers. Thanks to the social graph, you can more effectively analyze user behavior and align your offerings to better match the interests of your customer base.

Over the past five years, social logins have become increasingly prevalent online thanks to options made popular by Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on. But when it comes to providing social logins on your website, how do you know which one is the right choice for your circumstances?

B2C Brands

According to the latest data from social login service Gigya, Facebook remains the leader, powering more than 51 percent of all social logins in North America. Thanks to its integration with products like YouTube, Google+ is the second most popular service at 31 percent. The latter, launched in 2013, is already performing well on consumer brand and retail sites — possibly a reflection of the trust that people place in Google as secure provider of their online identity.

Both Facebook and Google+ maintained their strong leads in mobile logins as well, at 62 percent and 26 percent respectively. Google+ Sign-In is especially important for Android developers. The company has made it so that anyone who logs into your website through Google+ will be prompted to download your app, in addition to other perks.

B2B Brands

Unsurprisingly, Facebook continues to dominate on this side of things as well (according to data from Q3 2013). Although it’s popular among consumers, more brands have adopted the social network over the past few years so B2Bs definitely don’t want to rule it out.

And while Google+ is becoming an increasingly popular option among this group, LinkedIn maintained the second spot for much of 2013. The professional social network, which just reached 300 million members, is still one of the most popular destinations for B2Bs.

Best Practices

There’s a lot of overlap in social media, but you don’t want to run the risk of alienating any one group. For that reason, it’s better to provide customers with a choice rather that offering a single social login. This means that you can add multiple social logins to your site — for example, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

You’ll also want to give social logins prominent placement on your website or app. If people don’t know that the option to login using their social credentials exists, they won’t use it. This could make or break a sale, so don’t risk it. Most internet users are trained to look at the top right section of a website to register or sign in.

And regardless of whether you’re targeting consumers or other businesses, be upfront about your data usage. Establish trust with your customers by clearly communicating how you intend to you the data that you collect. Additionally, don’t ask for more data than you need. Requesting too much might discourage people from registering, again negatively impacting your sales.

[Image credit: Jason A. Howiemkhmarketing]