Most of us have altered our purchasing behaviour at the latest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, we still enjoy strolling through cities looking for special bargains in brick-and-mortar shops. Nevertheless, consumers have now largely switched to ordering many of the products they want via the Internet. People also increasingly choose to do their banking or communicate with public authorities online.
Convenience and security across all channels
Pioneers such as Amazon or eBay kicked off this trend roughly 20 years ago, setting new benchmarks for customer focus in the process. They continue to drive these developments today with new and visionary ideas. Amazon, for example, is supplementing its online service with physical shops in which customers can make cashless purchases, collect orders, drop off returns and make contactless payments from an app without having to wait in line at the tills.
In the same way, online and offline channels are often already operating seamlessly side by side when we go shopping or interact with official organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends to enable businesses to continue operating even during periods of lockdowns – for example, with "click & collect" or "click & reserve" services that allow customers to order or reserve their goods online. A text message sent to a mobile phone tells them when the requested product is available, and from which preferred shop it can be collected.
The customer will always want to be king – and well protected
These days, we expect a customer experience that delivers complete convenience and meets our requirements as quickly as possible – be it on a desktop PC, a notebook, a tablet and a smartphone or at terminals located in shops or banks. From the login and ordering procedure through to delivery and customer service, we want the perfect customer journey – without having our mood spoilt, for example, by irritating password requests. Nevertheless, we attach great importance to keeping our data secure at all times and protecting it against unauthorized access in all transactions.
However, users who encounter even the most minor difficulties during the login or order procedure will quickly look for another provider – and will be forever lost as customers for the company. This is why a seamless user experience is increasingly an issue of existential importance for companies.
Omnichannel strategies: how companies and customers can profit equally
Many companies have already spotted the trend whereby users increasingly prefer to use mobile applications to authenticate themselves for their user accounts and for online transactions. In the case of banks, for example, the call centres and brick-and-mortar branches that previously served as the key points of contact between company and customer have now been replaced by online applications and mobile apps. This creates new security problems and vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Security standards and processes must therefore evolve in line with new market conditions. At the same time, however, customers want a uniform, simple and intuitive user experience across all devices. Omnichannel authentication across all devices and platforms can satisfy both requirements.
Building brand reputation and customer confidence
Online fraud inflicts major financial losses on companies. A study by Accenture predicts that cybercrime in the period from 2019 to 2023 will cost companies worldwide roughly 5 billion dollars. Therefore, the fight against online fraud is first and foremost an attempt to avoid unnecessary costs and preserve the good reputation of the company. The most common types of fraud are account take-overs (ATO) and identify theft, but also the use of ransomware to cripple entire corporate networks and extort money from companies.
This is where the cutting-edge authentication technologies already integrated into practically every recent smartphone can provide a remedy: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) using biometric personality traits such as face recognition, fingerprint scans or voice recognition are almost invulnerable to criminals. Comparisons of location data, typing behaviour or the frequency of visits to a portal promise additional protection. These steps help to uncover irregularities in user behaviour and initiate security measures if required.
Finally, secure without endless passwords
2FA and MFA offer a further benefit for users by eliminating tedious password-based login procedures. Instead, what could be simpler and more convenient than using a fingerprint, for example, to authenticate oneself on one’s favourite portal?
Social logins also offer added convenience and security. Anyone who uses online services will be familiar with the problem of losing track of login details used for many different user accounts. This is where the social login takes the strain off the brain. It enables the login details for social media platforms such as Facebook to be used for other online services as well. As a result, users are less likely to use very simple and weak passwords or to use one password across multiple platforms for the sake of convenience.
MFA, 2FA, social login: the technology is available – let’s use it!
Omnichannel authentication combines the highest standards of security with a convenient user experience. And it does so – as the name implies – across all communication channels. The important thing is that all the security processes, technologies and devices involved interact seamlessly with one another.