A couple of days ago, I was asked whether social media log-in (i.e., logging in with you Facebook credentials) was relevant for B2B ecommerce. I’m guessing that more than one B2B ecommerce professional is wondering the same thing, so I thought I would post my response here:
In short, I don’t think that social log-in is an important factor for B2B ecommerce.
Social media and the subsequent “social log-in” play a different role in B2B than they do in B2C ecommerce. In a straight-up B2C environment, we’ve already seen how successful it has been to log-in with your Facebook credentials for many companies. However, when you examine the companies that are experiencing success with social log-in, you will find that quite often they are consumer brands: a favorite brand of soda pop, preferred personal care products, and the like. They are not B2B brands.
I was also asked whether I thought B2B2C could employ social log-in with any amount of succcess. While B2B2C companies might experience some success with social log-in, the most likely candidate is the B2B company that is expanding into the B2C market and are adapting a preferred log-in method for those customers. I think it is unlikely that a company will every log-in using social credentials unless:
- The social landscape changes so that a B2B-only social media-scape is created;
- The company receives substantial financial incentive to do so.
In my experience, Facebook doesn’t play a large role in strict B2B environments–B2B companies often have Facebook pages as a stop-gap measure to redirect interested folks to their website, but that’s about it. LinkedIn seems like the social media venue of choice for most professionals as most want to keep their personal and professional social media lives separate.
Personally, I won’t log into B2C sites with my Facebook credentials–if a site doesn’t offer another way to register, I abandon it and look for one that will. I don’t particularly like the inherent transparency that social log-in gives Facebook OR the site I’m visiting giving into my likes, dislikes, personal buying habits and such. I suspect that there are a number of professionals that feel the same way.
So, I guess my vote is as follows:
- In pure B2C ecommerce: Yes for social log-in.
- In hybrid B2B2C ecommerce: Yes for social log-in, but probably not for B2B customers.
- In B2B ecommerce: No for social log-in.
What role do you think social log-in plays in the various ecommerce arenas?
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