02 Nov 2021

Online Retail’s Missing Puzzle Piece

Fiona Jones, Content Lead, Digital Identity Net discuss e-commerce retailers embracing digital identity solutions as part of techUK's Digital Identity week #digitalidweek

For e-commerce retailers, survival and success relies entirely on adaptation to the market. 

As cliché as it sounds, the past 2 years have proved this more than ever. As the pandemic compounds the rate at which our lives move online, it’s key for online retailers to adjust to this.  

Ecommerce as a proportion of total retail sales in the UK reached an all-time high in January this year, with year-on-year growth of 181% and a value of over £3.2bn. Whilst digitisation of all aspects of life has been pushing retailers online for years, it’s safe to say that move has accelerated.  

For retailers moving operations online, or for those beginning their journey in e-commerce, there are certain difficulties they will experience. From high abandonment rates to indistinct rules and regulations, these challenges test the best of online retailers. 

Digital identities, collections of personal data that exist about individuals online, have a huge part to play in e-commerce. Anytime somebody transacts online, they use their digital identity to do so. It makes sense, therefore, that real value exists in paying attention to digital identity technology, and how retailers can utilise it to improve.  

Digital Identity Net are using Open Banking infrastructure to fuel their digital identity service. Building on the already-established open-API model, OneID® lets individuals prove who they are online easily.  

Here are a few key areas in which digital identity technology can make the lives of e-commerce businesses a whole lot simpler.  


Age Verification 

For e-commerce stores selling age-restricted goods or services, making sure their customers are the right age can be difficult. There are so many regulations to follow as an online retailer where verifying age isn’t as easy as handing over your driver’s license to the bartender.  

Solutions using digital identity technology, especially those utilising Open Banking technology, can simplify age verification by using data that already exists. To prove their age, without uploading scans of ID documents or fill in lengthy forms, all customers have to do is give their bank permission to share confirmation with a retailer that they are the right age to make a transaction.  

The simplicity of this process means there’s no sign-up process, anyone with a UK bank account can verify their age immediately. The process is fast, and e-commerce retailers can be sure they are complying with the law thanks to bank verified data, protecting themselves and their customers.  


Safer Payments 

A new regulation for e-commerce retailers is the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, introduced in September. These requirements aim to reduce credit and debit card fraud through two-factor authentication technology. Their introduction is hotly debated, as businesses report the required new processes significantly increase friction and frustration for consumers, negatively impacting sales. 

Using digital identity services in payments achieves the fraud-minimising targets of SCA requirements without compromising on customer experiences and convenience in transactions. Verifying users through the biometrics they use with their digital banking ensures a level of security in payments, meeting SCA requirements. 


Reducing Abandonment 

Across all industries, abandonment in the UK sits at around 82%. In some sectors it’s higher, and when looking at abandonment on mobile devices it increases yet again. With mobile now the primary channel for online shoppers, this can’t be ignored by retailers who need to ensure they provide the best online experiences to increase conversion.  

Enabling consumers to utilise digital identity in their transaction online creates a smoother onboarding journey. A zero-data-entry journey is created, removing the need for long, manual sign-ins as well as reducing reliability on social sign-ins that can lead consumers to feel insecure about their data. 

With 23% of consumers citing long, complicated checkout processes as their reason for abandoning carts, it’s easy to see how digital identity solutions could make improvements for online retailers who need to know their customers. 

Whichever way e-commerce retailers begin to embrace digital identity solutions, it’s clear those who do so earliest will stay ahead of the curve, not just surviving but thriving in such a reactive market. 



Fiona Jones, Content Lead, Digital Identity Net 

Fiona is the Content Lead at Digital Identity Net, the organisation behind OneID®, a new digital identity service allowing people to prove who they are online easily and securely.  


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