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What is CIAM and How Can It Help Increase Retail Sales?

Identity management is on a visible path of merging with corporate strategy. In the past, identity management was a functional necessity to manage customer orders, profiles, and accounts. Now it is quickly becoming a strategic necessity.

What is CIAM?

Think of the last few times you needed to log on to an account where you had forgotten the password. This might have been your 401k account or your Snapchat account. What was your experience like? Was it a few clicks and voila your password was reset or did you experience confusion or frustration in the process?

Managing end-user customer accounts is what we call Customer Identity and Access Management or CIAM. This isn’t new. Since the dawn of the internet, customers have had accounts that needed to be managed—what is new is the impact of the bottom line on organizations. Standing on the sidelines with a mediocre CIAM experience for your users is going to lose your organization market share. The good news is there is amazing technology out there that makes it easy to implement.


Ping recently had their annual conference Ping YOUniverse. In it, there were many excellent break-out sessions. For this article, we looked at the “Make a Good Impression at Registration” presentation. In this session, Ping walked through use cases in their retail lab environment which could be considered a simplified version of a retailer’s online portal. In a recent survey mentioned in the session, they indicated that 56% of consumers remain skeptical about online shopping. That means up to 44% of your customer base might make purchases if they trusted the process a bit more. That is a gold mine ready to be exploited. The only question is whether you or your competitor will get there first. 

In the demo, they showed how simple enabling optional MFA can be with PingOne for customers. By checking a single box in the customer profile, MFA became enabled.

Enabling MFA with PingOne

At work, we typically need to download an application and sync it with our corporate account. Or we need to provide a cell phone number to be texted a one-time passcode. Each of these options is worth the effort when it keeps your company secure. But what if a consumer just wants to place an online order for the latest Google Home speaker, a one-time $100 purchase? Let’s look at some options weighing security versus the user experience.

How to Use PingOne on Your Retail Site

A secure solution would be to force the download of an application for one-time passcodes. But that adds friction to the sales process and if you do this most customers will go to your competitor to avoid the hassle. With CIAM, it is all about the simplest option. If a customer has a basic account with an email address and a password, can MFA be enabled? Yes, by using simple email tokens. When the customer logs on to your retail website, they will provide their username and password. After that is confirmed they will be prompted for a one-time password code sent to their email account.

With this basic MFA setup in PingOne, your customers can easily understand how your order process has increased security. Could this move the 44% of people who don’t trust online purchases? Definitely. For the generation that did not grow up online, having some extra reassurance that their credit card information is safe is critical. Not all your customers will understand how credit cards are encrypted and access to that information is protected with Privileged Access Management. But all of your customers will understand an email pin code (MFA) is definitely more secure than your competitor who just uses passwords.

GCA Can Help

GCA specializes in identity and access management. Our MFA experience paired with our history of successful Ping implementations make us the perfect partner for your retail store. We can help you make checkout easier and more secure. Don’t hesitate to get started—44% of your customer base may be waiting.

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