Sears and KMart Adopt OpenID to Simplify Customer Registration and Login While Enhancing the Shopping Experience 2


Yesterday, Sears Holding Company (SHC) announced it has adopted OpenID technology, enabling website visitors to easily register and login at the MySears and MyKmart communities using existing accounts at Google, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Windows Live, and Yahoo!. This is exciting news for for online retailers and follows shortly after the OpenID Foundation hosted the first Retail Advisory Summit this past April in New York.

Sears OpenID SigninMySears and MyKmart community sites are online destinations that give consumers a variety of ways to share in-depth information about products, helping make their purchase decisions easier. Visitors to these websites have the opportunity to write product reviews, post comments on the reviews of others, participate in discussion boards and post ideas for the community to vote on. Customers also have access to special offers and coupons in return for their participation in the community.

Read what Sears and Viewpoints (a technology partner) had to say in their press releases:

“We’re constantly looking for ways to stay innovative in our online initiatives by identifying and implementing technologies that help our users navigate our communities with ease,” says Rob Harles, Sears’ vice president of community. “Our adoption of the OpenID technology helps simplify our customers’ online experience and ultimately helps us meet our goal of ensuring our customers have the most efficient shopping experience possible.”

“As the social web becomes a bigger part of our everyday interactions and the boundaries separating the myriad of social networks blur, portable online identities will become critically important,” commented Matt Moog, Founder and CEO of Viewpoints Networks, a SHC technology platform partner.

By building on top of OpenID and related technologies, Viewpoints allows its clients’ websites to offer a more intuitive and customized user experience that uses existing profile data a consumer brings to their site from various OpenID Providers. Viewpoints and Sears have taken advantage of much of the ongoing user experience and usability work that is one of the two main focuses of the OpenID Foundation this year. Viewpoint and JanRain continue to show that by implementing OpenID in an innovative manner, companies such as Sears will increase registration and login rates while also enabling instant engagement with the consumer.

Sears and Kmart’s adoption of OpenID demonstrates its fundamental business value; it makes things easier for web users. In this case, OpenID makes the online shopping experience richer and simpler for customers. While much has been made of the impact of the social web, the action taken today by Sears and Kmart shows how relevant OpenID is becoming to mainstream retailers. This adoption is another example of the groundswell of interest found across a wide spectrum of today’s online user experiences.

This announcement represents a major step forward in OpenID adoption by a top ten retailer outside of the technology industry. Deployments like these continue to build on the ongoing usability and user profile management work being championed and facilitated by the OpenID Foundation and its membership. Sears and Kmart have provided a great example of how OpenID can dramatically facilitate quicker, easier, and richer online engagement.

  • joseph

    “A top ten retailer” adopting OpenID technology sounds great but has anyone actually had a go at using OpenID on the MySears web page? There’s no mention of OpenID in the SignIn pop-up window: it doesn’t feature in the displayed list of “third party accounts”. This left me thinking, “oh, since i don’t have a Facebook, Yahoo!, Google, AOL, Twitter or MYSpace ID, this is no good to me”.

    There is an OpenID button but you have to go looking for it: click on the “see more” link to display another page and there it is. Having found something, i then clicked on the OpenID button and entered my OpenID URL. At my OpenID Provider’s signon page i hit the browser pop-up “Close” button instead of my provider’s Sign-On button – a fairly typical user action, right? Half an hour later and the MySears login pop-up is still showing a ‘thinking/working’ graphic and the text “Logging in via open id…”

  • Pete Hwang

    I noticed the Sign in UI above shows simply the Facebook logo, not the alternate Facebook Connect logo. Is Facebook actually an OpenID provider now? I thought they were only a OpenID relying party.

    Or is the Facebook button actually taking users to Facebook Connect in the background? Is it okay to mix OpenID and Facebook Connect in this way?