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.
MySears 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.