Can you think of an online sign-up process that DOESN'T require an email address for completion? Its almost as assumed that a user has an email address, as they do a home address. And with good reason, today almost every online user does. With an email address a merchant can reconnect with users post-purchase, reach out after an abandoned cart  or send them a coupon for their next purchase. While capturing emails adds a layer of communication to you customer relationships, it doesn't tell you anything additionally about your customers. Email lets you communicate, but not necessarily connect.

However, Facebook Connect can do just that. Facebook Connect allows users to use their Facebook account to connect to third-party sites ( like yours). Facebook explains the significance.

 Facebook Connect is the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to "connect" their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook.

Connect can be used to bypass the signup process or anywhere you want to add a layer of social content. Connect is a great way to deepen & personalize customer relations.

And don't worry about hassling your customers - TechCrunch reports that  50% of visitors to ecommerce sites are already logged in to Facebook. And users are becoming more comfortable with the practice: according to Facebook, 30% of its users actively engage with third party websites through Facebook Connect each month.

There also huge advantages Connect offers over traditional sign-in methods:

Identity Authentication

Unlike Twitter and other less personal social networks, Facebook is a stickler for making sure users represent themselves with their real names and real identities. When users login with Facebook Connect in your store they bring their real identity information with them including basic profile information, profile picture, name, friends, photos, events, groups, and more.

Leverage Friends 
Facebook is the ultimate social network with over 500 million users, so you can bet that your customers have Facebook friends with similar interests & shopping habits ;) Facebook Connect allows merchants to add a rich social context to their stores allowing customers to see which of their friends have already created accounts in your store.  Think of how much more inclined to trust your store ( & purchase from it) a customer would be if they saw a friend had also created an account in your store.

Increase Registrations

There are a ton of reasons why merchants and developers LOVE Connect, but so do customers. Customers love bypassing long sign-up processes with just one-click. The ease of use can result in HUGE increases in registrations. Just how huge? Facebook reports that sites that use Facebook Connect see a 30% to 200% increase in site registrations

Gain More Reviews

Not only are customers more likely to complete the registration process, the ease of signing in with Connect makes it easier for returning customers to review your products. Facebook claims that sites using Connect see 15% to 100% increases in user generated content like comments and product reviews. And we all know how valuable reviews are in ecommerce!

Stay tuned for more posts on how to leverage Facebook Connect for your 3dcart store!