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Zappos integrates Touch ID for significant improvement to mobile shopping

Amazon’s Zappos, already a leader in mobile shopping convenience, continues to focus on streamlining the experience even more, which is why it is the latest retailer to make Apple’s Touch ID technology available to its application users.

The online shoe retailer updated its iPhone and iPad apps last week, giving users the option to log in with Touch ID. Mobile passwords can be a hassle to remember and key in but with Touch ID, users are logged in and ready to check out with a single touch.

“Touch ID is a huge improvement to the user experience,” said Doug Peterson, iOS Software Engineer at Zappos, who developed the feature for the Zappos iPhone and iPad apps.

“Every time you’re logged out of your account, you have to remember and retype your password,” he said. “Touch ID eliminates that frustrating experience and turns it into a painless and almost magical one.”

Biometric authentication
Touch ID was introduced with the launch of iOS 8 last fall.

The biometric authentication technology enables users to place their fingertip on the iPhone’s home button, which activates a high-resolution scanner.

The image is converted into a formula, encrypted and then sent to a secure enclave. Once the fingerprint image is recognized, the phone or application receives a “yes” token and opens.

Touch ID is an important development in simplifying mobile commerce as consumers have clearly shown interest in shopping from their smartphones but also frustration with having to key in lots of information.

A number of retailers jumped on with Touch ID right away, including Amazon, Lowe’s and ETrade (see story).

With mobile its fastest growing platform, TV shopping network QVC added Touch ID soon after (see story).

Banks are also recognizing an opportunity with Touch ID.

Earlier this year, Webster Bank became one of the first United States-based banks to leverage Apple’s Touch ID feature into its mobile banking app as it aims to drive user adoption with streamlined security features (see story).

Adding joy
Integrating Touch ID is the latest example of how Zappos continues to push mobile convenience for its shoppers.

During the 2014 holiday shopping season, Zappos made it easy to shop anywhere and anytime via customer service-driven services such as Ask Zappos and curated collections (see story).

Last summer, Zappos reached fitness fans directly through their workouts with a new integration in the MapMyFitness mobile app enabling users to track mileage for their shoes and make purchases (see story).

With Touch ID, Zappos is hoping to bring a little joy to using its app.

“Apple made Touch ID integration simple, and we were able to develop the feature for our users in one day,” Mr. Peterson said.

“It would be great if Touch ID increased sales, but in the end as long as it adds a little joy to using the app, like the cat that leaps into your shopping cart or the laser cat that scans your credit card, we will be happy,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York