Impersonation: The eCommerce Support Feature

Updated August 31, 2022  |  6 min read

Who Uses Impersonation?

Impersonation is used by a variety of businesses to provide support to consumers and organizations alike.

Administrators, customer representatives, or other authorized support staff members can use impersonation to access another user’s account. They do this to support the user by performing tasks on their behalf and helping them through certain procedures.

Impersonation allows the support person to efficiently perform operations by viewing things natively from the user’s perspective.

How Impersonation Can Help

Impersonation is used to help users complete various processes and allows representatives to support their customers or affiliates. Here are the beneficial ways impersonation can be used:

  • Customer Service – Impersonation can be used by a customer service representative to help a user complete a step in a process that they’re stuck on. Impersonation allows the representative to view what the user is experiencing so they can know how to help them.
  • Vendor Representation – A sales representative can impersonate a vendor or seller within the platform to perform tasks for them, such as bulk uploading or setting something within their store. With impersonation, these support team members can go in and represent that seller, vendor, or affiliate within that platform.
  • Organizational Support – Within an organization, there can be a power user who is the primary manager of an account and multiple “lightweight” users. The lightweight users can go into the customer’s account to add items that need to be purchased, while the power user can use impersonation to support people within your customer’s organization.
How Impersonation Can Help
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considerations and features

Considerations &
Beneficial Features


Impersonation can be strife with legal issues if you’re not careful. Therefore, you want to make sure you have a trail of legal documentation and the dates, timestamps, IP address, and other details of each time impersonation occurs. You also need to restrict access to just those who need to use it.

  • Session Log – It’s important to see basic information about each impersonation occurrence. That’s why we implement an Impersonation Session Log. With this, you can see who initiated the impersonation, the date and time, and the activity log.


Security is also an important consideration for impersonation. From a security perspective, impersonation generally involves some risk. It’s recommended not to set up impersonation unless it’s something you need and will be beneficial for your organization. However, there are ways to make impersonation more secure.

ecommerce security
  • Role Restriction – To make impersonation more secure, we can restrict access to impersonated capabilities. A common way to do this is by role restriction for the administrative users and customer support reps who will use impersonation.
  • Multifactor Authentication – We can restrict the login itself to enforce multifactor authentication, and whenever they go into an impersonation setting, we can require that they complete multifactor authentication again every time they impersonate.
  • Footprint – A “footprint” contains information about the machine, IP address, browser, and other details that would be challenging to replicate in a brute force attack. We can store this footprint in the database, which helps lock down access and makes sure that access to end points is secure.
  • Combine Methods – The security risk of impersonation is reduced by combining this footprint with multifactor authentication, giving the session a timeout, and requiring the person to go through these steps every time they impersonate.

These are all settings you can select in the Clarity eCommerce platform. Enabling these features puts you in a better stance to offer impersonation, which is helpful for users. You won’t have to worry about legal issues or security breaches with Clarity eCommerce because you’ll know that you have a detailed activity log and view of security functions with robust capabilities.

what impersonation can do for you

What Impersonation
Can Do for You

Now we’ll take a look at the experience someone goes through with impersonation.

Once a support person is doing the impersonation, they’re now “shopping” as this other person. At the top of their screen, they’ll see an “End Session” option on all pages.

This gives them a traditional experience on the site as the user they’re impersonating with the option to end their impersonation session at any time. This way, they can see what the user is experiencing, and go to their cart or dashboard, etc., to help the user with steps in the process.

Depending on what rights we’ve given them in the admin area, this will allow the support staff member to help out with things like making changes to the cart, doing updates, or applying a discount code.

It’s possible to set this up for different roles within your organization and allow different people to have different access levels to impersonate different pieces. This can be a huge opportunity for customer support as it makes it easier to transition from self-service to interacting with a support person.


Discover What's
Best for Your Business

Impersonation can be used in a variety of situations and is an opportunity to provide efficient additional support for your customers. Clarity’s eCommerce platform allows you to enable impersonation in a way that’s legal, secure, and effective, so you can reap all the benefits.

We’d be happy to discuss eCommerce impersonation with you further and address your needs in our complimentary discovery process and strategy session.

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Autumn Spriggle is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures who stays up to date on the latest trends in eCommerce, software development, and related topics to provide readers with the latest and greatest. She strives to help people like you realize the full potential for their eCommerce business.