Your goal as an ecommerce retailer is to remove as many obstacles as you can between want and buy. Because you have quite a few other tasks to complete in between, reducing friction in the buying process can be difficult. Yes, selling is your main goal, but you want those customers to come back, right? Return customers don’t always come back on their own. They need a little prodding, which is why you have to use the time you have to gather as much information as you can.
First-time customers probably haven’t given you much to work with. You may know the items they’ve searched, where they spent more time on your site, and if there are products they wanted but ultimately didn’t buy. If you know all of this but have no way to contact them, how can you convince them to buy things later?
That’s where site registration becomes invaluable. There’s still a problem, though. Who wants to stop their purchase long enough to sign into your website and fill out a million forms? In truth, 86% of shoppers really don’t like it. So let’s take a look at some possible solutions.
Believe it or not, 58.1% of customers won’t make it past the registration form. Even those who are already a member may not want to take the time to sign in, because that requires remembering email addresses and passwords. By forcing them to choose between registering and guest checkout, you put one more step between want and buy.
Instead, consider making every experience a guest checkout experience. All you need is one line at the top of the page that offers the opportunity to register or log in. If the customer wants to pursue that route for future purchases, they can. If not, they can buy and be on their merry way.
Many ecommerce businesses have made the switch from traditional registration forms to a social login option. This really cuts the time between wanting and buying, since most only have to click one button to register. The benefits are amazing, too. Their social connection means you don’t need to require verification for comments. And those comments and reviews appearing in their social feeds give you social proof you just can’t buy.
The problem you’ll run into with social login options is that many won’t want to connect Facebook to any of their purchases. The loss of privacy is an important factor to consider when requiring social login, so you should definitely consider other options.
And in the End…
With pros and cons to both sides, you may have trouble deciding which option works best for you. Guest checkout deprives you of information that could lead to future sales, but it definitely offers the benefit of more sales right now. Social login provides you with all the information you need to build a relationship with your buyers, but many may forego a purchase to avoid handing over personal information.
If you’re not sure, test both options. You’ll never know until you give both a shot. When you have your answer, stick with your solution. And then feel free to let us know which option worked best for you so we can share with the world.
Originally published May 27, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017