One-third of the world’s population, that’s around 2.21 billion people, will be buying the stuff online by 2021.
Ecommerce stores are leaving no stone unturned to impress the customers and make them purchase the products or services. Alas! The stores succeeded with the first step of engaging the users while browsing the offerings, but they fail at the time of checkout.
On average, 58.6% of the US shoppers abandon the cart at the time of checkout. When the reasons for abandonment are studied, it’s found that account creation kills the conversion. Around 23% of the users abandon the shopping cart if they are compelled to create an account.
Some of the stores are so determined with the membership model that they are ready to let the users move to the competitors but don’t allow the users to checkout without sign in.
Let’s face it: This needs to be changed because some users don’t want to create an account and just want to enable purchase. Stop forcing the users for account creation as the attempt of collecting users’ data may make you fail in bringing the leads down the sales funnel.
The deal can be sealed and you can win the conversion from the users who are about to say NO through the guest checkout option. The leading businesses don’t refuse the users when they no longer want to create an account; instead, provide the guest checkout option. The businesses adapt to the various customers’ needs of the checkout to enable the sale.
With no one-size-fits-all solution, declaring the one as a perfect fit is impossible. Let’s dig deeper to understand each checkout approach- guest checkout and customer accounts in detail and see which one is a good move in different instances.
What is Guest Checkout?
It treats the customers like a guest where they are not mandated to complete the registration process for creating an account before making a purchase. With the minimum number of clicks and hoops, the checkout option won’t allow the store to save the information provided by the users during checkout. It’s highly preferred by first-time buyers and brought a slew of advantages to the stores.
Benefits associated with Guest Checkout
- Improve sales
By eliminating the lengthy and complex process of account creation with guest checkout alternative the customers can make the purchase just by entering the address and banking details. Especially, on mobile shopping app, the smaller screen, and bad connection makes guest checkout option a boon. The friction-less purchase process increases the conversion rate by a great margin.
- Minimize abandonment rates
Forcefully trapping the users in the net of account creation often breaks the purchase process. With guest checkout, the users can bypass the need to create an account before checkout, thus the buying process will become a plain-sailing journey and no carts will be abandoned.
- Lesser commitment
The users having the first contact with brands, they place limited trust in providing the data, especially financial information. With guest checkout, no data is retained by the businesses, which makes the users feel confident while buying with the store.
The Issues That Makes Guest Checkout Not A Good Option
However, despite bringing plenty of benefits to the end-users, the guest checkout becomes a problem for the merchants. Here are the ways the guest checkout proves to be a curse:
- The inability to reuse the information won’t allow the businesses to gain insights out of the data and reach the customers with a tailored marketing strategy.
- The emails related to promotional offers can’t be sent, which means no way is left to bring them back other than simple notifications.
- The users cannot be reached again to request reviews for the products purchased.
- Assisting the customers with order tracking is trickier for the customer support team.
- The customers cannot link the orders in the order history and thus disabled to reorder them easily.
Why Should You Go Checkout With Customer Accounts Way?
In addition to the simplified purchase process with guest checkout, the checkout with customer accounts also received enough traction in the market. With meaningful relationships with customers, the checkout with customers account becomes a boon for the merchants in the following ways:
- Personalized experience
Read more: Types Of E Commerce Business Models 2020
With the ability to store customer’s data, the businesses can also record and analyze the micro-moments such as the products browsed but not added to cart, the colors searched for the specific products, the sizes are checked, and pretty more. The information can be used to send customized recommendations to the customers through email or while they are browsing the store.
- Easier repeat purchase
The shipping address, billing address, and communication address that are provided just once by the customers got saved and the same is retrieved by the system automatically when the customer makes the purchase next time. Initially, the customer may find it a time-consuming process, but it will pay off when reused in the future. The faster and easier checkout is the by-product of the checkout as the customer account approach.
- Enrollment in loyalty programs
With the customer’s account creation, the order history and loyalty accounts automatically get created. Depending on the store’s loyalty program, the customer receives some benefits such as loyalty points, discounts, coupons, or deals on every purchase that are added to loyalty accounts. Also, the custom loyalty program can be launched for the customers based on the purchase they made. The additional benefits encourage the customers to create an account, which in turn benefits the businesses as well.
- Order history is saved
The order history section that comes with account creation enables the customers to easily track the order, reorder the same product, and enable exchanges and returns effortlessly. It eliminates the need to repetitively look into different series of emails to precisely track the order with the tracking numbers. Just a few taps and the customers will get a 360-degree view of the orders without much back-and-forth.
Making the users leave a review for the product and involve them with the brand community are other additional benefits.
Drawbacks of Customer Accounts
Making customers create an account is a big challenge for Ecommerce stores. Well, it’s an attempt to make the journey from a visit to purchase smooth, but the well-trodden path poses sizeable issues in front of the stores. They are:
- Password fatigue
Remembering the several account numbers and the passwords for multiple accounts overwhelm the users. Understanding the modern attitudes towards login, making the users to compulsorily remember passwords means the probability of cart abandonment will surge.
- Lengthy checkout
The mandatory login just before the payment process makes the checkout a burdensome activity for the customers. However, under checkout with customer accounts, it cannot be skipped. So, the chances of cart abandonment exist at this stage.
Who wins the tug of the war- guest checkout or customer accounts?
Declaring a winner is a little difficult because every business has unique needs and serves different types of customers. So, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution.
The best tactic is to identify the user type- if they are not loyal and visit the website just once or twice a year, then making them mandatorily login with accounts make no sense.
On the flip side, if the store has an army of frequent buyers, then gathering the information to approach the customers for cross-selling or making them purchase more is essential. That’s where the customers can be made to register with the website by tactically asking them to save the details for the next time just after the checkout. Don’t use the words like- ‘Register’ as it’s more related to marketing; instead, ‘Saving your details’ gives a sense of convenience to the users.
Use the checkout practice that goes well with your target audience and meet the businesses’ needs.
How Do You Move Ahead With Checkout?
There are three common practices to allow the customers to checkout- asking the customers to register before moving into checkout, allow the customers to guest checkout, and ask the customers after checkout to save the details for creating an account.
The first one involves pushing the customers for registration that sounds a bit harder, second is highly preferred by the customers but associated with a couple of cons, and the third one is interesting where the customers can checkout using guest checkout option and can be made to create an account with little-to-none efforts.
Again, no checkout design works excellently with every type of business and its customers with no downsides. The best practice is to quantify the business needs, customers, and marketing strategy for identifying the checkout option that helps businesses reach goals.