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Ecommerce Guidelines: Customer Accounts

Guidelines 232-234

Ecommerce Best Practices » Cart & Checkout » Appearance/Usability » Customer Accounts

This section is really about the first guideline – “Don’t force buyers to register with your site before buying, offer guest checkout“.

One of the largest dropoffs or reasons for cart abandonment is forcing users to register before they checkout.

Surely you know the $300 million dollar button story.

3 guidelines for ecommerce Customer Accounts:

  1. Don’t force buyers to register with your site before buying, offer guest checkout.
  2. Offer an incentive for OPTIONAL account registration upon checkout.
  3. When creating a password, requirements should be clearly displayed.

Guideline #232. Don’t force buyers to register with your site before buying, clearly offer guest checkout.

Again, see the $300 million dollar button story. Don’t force people to register.

What you should do instead?

You should always offer a guest checkout.

There are two good approaches:

  • Don’t even mention the word °register”. Say New Customer or use other similar terminology.
  • Wait until they check out, and offer account creation on the Thank You page – see next guideline.

you can check out without needing [an] account.

It was frustrating when I was kind of forced to create a profile. It would have been nice to have a guest check out option, or an option to create a profile at the end of the checkout process (after you already have my email, shipping address etc.)

The checkout process didn’t make it clear that I could checkout as a guest.

I’m forever frustrated by not being told shipping information until Tire been forced to sign up to an account on retail sites.

I liked that it was very clear that I could continue to checkout as a guest and that I wasn’t forced to create an account or led to believe that creating an account was necessary in order to checkout.


Guideline #233. Offer an incentive for OPTIONAL account

You’re asking them for their name, email and address anyway so they could buy and get their stuff, you already have this info.

So now on the last page you can just offer to create an account with 1-2 clicks: ask for their desired password (or provide option to auto-generate it for them) along with just the permission to create an account.

Checkout this example from Speedo:

People are not bothered with any account stuff until they pay you money (if you had to choose, what’s more important to you: account registrations or purchases?).


Guideline #234. When creating a password, requirements should be clearly displayed

It’s a common experience. How many times have you entered a password only to be taken back with red ink proclaiming “Error! password needs a capital letter, two numbers, a character, and a quote from a Fetty Wap song.”

Well, at least they told you after you messed up! Better yet, better to let the customer know beforehand, clearly.

Something like – “Passwords must be at least 8 characters long and contain at least one of the following: upper case letter, number, or special character.”

It’s also important to remember that if they guest checkout, you’ll have their name and email address, you could always send an email with a temporary password for them to create an account with.

Form conversions are the centerpiece of lead generation, sign ups and ecommerce sales. They are the gatekeeper to leads, revenue, and survival.

And nothing is more frustrating than filling out a badly designed form. (except for slow site speed…)

Form optimization is a key component of conversion optimization. It’s easy to measure, and optimizing bottlenecks in your forms is a way to produce solid ROI upfront.

Most forms are boring, uninspiring, and not fun to fill out. We therefore need to throw everything we have at them: analytics, copywriting, UX and UI design.

Your traffic and audience are unique and they interact with your forms uniquely. It’s good to research and test your specific situation, but here is a list of low-hangers to get things started.

I was annoyed that the order form required a phone number.

Continue to the next section:

Ecommerce Best Practices » Cart & Checkout » Clarity/Credibility » Trust Elements