One question that gets asked regularly is should you make customers register for an account on your website before making a purchase?
There have been lots of studies and testing into this and the outcomes are pretty conclusive, yet so many sites still get it wrong!
The short answer is that in most cases you should not force potential customers to register before making a purchase, here are the reasons why:
1. Long Forms Turn People Off
Just like in the real world, when someone is confronted with a form asking for lots of details most people are turned off.
There are few things more boring than filling in forms and it’s exactly the same online.
If you knew that a product was available at two different places and one needed a form filling in before buying and one didn’t, with everything else being equal you would most likely go for the one without a registration form.
2. Testing Results
There have been lots of split tests carried out on checkout procedures where people have tested a checkout process with registration versus one without it required.
Pretty conclusively the results show customers prefer not having to register, see some of the tests for yourself here:
- Get Elastic – Checkout Split Test
- Forrester Research – Checkout Registration Report
- Get Elastic – Shopping Cart Abandonment Reduction Tips
3. Privacy Concerns
If I want to buy something online then it’s pretty much a given that I will have to give out my delivery address and contact details, along with payment details. I know this upfront and am prepared for it.
When a site starts asking me for extra details such as mother’s maiden name, alternative email addresses, or shopping preferences then I think, what are they possibly going to do with all this extra information other than bombard me with more sales messages.
The eCommerce site doesn’t need this info to complete my order so they shouldn’t be trying to force me to give them it in order to make a purchase.
4. Interrupting Checkout
There are enough interruptions in the online world and too many competitors just a short hop skip and a click away.
You should always be striving to make sure your sales funnel is as simple as possible, moving from browsing your products to entering payment details should ideally be as easy as possible.
Adding in a long form interrupts this sales process which will never help your sales conversion rates.
5. There Is No Reason To Do It!
Taking into account the above, there is one final reason not to force customers to register…
There is absolutely no reason for it!
Most of, if not all the information you need to create an account is entered during the process of a normal checkout process anyway.
Why not let people checkout normally without a registration form, then at the end offer customers the chance to create an account by simply entering a password.
The account can then be setup automatically as you can reuse all the details you already collected for the order without requiring users to enter it again.
This is the best of both worlds and should be how most eCommerce sites work, unfortunately it isn’t. There are countless examples of sites which don’t adhere to these best practice guidelines.
How does your site handle registrations?