Whether or not to offer guest checkout as an option for customers is a decision every ecommerce business has to consider at some point. And while there’s no right or wrong answer, there are some factors you should consider to help you determine which option is best for your business.
YOUR CUSTOMERS’ PURCHASE FREQUENCY
The nature of your business and your customers’ order frequency should play a role in determining your checkout strategy.
If you sell beauty products, for example, there’s a good chance your customers are repeat buyers. You sell items they will need to replenish, and you work hard to earn and retain their loyalty. You’ll probably want to encourage your customers to create an account.
On the other hand, if you sell mattresses, your sales from a single customer are likely to be occasional at best. It might not make sense, in this case, to ask people to create an account considering they’ll be returning to your site infrequently.
Problem solved, right? If only.
THE BENEFITS OF GUEST CHECKOUT
Even if your ecommerce business caters to repeat customers, you still need to give shoppers the option of a guest checkout. Here’s why.
First-time customers: When a shopper purchases something from your site for the first time, it is vital their initial interaction with your brand go smoothly. Since this is their first experience with your site, and the process of handing over personal information can be tedious (especially for mobile users), guest checkout options lets users “try out” your customer experience before committing to setting up an account.
Friction: Checkout friction is the enemy of conversions. If a shopper has spent time selecting products on your site, you want to minimize obstacles and distractions during the checkout process. And for a new customer, a request to create an account could be enough to cause them to abandon their cart. The last thing you want is to make the checkout process longer and give shoppers more time to reconsider their purchase.
Account Fatigue: It’s a thing, and it’s real. According to Understanding eCommerce, creating a new user account is the second-most popular reason for cart abandonment after extra costs. Many shoppers are turned off at the thought of having to create yet another account, thinking of a new password, and filling out their profile just so they can make a purchase. A guest checkout option circumvents all that.
With all the benefits of guest checkout, what are the advantages to asking visitors to create an account, if any?
Having a customer’s account information makes it easier for you to cross-sell to existing customers and request product reviews. Customers who create accounts are also more likely to come back to make a purchase. We’ll cover that, and more, in our next post - Guest Checkout vs. Customer Checkout, Part 2: The Best Approach.