When you’re running an online store, both customer account holders and guest checkouts hold a valuable place on your website.
On the whole, as the merchant, you tend to have a better relationship with customers that have accounts on your online store because with their name and contact information, it’s much easier to reach out and build a rapport with them. The account holder also benefits though because they might enjoy customized promotions, saved preferences, a quicker checkout experience, and more.
Why Do You Need to Offer a Guest Checkout?
If the only way to check out on your online store requires the customer to register for an account, many customers will click off your site before they reach the shopping cart. On average, asking for an email address before the customer checks out results in a lower conversion rate.
Because lots of first-time customers don’t feel comfortable giving away their personal information to a website they have no relationship with. Understandably, until they’ve experienced the quality of your shipping, delivery, and end product for themselves, they won’t know whether they’ll be a repeat customer.
Guests don’t want to commit to a site or spend the extra time filling out a registration form. As such, the more difficult you make the checkout process, the more likely it is they’ll find a competitor who lets them proceed anonymously. This is why providing a guest check out where customers can make simple money-for-product transactions is imperative.
Of course, this has drawbacks for the merchant. With the guest checkout, the entrepreneur can only use the customer’s email address to send them shipping updates. They can’t send them marketing materials, nor will the customer be likely to leave you a review or engage in surveys.
However, this is easily neutralized by the fact that a secure purchase and smooth transaction is more likely to encourage customers to return. Returning customers may eventually, once trust has been established, sign up for an account and permit you to email them more freely.
When a customer opts to check out as a guest, you can, of course, inform them of the benefits they’ll enjoy when they sign up for an account. For instance, the convenience of having their information saved and ready for their next purchase, better discounts, exclusive promotions, etc.
Tip: Once your customer has successfully made their purchase, you could then ask them if they’d like to sign up. That way, the customer doesn’t feel forced to give away their information right off the bat.
The key takeaway here is in order to provide customers with a high-quality shopping experience, online retailers should offer both a guest and a registered check out option.