The Benefits Of Guest Accounts For Online Retailers

Loyalty is a moving target when it comes to online customers. Since the recession, the number who pledge loyalty to any one brand have dropped dramatically. Shopping online is increasingly about convenience and finding bargains.

Which is one reason creating an account is seen as a barrier to going through with a sale. It would be like forcing a customer to take a loyalty card when they only came in for a one-off purchase. They don’t want to be in your database. These customers want to pay and leave.

Online Registration: One Click Too Many

Creating an account involves multiple stages. At the very least, a customer is handing over an email, creating a password, saving a delivery address, card details, along with other details too, such as a memorable word or phrase (for security) and billing address, if different from the delivery address.

That’s fine, for some customers; loyal ones who will come back. It’s easier to have those details saved, rather than have to input them again. But for a one-off purchase?

When cart abandonment rates are 68.63%, according to the latest Baymard Institute data, online shoppers don’t need an excuse to click elsewhere. Being asked to create an account before they can complete a purchase is the main reason 25.65% abandon a cart, based on an Econsultancy survey.

When ASOS removed the automatic registration button before the checkout, they increased revenues by $300 million with that one simple change. Offering customers a guest checkout is the most effective way to reduce friction, remove barriers and increase sales.

Keep Things Simple: A Guest Checkout

Give customers this option right from the start. Here’s how Walmart makes the guest option prominent for new customers.

walmart guest account

Here’s the John Lewis approach. An email address is required since they make it clear that’s where the order confirmation goes, but this simple one-pager doubles as a guest account entrance and login for existing customers.

john lewis guest account


In the US, Office Depot makes it clear that customers “are not required to have an account to shop with us.”

office depot guest account

Popular department store, Macy’s, also gives the guest checkout option prominent place just before customers complete a purchase. The majority of leading US retailers now offer guest options, to reduce friction and cart abandonment rates.

macys guest account


Guest checkouts are even easier with the right payment processing option, or guest authentication using social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. Retailers still collect data, whilst ensuring the process is unobtrusive. Another way to save time, whilst collecting the details you need is to remove the words ‘register’ or ‘create an account.’

To receive an order, customers need to provide a certain amount of detail such as their address for delivery or email for digital purchases. At this point, after a sale has gone through, you could simply ask, “Would you like to save your details for next time?” Registering in all but name.

Saving a customer time, whilst simultaneously collecting the information you need for future marketing campaigns.

For ideas on how to maximise your online conversions read this blog: The Online Payment Journey Starts On Your Home Page