People online don’t like being forced to create accounts. In fact, nearly a quarter of American shoppers have abandoned their carts because a site forced them to create an account. This creates a conflict with online stores that need people to create accounts for things like marketing.
There are a few reasons why customers are reluctant to create accounts:
- Culture – a brick and mortar store doesn’t require shoppers to sign up for anything in order to make a purchase. You just get whatever you want, pay for it and leave. Costco requires a membership but that is an exception, not the rule.
- Customers don’t want to be bombarded with marketing emails for life.
- Nobody wants to have to remember additional passwords.
Due to these reasons, account creation should always be optional. You should offer guest checkout for first time customers (see BP #110).
The header is one place many sites use to prompt account creation. This prompt should never be obnoxious. Just have a little button or link under the account section that urges visitors to either log in or create an account.
Never have an account creation prompt in the checkout flow. If you have it before checkout or in any of the intermediate steps between a shopper filling in their billing + shipping information and the payment step, there’s always the risk of cart abandonment. Even when they don’t immediately abandon your site, urging them to create an account while they’re in the process of paying just distracts them from the more important task of giving you money.
Order confirmation page
The order confirmation page is the best place to prompt your first time shoppers to create an account. For starters, people never really make up their minds on whether they like something or not until they actually try it. Once they buy from you, their perception of your store might have been raised enough for them to sign up.
Customers who plan to buy from you regularly will also be more inclined to create an account compared to those making one-off purchases. People generally decide whether they’re going to become regular customers after making a purchase or two so the order confirmation page is a great place to gauge their thoughts on that.
Additionally, you’re not interrupting anything by prompting shoppers to create an account on the order confirmation page so the risk of costing yourself conversions is non-existent.