While creating an account is usually beneficial for both the store and the customers, those customers are often reluctant when prompted to create a new account. Nobody wants to have to remember a new username and password.
How are user accounts important to you as a retailer?
You can analyze shopping habits and deliver more targeted product recommendations which would in turn boost your sales in due time but this wouldn’t convince them to create accounts.
Tell customers how they benefit from a user account
Customers get to check out faster with a user account since data like their shipping information is already stored thus saving them the hassle of having to retype it. A user account allows customers to view their purchase history and track their orders. If you have a loyalty program, this is usually a great time to tell customers about it.
If you want customers to create an account, you have to show them how they will benefit. You could also offer them a coupon or discount as an added incentive. Adidas, for example, offers a 15% discount plus free shipping on your first purchase when you create an account with them.
Keep account creation optional and the prompts unintrusive
Customers don’t like being forced to create an account. In fact, forced account creation is a leading cause of checkout abandonments. Account creation needs to be optional and it shouldn’t be a precondition for checkout.
A good place to prompt users to create an account is on the order confirmation page as prompts on other parts of the product navigation journey will annoy and distract customers. A prompt on the account icon in the header is also fine as long as it’s only visible after being clicked on.