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Making customers register before they checkout is a barrier to purchase, yet many online retailers have yet to learn this lesson. 

The arguments against this barrier are compelling. For example, ASOS halved its abandonment rate at the registration page simply by removing any mention of creating an account. 

In a more famous example from Jared Spool, one retailer added $300m to its annual revenues by removing the registration button. 

These are lessons that HMV needs to learn in order to optimise conversion rates and reduce abandonments. 

HMV's checkout registration issues

I arrived at HMV's website over Christmas, having taken advantage of a £20 gift voucher for £10 offer from a daily deals site (seen via Twitter). 

To redeem this generous offer, I needed to first create an account on HMV, before adding the code to my account (it would have been far simpler to enter the code at checkout). 

The problem was, since I had created an account with HMV before (with both of my regular email addresses) and forgotten the details, I couldn't create a new one with this email address. 

This is the first mistake. It would have been better to allow me to set up a new account with this email address, while offering the password reminder option as well. 

Amazon has an interesting example of how to handle this. It will allow me to create a new account with a previously used email address, but warns me that the existing account will be disabled. 

If I'm a reasonably regular customer who has simply forgotten their password, this will convince me to go down the password reset / reminder route and avoid losing my stored billing address and payment details. 

However, if this is an old, unused account, then allowing customers to go ahead anyway avoids the pain of resetting the password. 

HMV could also have given me a password reminder, or a couple of security questions, to avoid me having to wait for an email. 

Another potential annoyance for customers, and this is not unique to HMV, is that I have to re-enter my email address after clicking the 'forgotten password?' button. 

The email reminder also took two or three minutes to arrive, which may not seem a long time, but can be long enough to deter a potential customer. All in all, from attempting to log in, to resetting password wasted about 10 minutes.

If I hadn't have already purchased the gift voucher, and not been tied in to HMV, I would probably have headed for Amazon. 

This compulsory registration approach will lead many customers to simply abandon the purchase, or to create multiple accounts using alternative email addresses. 

The site in question for the $300m example quoted above found that 45% of customers had multiple accounts on the site, and this is likely to be the case with HMV. 

Of course, HMV could improve its password reset process to provide a smoother experience for customers, but the best solution would be to remove the compulsory registration step altogether. 

Consumers hate registration: the stats

A recent Econsultancy / Toluna study found that 25.6% of online consumers would abandon a purchase if they were forced to register first. 

After adding items to your basket, what would make you abandon your purchase?

Previous surveys, including the Webcredible poll quoted here, also show a similar percentage of users opposed to registration, while retailers like ASOS have reduced abandonment rates by removing this step. 

Approaches to registration

Online retailers want customers to register with them, as this provides useful information for marketing emails, as well as making subsequent purchases easier with stored address and payment details. 

Amazon is the prime example here. Its saved address and card details, as well as one-click purchase options make it almost too easy for repeat customers, as well as mobile shoppers. 

Also, asking customers to register only requires one or two additional pieces of information on top of the details required to make a purchase. It's just a case of setting a password, and perhaps a few preferences. 

Paul Rouke explains this very well:

What I find most fascinating is the responses I get from people when I ask them ‘what additional information do you expect you will need to provide if you create an account compared to a guest checkout option?’.

When they then actually start to break down the type of information they need to provide to checkout using either option, they are left with just one piece of additional information: choosing a password.

The key therefore, is in the presentation of the registration option. Paul Rouke looks into this in detail here, but here are the most common approaches to registration: 

Compulsory registration before purchase

This approach is used by HMV, as well as plenty of well-known retailers, including Tesco, Curry's, Play.com, Amazon, TopShop and others.

I would argue that all of these sites could improve their abandonment rates by removing this barrier, and adding a guest checkout option.

Of the sites I mentioned, at least Play.com outlines the benefits of registration and attempts to reassure customers:

 

Optional registration before purchase

Why not give customers the choice? This is a good option as it offers the benefits of registration to customers but avoids the drawbacks i.e. it doesn't form a barrier to purchase.

If the benefits are explained to customers, then some may still choose to register. 

House of Fraser's recently revamped site provides a range of choices to customers, and explains each clearly. A neat approach. 

Compulsory registration during checkout

ASOS has a minimalist pre-checkout page, with no option to register before checkout, just a simple continue button. 

This login screen was the result of lengthy split testing, and presents no barriers at all for new customers. 

Customers do have to create an account during the checkout, but once they are 'in the door' it seems less of a chore.

However, i would question the need for customers to enter date of birth, or at least make it optional and explain why this question is asked. It does seem to be an unnecessary extra barrier. 

Optional registration during checkout

House of Fraser offers customers the chance to create an account during the checkout process, but doesn't insist on it. 

It could perhaps do more to explain the benefits and encourage more shoppers to register, but the key thing is that is doesn't make it a barrier.

No registration at all

This is the approach used by Comet. From the basket page, customers are straight into entering delivery details, with no intermediate step. 

Comet does take customers' email addresses for order confirmation, but doesn't even offer to create an account, though there is an unobtrusive login / register link at the top of the page. 

With this approach, instead of spending time registering, they are selecting delivery options and beginning the purchase. This means the checkout is shorter for customers, which should reduce abandonment rates.

There are, however, some significant benefits (easy repeat purchases, personalisation etc) to both customer and retailer from registration, and for this reason I think the option to sign up and create an account should still be provided at some point during the process. 

Conclusion

The ASOS approach to checkout registration, and the results it has already delivered, show that online retailers can have their cake and eat it. They can have the benefits from removing a potential barrier to purchase and still get customers to sign up for accounts.

Customers are essentially doing the same amount of work and entering the same information as before, it's the presentation that makes the difference. 

I also like House of Fraser's approach, as it covers all bases and ensures that there is no barrier at all if customers don't want it. 

As for HMV and other retailers that still make customers register before checkout, i'd advise them to try out some of these alternatives.

After all, that's what testing is for, and if a retailer can reduce abandonment, at anything like the rate that ASOS has, that would make a big difference to revenues. 

What do you think is the best approach? Have you recently removed compulsory registration from your checkout? We'd love to hear from you...

Graham Charlton

Published 5 January, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Lord Manley

Lord Manley, Solutions Consultant at BloomReach

Although this started a little personally, I really like the way in which you have presented such an obvious truth. Too many retailers focus on explicit reports and too few actually use their implicit data effectively.

A good piece.

over 4 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & Director of Optimisation at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks for an excellent post Graham. I do wonder how many more years will go by/articles written before retailers 'have their cake and eat it'.

Just to add some further insights in to your article, a key area of consideration especially for retailers where repeat visits/purchases are common (rather than specialist/niche retailers or more likley one-off purchases like a TV or washing machine) is that new customers may well want to register/create an account as part of their checkout process. They know that they are very likely to purchase from the retailer going forward, so the benefits of registering will suit them perfectly.

One example of this is our client Lakeland. They use a similar checkout entry page as ASOS, where new customers are simply asked to continue to checkout.

When we conducted user testing some participants questioned whether or not Lakeland provided an account creation option, as this wasn't mentioned at the start of checkout. What this led to is us adding in a simple line of text under the new customer continue button saying "If you would like, you can create an account at the end. This is totally optional."

By listening to potential and existing offline Lakeland customers, we were able to cater for both audiences - those that have no interest in creating an account and therefore don't want this forced on them, and those who would like to create an account as part of checking out.

Other factors which influences whether or not users who are currently forced to create an account in order to checkout will actually abandon include:

> brand credibility
> product availability (or lack of)
> brand loyalty

You mention how Amazon force new customers to create an account, and they are one of big reputable retailers who benefit from brand credibility to influence purchase decisions. I previously explained how Amazon are relying on brand credibility rather than good usability, especially within their checkout process, on this blog - http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/3777-amazon-relying-on-brand-credibility-instead-of-good-usability

over 4 years ago

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Guy Mucklow, Senior Web Designer at PCA Predict (formerly Postcode Anywhere)

All good points. It really is remarkable that this kind of practice is still so prominent. We conducted a similar survey late last year and produced an infographic: http://www.postcodeanywhere.co.uk/online-shopping-2011.aspx

over 4 years ago

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Christine

I agree whole-heartedly with not wanting to register upon checkout, but I do want to query the Amazon approach of allowing users to register again with the same email address. Surely this is poor security?
Firstly, it's confirming that email address exists in the system, allowing potential hackers to then attempt to login with this address (running a mass hit on the password).
Secondly, I would not want somebody else creating a new account with my email address, disabling my current account (whether intentional or accidental).
I think this article makes some good points about usability, but there are other considerations that really should be taken into account.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Lord Manley Thanks

@Paul Registration and easy repeat purchasing is so important for Amazon, especially across mobile sites and apps, that I expect they would be reluctant to experiment here.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Christine I didn't follow the process through for my main account, since I didn't want to lose all my saved details, but I tried on another email address. The customer has to verify ownership of the email address in question.

This wasn't the main focus of the article so I haven't looked into it in detail, but you do have a good point.

over 4 years ago

Pauline Randall

Pauline Randall, Director at Florizel Media

I've frequently abandoned purchases when being forced to create an account. I don't mind creating one if I'm going to purchase again in the future but I don't see why I should have to do it for a first purchase - let me see what the company is like first. I've also abandoned when asked for date of birth or other details which I feel aren't justified - some account creation forms appear like a fishing exercise. As far as I'm concerned there are very few organisations which need my DOB. Can you imagine going into a physical shop and being asked all these questions before you can purchase anything?

Excellent article and as I'm starting a new online store for a client we'll be taking this into account! Thanks.

over 4 years ago

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James Cornwall

Great Article. I think as the evidence is clear that reducing the checkout and forced sign-ups clearly improves abandonment rates, I totally agree a balance is needed as 1 click checkouts that accounts bring are excellent for loyal customers. I do believe that a lot of e-tailers do what they think is and was industry standard. Customer usability is too far down the priority, but not realising the impact bad checkouts can have.

ASOS have one of the best shopping carts I have seen, easy to complete and navigate through, but again I feel that you should be able to check out without a password if forgotten. A good CMS should be able to link account email address and date of births to accounts already in its database. For instance if I clicked on new customer and filled in all my details again, ASOS will not allow me continue, it would be better if you continued, highlighted I already had an account and allowed me to continue trouble free. Who knows maybe even an email allowing me to reset my password..

over 4 years ago

Matt Clark

Matt Clark, Analytics / CRO Consultant at Userflow

Interesting article, it's seems weird in the age of free information and low cost MVT tools these situations still exist.

The potential gain for retailers of commodity products such as HMV or Comet are seemingly greater than those who sell their own brand of products like Topshop or ASOS.

i.e. I don't have a HMV account, but I have an Amazon one and I can buy the CD from there for the same price instead. But I can only get that T-shirt I like from Topshop so I better sign-up.

I personally wonder on the effect adding a phone CTA would have as an alternative options to entering details via the web. Haven't seen any examples I can think of for that, but we already know that some people just prefer the phone so it seems like a critical point to remind them.

over 4 years ago

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Gennaro Castaldo

Dear Graham. Thank you for your comments, which I am sorry you had cause to post. You make a number of valid points, which we were aware of ourselves and I am pleased to say we are currently in the process of addressing. I trust you'll soon be able to see a significant improvement in our online purchasing/check out processes as well as other site changes. Kind regards, Gennaro Castaldo- HMV Head of Press & PR

over 4 years ago

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Gilew

Excellent article hitting on a major annoyance of buying online.

With HMV I was doubly annoyed to find out that their physical store business and their online business are not linked, meaning that the gift card I had could ONLY be used in-store, where their stock is far more limited and more expensive. Rubbish. I queried this repeatedly with them via Twitter and they made some vague mumblings about plans to rationalise this. I also sent an email to their new Sales/Marketing Director reponsible for all this, but received not even an acknowledgement.

I wonder if they'll sort out their problems before HMV finally goes belly up?

Amazon's user experience is always excellent in my view. I now use their Android app and almost all of my online shoping goes via that. It's brilliant, requiring very little effort.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Gennaro,

Thanks for responding, and good to see you're addressing these issues. It'd be great if you kept us informed, and we can always add an update on this issue after improvements have been made.

Cheers

Graham

over 4 years ago

Lisa Bonczyk

Lisa Bonczyk, Associate Director - Sales and Marketing at eDigitalResearch

Some really interesting and valid points - thanks Graham.

I often find it even more ludicrous that retailers still apply the same long-winded registration process to their mobile sites. Prompted me to look back through our mCommerce Benchmark studies and found that the purchase section has consistently been the lowest perform area, mainly because so many shoppers get frustrated at having to input unnecessary details (like their DOB) on their phone.

over 4 years ago

Peter Gould

Peter Gould, Senior PPC Analyst at Epiphany

It really is a fine balance in the checkout process as to number of steps or amount of information you ask for from a user.

I can completely sympathise with companies looking to collect as much information about a user as possible to aid future marketing activities, but sadly, as this blog demonstrates, the reality is that asking for too much can result in a loss of revenue.

The ultimate lesson companies can learn from this is to constantly research and test areas of their site like the checkout process and ultimately let the results speak for themselves.

But just to add - a really great post Graham and fantastic to see Gennaro's response from HMV too - I'm always really impressed when I see companies respond to posts like this and their ability take on constructive criticism.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Liana Great point about mobile checkouts. The majority seem to be insisting on registration, which is an even bigger barrier to purchase on a mobile.

That said, having an existing account and saved address / payment details makes mobile purchasing far easier - something which partly accounts for Amazon's success in this area.

Both ASOS and House of Fraser apply the same checkout styles on their mobile sites as described in this article, which should give them an advantage in converting mobile customers.

Are they both in your next mobile benchmark report? if so, it will be interesting to see how they compare with others that still insist on registration.

over 4 years ago

Mike Tate

Mike Tate, Interim Ecommerce Manager at Kongo Industries

A variation I have seen on a few sites is to allow guest checkout, then on the order confirmation page give the user the opportunity to create an account by adding a prompt (complete with reasoning as to why an account is a good idea).

over 4 years ago

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Craig McGill

Cracking read. I would say that there's benefits to a login/account - saves time if you make repeat purchases - but it should be the way forward that people have the option, instead of of either/or being compulsory.

Similarly, on mobile, people should try and get all the data they need to input done on one page (though I can see why people would ask for DOB as a handy cover for proof of age - even if it is flawed.)

over 4 years ago

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Gareth Holt, Head of Technology at London & Partners

Looks like consumers dislike high delivery charges more than having to register to purchase.

So my suggestion to improve abandonment rates would be to make delivery charges clearer at the shopping basket stage.

For me, the registration question depends on the likelihood of wanting to make further purchases from that retailer. Higher likelihood of further purchasing = lower objection to registration.

There are also ways to increase registration rates like offering parcel tracking (House of Fraser) do this, which was enough to make me register when purchasing from them recently.

over 4 years ago

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Anonymous

Just checking that I don't need to register with this site to make a comment. Seems like I do have to submit a valid email address, although this isn't made clear why.

Plus note that you use Captcha. A quick Google suggests that Captcha is disliked by the majority of web users (not a scientific survey I know, but I've yet to meet someone who does like it).

I agree that registration should be made as simple as possible, however it is not there purely for the benefit of the marketing department to spam email you for the rest of your life, but provides a way of building a relationship between the retailer and the customer.

This includes marketing, order tracking, repeat purchase process made simpler, personalisation of products, offers and promotions to name a few reasons.

Registration is often made out to be an evil attempt by retailers to 'own' your information, when in fact it is a logistical requirement to make a delivery, and provides consumers with a simplified way of interacting when they come back.

Finally, it costs a lot of money to recruit new customers online and all of that is likely to be lost on the first order. If every order is a first order then how can you expect to make a profit?

I'm sure HMV may have problems with their site, but I think they have bigger fish to fry at the moment.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Anonymous You don't need to register for an account before you leave a comment, but yes, we do ask for name, email and for users to complete a captcha form.

We don't use this email address to send you marketing btw,

This is partly to put the person making the comment in some kind of context, but also to combat spam. I know captcha can be a pain, but we have tried to find the 'least bad' version.

As editor, I want to encourage as many comments as possible, and I'd love to make the process simpler, but we do have to prevent the floods of spam that would result from removing these steps. We get enough as it is.

I don't have an issue with registration, and as I said in the article, there are clear benefits for customer and retailer from creating an account. I think retailers should encourage it, but avoid making it into a barrier.

There is a wealth of evidence out there to show the benefits of removing compulsory pre-checkout registration that it does amaze me that so many online retailers still do it.

The ASOS approach is a great example. You still need to register, but the order in which customers are asked for information removes the perception that it is a barrier.

HMV may have other problems, but surely this means they have even more need to maximise income from the internet? If a simple redesign like this can boost sales, it's surely a no-brainer.

If you read the previous comment from Gennaro (HMV Head of PR) you'll see that HMV acknowledges this issue.

over 4 years ago

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Liana Vickery, Marketing Executive at eDigitalResearch

@Graham We're running our next mComemrce Benchmark at the moment, but taking it a step further this time by comparing the results with performances against other channels. Will be interesting to see how mobile and online purchase sections compare to each other.

Just looked at our last study. Amazon and John Lewis came top of the table for the purchase section. Sites at the bottom were often the ones that forced customers to register.

The next set of results will be available early February.

over 4 years ago

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adrian

its a simple process to keep the account regstration but reword the text on checkout pages to give the impression the customer is going through an express checkout. In this way, you remove the third option of guest checkout (which in my opinion only serves to confuse) , and you simply have 'new customer' or 'returning customer'. I've found this works well.

The thing with HMV and other big retailers, is that they CAN and DO get awway with this, as the brand is so huge. A smaller site would certainly lose out to this, but people buy from HMV because of their prominence and trust, not because of prices or anything else (other shops are certainly cheaper). Therefore, this signup process i'm guessing isnt losing them many orders.

over 4 years ago

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Ben Thompson

One thing I think people may not understand but Amazon do is that its perfectly possible that an email address is reused by someone else.

There is a use case of person at big company having an email address then leaving. New person arrives at big company and is given the same email address as ex-employee. Its not a problem many people will encounter but if you've been around 17 years and have 12 years of customer history rapidly available it could be a problem.

As for requiring registration ask about it at the beginning and offer it again at the very end of the purchase path. Surely the rule to apply is a very simple one:-

Anything that causes people to change their chain of thought is a risk that may stop the user finishing that purchase.

over 4 years ago

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Jon Stanesby

A very comprehensive assessment. I would however question the assumption that consumers hate registration. If the Econsultancy/Toluna study you cited said that 25% of consumers would abandon their purchase if asked to register - that means that 75% would not. That implies that only 25% of consumers "hate" registration, which is the minority.

Registration is a way of life form many online purchasers. It enables retailers to provide better CRM and Customer Services by knowing a customers entire order history attached to one record. As marketers it is critical to support intelligent marketing efforts.

As you concluded, there are alternatives to registration, or certainly ways to make it worth while for the customer. Guest checkouts which will resolve your purchase based on your email address to a customer account if it exists or group them in a virtual account until you are ready to register can fulfil the CRM and Customer Service need. Registrations which save time in the future (such as one click checkouts) or even offering an incentive to create an account can also work to "make it worth" registering. These tactics could help you win back some of the 25% who would otherwise have gone elsewhere.

over 4 years ago

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Jon Spriggs

At our site, hsstoolshop.co.uk, we have gone with the Curry's approach and removed all customer registration completely.

As with Curry's, our orders are mainly one off high value orders, not bulk repeat orders like amazon.

We understand our customers would rather complete their address details again, rather than have to remember and recall a username/password. We also have a postcode lookup feature to speed up the checkout process.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Jon Stanesby 25% of people gave registration as their top answer, this doesn't mean that 75% like to register, simply that they find high delivery charges or other isssues more annoying.

I think the stats from ASOS (50% reduction in abandonment after dropping registration) illustrates the point.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Jon Spriggs - I presume you mean the Comet approach?

We'd love to know how this worked out...

over 4 years ago

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Jon Foulds, Marketing Associate at eHarmony

I'm surprised to see Play.com on this list - their whole checkout process is a nightmare.

The basket page always proudly boasts that I'm getting free delivery. But when I don't want free delivery (I want it next day), how to change that is absent - they finally let you change it further down the funnel, but the option isn't available for any pre-orders for some reason.

And if you forget your password on Play.com, you could buy the item ten times over from Amazon in the time it takes to get set back up.

Actually, an article on forgotten password protocol and the risk of lost users through an excessively stringent system might be worthwhile.

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Jon Foulds I didn't head into the Play.com checkout, and haven't shopped from there before. Maybe i'll revisit that for a later post.

I like the forgotten password article idea, I'll write that article at some point.

over 4 years ago

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Kam Jam

Even more annoying than this is websites that insist you register in order to get a total inc delivery. At that point, unless you sell a very niche product, goodbye! Make your delivery clear from the start, esp in the UK where there is (generally) only one rate!

over 4 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACIEnterprise

@Graham great post on the reminder for big retailers to follow ecommerce best practice.

Sadly in HMV's case I think the problem is more deep rooted in their market positioning. HMV used to be the place you went to discover music. Now they are simply another retailer and can be undercut on price by iTunes and Amazon.

Ultimately HMV need to look long and hard at their business model. What I would love to see them do is support local/unsigned musicians in the communities near their store. That way they can begin to sell music and provide passionate music advice that iTunes and Amazon can't replicate.

To survive HMV needs to find its soul.

over 4 years ago

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Richard Laycock, Group Head of Digital channels at Card Protection Plan

A fantastic yet very obvious report which a lot of retailers' continue to miss the point on!!

I would go one step further than what ASOS have done - with a test of course to ensure it is optimised and working well. I would do a combination of the Comet and ASOS checkouts by not even presenting a screen to the customer to ask whether they are an existing customer or new one and do what Comet do by taking the customer straight into the checkout from the basket… After all – the additional step would present an additional point for someone to drop out.

The point where the customer during the checkout form enters their email address (personal details page) - in the back office I would kick off a check to see whether the email address the user has entered is already registered as a result of a previous purchase (without the user knowing hence without interfering with the customers journey). At the point when the customer then proceeds to the payment details page, I would then bring up a message to state to the customer - they already have an account and give then the option to log in at this point (OR to ignore) clearly stating the benefit to them to log in at that EXACT point and the time it will save them.

So – show the customer the message at the point where it is required with clear immediate CTA benefits associated with it is my recommendation – be good to hear your thoughts?

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Rizwan I like the way Comet just dispenses with that intermediate register / guest checkout page altogether and gets straight down to business.

I suspect that ASOS wanted to deal with the abandonments at this stage but still keep registrations coming so, given that it has been successful, perhaps it won't want to take it further than that.

I would definitely advise testing your idea though - if implemented well, it would be an elegant solution.

over 4 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

I'm a bit late to the part here. I'd just add:

1. The amount of data you should request/enforce depends a lot on your business model. For example if you are in a B2B niche with unique content and have recurring revenue streams (like, say, Econsultancy!) then I think you can ask for more data and people will give it. So I certainly wouldn't have a data-capture-less checkout. If you're in a high volume/low margin/commodity/B2C/single-purchase type business then registration-less checkout perhaps makes sense.

2. What I'm most interested in is how this thinking applies to 'social logins' like Facebook or Twitter. My concern with these is how much data the site-owner gets, or more pertinently, *doesn't get*. And I'm wondering whether it makes sense to 'lure' customers in with a simple 'just login with Facebook' and then sneakily append a 'oh and give us your email and password for this site' afterwards. Maybe a bit dastardly but I reckon, if copywritten properly and a nice UX, it could work well...

over 4 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACIEnterprise

@Ashley

Agree with both points and think that there is a value to effort balance to be reached with B2B and B2C.

If I really want the product/download/information and can't get it elsewhere then I'll complete all the forms. In HMV's case I can get the same music through a number of other providers (such as iTunes and Amazon) without the registration hassle.

To repeat my earlier point, HMV need to compete on more than just usability and price. Their entire market position needs reviewing as they're becoming increasingly irrelevant in our digital mobile world.

over 4 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@David Yes, HMV could have the world's most perfect checkout and they'd still have no hope. I'm afraid they've been well and truly 'Amazon-ed' .

over 4 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & Director of Optimisation at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

@Ashley - just picking up on your very valid point regarding the probable willingness for new customers to provide more detailed personal information if they are signing up for a specialist service like Econsultancy. Earlier today I received the Econsultancy 'update your personal details/marketing preferences' email and this was a great example of how once users have bought in to a brand, which could mean having chosen to create an account on an Ecommerce site having completed your first transaction, I have seen that in most cases they are more willing to want to take ownership of their account/profile. This could include providing additional marketing preferences or contact details which they weren't forced to provide during checkout/sign-up.

In summary I'm saying that the focus for getting new customers to order/join/engage should in most cases be kept as simple as possible without causing the user to stop and think 'why are they asking for xyz?', with the understanding that once they are on-board you can progressively request they provide a richer amount of personal data that the brand can use (intelligently and personalised) for marketing & customer communication.

over 4 years ago

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Meacham

Your style is really unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity,
Guess I will just book mark this site.

about 4 years ago

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Madigan

It's obvious. Apple is going to milk this bestseller with yearly upgrades. That is definitely their company model.

about 4 years ago

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Pennington

What coupon websits is there were you don't have to download a progrem to print coupons?Is there a way to print out specific coupons online without a membership to a site or having to go through all manner of ads and hype?.

about 4 years ago

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glendinning

The article was found when trying to explain to my wife the nonsense as applied most recently when she, a registered client, was asked by House of Fraser at the point of secure payment to supply her mobile number "in order we can send you updates" or some such phrase. She NEVER gives that out to commercial companies. House of Fraser make it manditory it seems - no number, no progress to pay and collect in store. HOWEVER if she elects to pay transit then that's all okay.
Can't quite see where your praise for HofF for making options clear ... ? She wants (and used to have) her purchases go through, until this very recent change.
She awaits an answer to her contact asking if this 'segregation' is legal or at best, commercial skullduggery! (BBC Panorama exposes how cold callers get their material from - mobile data filled in to on site shopping!)

almost 4 years ago

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glendinning

FOLLOW UP: House of Fraser - A newly introduced 'additional feature' is now on their web site.

It's a MANDATORY data field (that means leave it blank and you are denied access)

This is only when you have opted to have the FREE delivery to one of their stores.

Having arrived at the Payment section and this is where you MUST put in your

MOBILE PHONE NUMBER. So, they can text you on when the item is delivered.

(They already confirm this instantly to your email address - no need for texting)

Okay? If you do not give that information you have to give up on buying your item

because they will not let you pay for it. Crazy? They don't seem to think so.

It's like entering the store picking an item going to the tills and being asked for your

mobile phone number or they will not allow you to buy the garment.

Well, RELAX - after I complained at the lunacy of this, they gave me the equivalent

of a programmers 'PASS' code. 07000000000. THAT now allows you through to pay.

The even daftest part now follows - they thank you by email and state when they will be

delivering the item to store and that you will also receive a confirmation text to your

mobile number '07000000000' when the item arrives in store. Huh?

We NEVER give our mobile number to any organisation.

That's a known route to Call Centre misery - according to BBC Panorama!

almost 4 years ago

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Anon

Writing as an e-shopper I can only agree with many of the comments here. I loathe registration - this procedure has just lost one online photographic retailer a £750 canon zoom lens sale. I will purchase at a high street shop instead regardless of cost issues. I NEVER shop at websites that request any personal details, especially DOB. I increasingly supply false phone numbers and fictitious e-mail addresses - limiting contact to post alone. It is outrageous that online retailers assume that an online purchase grants permission to submit spam and junk phone calls in perpetuity.

almost 4 years ago

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Simons

Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other person's weblog link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar for you.

almost 4 years ago

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