Please note: in the UK version of this article I investigate different sites from the ones featured here, including UK versions of Amazon and Apple. These checkouts are identical to their US counterparts, so please click on the link above to see my findings.
American Eagle Outfitters
A guest checkout means we’re off to a flying start. The language is also suitably laid back and pressure free: “no worries” and “you can choose”.
Barnes and Noble
Positioning guest checkout to the left, subtly infers that customer convenience is a priority.
Right from the beginning of the process you can see that creating an account Is optional and will happen after payment.
Another guest checkout, making three for three so far. “No problem”. Ecommerce shopping in the USA so far seems like a very relaxing proposition.
Best Buy also has one of the clearest and user-friendly checkout experiences I’ve witnessed.
There seems to be a theme developing here where all new customers have to click the same button and go through the same process, with the option to create an account appearing after payment. This is very encouraging.
Drat. CDW ruined the winning streak. This form doesn’t just ask for your email though, it even asks for a username (even through you’ve just used your unique email), a password and then it slaps you in the face with a Captcha.
Costco presents immediate forced registration, on a rather cluttered checkout page.
Crate & Barrel
A beautifully succinct guest checkout, also with an added option for ‘express checkout’, which subtly suggests that choosing to register your details, will have its benefits.
Dell offers multiple convenience for checkout, sign in as guest or with any of the listed social profiles.
I also like the clutter free checkout, where you can easily access the benefits of creating an account.
Guest checkout is featured, but with this many options it’s easy to miss it. Perhaps streamlining guest checkout with registering is the key here.
There is a guest checkout here with option to create an account later.
As well as offering guest checkout, Gap also states clearly why it needs your email address in the first place.
The Home Depot
Guest checkout and the reassurance that emails will only be used for order confirmations.
A nice minimalist guest checkout, with an option to use PayPal on the previous screen for added convenience.
The benefits are spelled out in both ‘returning customer’ and guest checkout areas, with the ability to create an account presented as an option at the end.
A great piece of copy is featured here in the guest checkout, with plenty of reassurance and clarity.
There’s slightly different wording in this example from other guest checkouts. ‘No profile yet?’ possibly creates confusion for the customer and could be a barrier for those wanting a quick checkout.
Here there’s an entry field that multiplies depending on which option along the top you’ve chosen.
Perhaps a few words on why it requires an email address wouldn’t go amiss here.
A far too cluttered checkout, with a wide array of options possibly clouds the guest checkout.
A guest checkout is presented, however the option to create an account is offered on the next screen where address information in needed. I would suggest this would be better placed after payment.
Guest checkout is prioritised above the separate create new account option, with social sign-in and PayPal options available too.
Sears keeps all its options together, with a single email entry field. Registration benefits are clearly stated.
Staples buries its guest checkout option and goes a little too heavy on spelling out the benefits of registration.
Target is pretty easy going with its guest checkout. “You don’t need to sign in, just continue and create an account later if you’d like.”
Very tastefully presented options, plus this is one of the only examples here to offer the PayPal option on the same page.
And finally, Walmart presents a guest checkout and even states there’s a PayPal option when you get to payment.
According to my own users tests an impressive 23 out of the 25 top US ecommerce sites offer a guest checkout.
This is fantastic news and something we should definitely think about in the UK, where only a third of the sites I tested used guest checkout.
Guest checkouts offer convenience and speed for the customer and a quick route to conversion. If you provide customers with the minimum amount of barriers and distractions they will likely come back to your site. They may also be in less of a rush next time and may even have time to ‘save their details’ with you.
Guest checkout also doesn’t have to mean losing valuable customer data, as long as registration options are provided at the end of checkout and the details are already filled out.
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