The checkout process is crucial for your business and its engagement rates, but what’s best for your company? We review guest checkout and customer checkout to analyze what’s the best option for you and your customers.
Checking out is the last and more important step for your users, so keeping the highest conversion rate is determining. There are many factors to consider before creating or optimizing your checkout process. Keep reading to decide whether you need a guest checkout method or a sign up method.
What is the checkout process in an e-commerce? What kind of processes are there?
Let’s start with the basics. The checkout process is the procedure followed by a customer in a e-commerce, where they check their items in the shopping cart and proceed to payment.
This process starts once the customer clicks on “Checkout” in the shopping cart area and finishes after the sale is completed.
The checkout process may be different in terms of data sharing and your customer’s identity: they can proceed to pay as a guest or signing up in your site and creating an account.
Guest checkout: Pros and cons of checking out as a guest
The guest checkout is the method where customers don’t need to create an account or log in to purchase a product in an e-commerce. This system won’t store any information from your customers in your database.
A guest checkout is a good method for businesses oriented to one-time sales. Analyzing your business is crucial to decide which process is better. Is your product likely to be bought more than once? Does your business need to decrease the number of clicks or hoops as much as possible? Examine your needs before making your choice.
These are some of the bright and not-so-bright sides of the guest checkout mean:
Pros of guest checkout
✔️ Fast and friendly
Customers suffer from less account fatigue. The process becomes easier and user-friendly for them.
✔️ Sales are more likely to be completed
Abandon rates tend to decrease thanks to the fast process. Hot leads or customers may be more likely to buy if they don’t find obstacles during the process.
Cons of guest checkout
❌ Less data
We all know by now the importance of tracking data. If getting data is a key objective for your business, you may need to rethink your checkout process.
❌ Less engagement in the long term
While sales may seem easier to achieve, in the long term you would want customers to be engaged.
❌ More effort when dealing with not-so-smooth sales
If you have an e-commerce, keep in mind the user journey doesn’t finish with the sale. If your team handles complaints or returns, the guest checkout may slow down these practices.
Customer accounts: Pros and cons of user registration
The customer account is the method where customers are required to go through user registration. The user needs to create an account (or log in) where they will include their name, phone number, email or address. This information will be stored at your database and will be used when the user returns to the checkout process.
User registration is undeniable a better option in the long term. Even though it takes more time, this process saves more time for returning customers. This is an ideal process if your business gets regular and returning visitors or if you pursue engagement.
Here you have some advantages and disadvantages if you choose customer accounts for your checkout system.
Pros of checking out as a customer
✔️ Long-term engagement
Keeping your customers data in your database helps you creating an engagement with them. You can try sending notifications, newsletters or suggesting clients to join a loyalty program. Customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention: depending on the sector, acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining previous customers, according to Harvard Business Review.
✔️ Easily modify or track orders
Tracking orders in a e-commerce becomes easier (both for the client and the company) if the client uses an account. Users may be more likely to repeat an order and your team will execute orders smoothly.
✔️ Easier returns
If your business has a high rate of returns or complaints, your Customer Happiness Team will be more efficient if the checkout process implies signing up.
Cons of checking out as a customer
❌ Account fatigue
Are you sick of creating yet another account to purchase an item? So are your customers. On the bright side, you can always optimize your signup form to increase conversion rates, such as with a social login.
❌ Abandon rates increase
According to A Medium Corporation, abandon rates decrease up to 35 % when clients are forced to sign up.
Bonus Track: 5 tips to optimize your checkout procedure
Checkout is probably the most important step in your customer’s journey, since it leads directly to a sale. Keeping you conversion rates as high as possible during this phase will have much more impact in your business. Here you have 5 tips to increase your checkout procedure:
1. Analyze the whole process
To optimize any aspect of your site, you will need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and question everything. Execute a deep CRO session to find any aspect that me be improved. Is the UX smooth? Are there any distractions for the user? Does the site seem secure? Are the forms clear and short? Is the copy appealing enough? Examine your site in deep and run an A/B test when in doubt.
2. Keep it simple
The user’s intention during this phase is quite unequivocal. If they reach this step, your forms should be as simple and clear as possible. Try to keep this process smooth - having a minimum number of clicks or including the ideal number of fields in your forms will help you optimize this procedure.
3. Offer help (without distracting)
If your e-commerce or site has some kind of customer-assistance tool - like a chatbot - you should include it in the checkout process. Clients may have questions about the products, concerns about the payment methods, doubts about delivery processes and much more. Be present without distracting them. Finding a balance with a good UX design will make a difference for your clients and your business.
4. Keep the content visible
Keeping the details of the shopping cart visible helps engagement and eases the whole process. Save some space for product details, shipping costs or the total price so your customers don’t need to go back.
5. Think long-term
As attractive as a hot sale may seem, inviting the customer to create an account has many benefits for your business in the long term. Think about the future and confront statistics from your own sector to make the right decision.
As you have seen, choosing the right approach for your checkout process is not that obvious. Adapting your choice to your company’s needs is crucial to improve your numbers and keep your customers happy. Analyzing customers’ behavior and your team’s methodology will help you find the ideal solution.