The Benefits of Account Creation on eCommerce Sites

September 14, 2017
 

For shoppers who create logins on eCommerce sites it’s far easier to provide a unified shopping experience–and while forced account registration is still a major purchase barrier, the convenience of multi-touchpoint access to personal shopping information can be a major selling point. By tying together all their activities with a voluntary login, shoppers make it easy to deliver seamless transactions and personalized experiences.

“Voluntary” remains the key word, however. While the percentage of shoppers who object to forced account creation has dropped, it still hovers at 22%, according to a survey from optimization specialist VWO–meaning that more than one in five potential customers may abandon their cart if required to create a username and password before buying.

Furthermore, given that two-thirds of eCommerce site customers are still first-time buyers, it’s crucial to deliver a user-friendly purchase experience. Especially during the crucial holiday period, the “one-time buyer”  archetype abounds–shoppers who are short on time, hunting for deals on particular products versus staying loyal to store brands, and buying and redeeming gift cards at merchants who are new to them. Sellers should always showcase a streamlined purchase process first and foremost in the hopes of winning an initial sale and repeat business down the road.

But that doesn’t mean giving up on account registration altogether. The trick is to demonstrate that logins benefit shoppers. Given rising expectations for convenience and personalization, there are more opportunities than ever to spotlight how account creation can smooth the path to purchase.

Indeed, while guest checkout may remain the most prominent option from the cart onward, account creation can become one of the eCommerce site’s most ubiquitous features. Among the best practices:

Start with a flexible, customizable eCommerce solution.
The ability to tout smooth sign-on integration with omnichannel services hinges on an eCommerce solution that not only caters to mobile and desktop shoppers, but unifies back-end systems so that order management and fulfillment capabilities can draw from the same profile.

When consumers were asked to name their chief frustration with online checkout, the need to supply the same information multiple times and fill out too many fields topped the list, according to VWO’s survey. With this in mind, merchants should do their utmost to ensure those who create an account save significant keystrokes once they’ve done so. Read here about how Kibo’s unified commerce solution can provide seamless online/offline capabilities.

Design a mobile-first account creation process.
Mobile now dominates online shopping, but mobile purchasing still only accounts for 15% of online sales. Legions of browsing and research sessions on mobile devices lead to desktop or offline purchases–or reach a dead-end when shoppers can’t pick up where they left off.

For that reason, merchants should base their account creation process on the assumption that it will be used primarily by mobile users, and ensure that the process is user-friendly on small screens. Minimal required fields, full integration of social login, and promotion of the ability to save items for later retrieval should all be part of the equation. Learn how Kibo’s eCommerce solution offers responsive flexibility to reach mobile shoppers.

Tie account creation to omnichannel convenience.
In addition to promoting the ability to access previously-considered items on another screen, merchants should spotlight time-saving capabilities when it comes to interactions with local store outlets. Registered shoppers should be able to save store location preferences for viewing available inventory and selecting ship-to-store fulfillment, and the process for reserving or purchasing items for in-store pickup should be streamlined; registered users shouldn’t have to re-enter contact information to receive pickup notifications, for example.

Use logins to save personalization settings.
Merchants can not only save location-based preferences in shoppers’ accounts, but they can connect logins to other settings as well: from results of interactive profile builders that help shoppers narrow their options to preferred sizes and brands to favorite site categories and value-added content.  Access to how-to information for purchased products and quick re-ordering processes can also be accessed via account registration, as can customization options such as engraving, personal designs, and even preferred gifting-related services.

Connect loyalty programs to online accounts.
The ability to earn, track, and redeem loyalty points should be a major incentive for account creation. Connecting loyalty programs to online signin seems like a no-brainer, but delivering on the expectation of seamless, mobile-first integration is an extensive undertaking for many merchants whose points systems predate mobile.

Offer B2B users extensive order management tools via registration.
Sellers catering to business buyers should give even more emphasis to convenience, offering an array of tools related to purchase history through online accounts, including the ability to place re-orders with a single click or the ability to store and apply various payment methods. Shipment and payment tracking, logs and archives for customer service inquiries, and access to a repository of product information can all support business users who take the time to register.

Do you require account registration on your eCommerce site? What incentives do you offer to use it?