Getting customers to create an account on your website has a lot of benefits for everybody, but that doesn’t mean newcomers are always willing to provide you with their information. Whether it’s a concern about privacy, a crunch on time, or simply a desire to avoid spam emails, some customers are very reluctant to set up new online profiles. A guest checkout can cater to these people while keeping the sale in your online store. Without one, you will probably lose potential customers.
What a Guest Checkout Means
The term guest checkout can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to define what it means to a typical online store. When somebody makes a purchase online, the webshop almost always asks for some information which gets saved on the site. This could be as simple as a name and address, or it could be a full online profile. Some customers love to personalize their information, but others prefer not to. The term guest checkout applies to this second group. When an online storefront offers guest checkout, that means that it provides a way for guests to pay for their products without storing any information whatsoever on the site, even if they plan to make another purchase in the future.
Why Some Shops Avoid Using Guest Checkouts
The disadvantage of offering a guest checkout seem obvious. Since you don’t gather any information, it becomes more difficult to determine where the customer falls on the demographic scale. Aside from a confirmation email letting the customer know about the sale, you don’t have any other communications with the guest. This means that you can’t get in touch with the customer to provide newsletters, follow up emails, and future discounts. Because of these factors, many webshop owners balk at the idea of using a guest checkout. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are benefits to providing this option as well, and those benefits often outweigh the risks.
Minimizing the Front End Investment
While store owners obviously prefer to have customers create a full account prior to making a purchase, a new profile page creates a barrier to entry that can cause some visitors to abandon their carts before the checkout process is complete. This is especially true for mobile customers, who may not have the time to enter a lot of personal information before they have to be elsewhere during a busy day. As many as 25% of customers who don’t have an account with a webstore will abandon a purchase when required to create an account before checkout. That is a lot of lost sales that could be saved with a simple guest checkout option.
Building Customer Trust
One of the biggest advantages to providing a guest checkout option is the ability to gain trust from your customers. When you offer a way to check out that doesn’t require a lot of information up front, you show your customers that you value their time and want to make the process as smooth as possible. You also show confidence that the customer will return without needing a lot of additional marketing efforts on your part to entice them back. Whether they know it or not, customers value stores that show them this level of respect and are more likely to return. Thus, the guest checkout becomes a tool that helps minimize lost sales while also establishing a rapport with the customer that can grow in the future.
Creating a Quick Profile
While many online stores are hesitant to allow a guest to make a purchase without first creating a profile, those sites ignore one of the other key values of a guest checkout: the ability to fill in a profile after the fact. Guests who go through this checkout method still need to provide essential billing and shipping information, such as name, address, and payment data. If you provide a checkbox during the process that allows a guest to create an account with this information, you make the registration process easier for the customer. This keeps the customer in control, since they can always choose not to use the option, but gives them a way to register that feels faster than signing up before making the purchase.
Because of the benefits it provides and the fact that it can often lead to more registrations on a webshop rather than fewer, a guest checkout is a very valuable tool to use. You can help make life easier for the customer while still getting all the benefits of a sale and possibly an account registration, all by giving the customer control of the process.