Guest Checkout Default - Spiralyze

Guest Checkout Default

Usability High Priority 15% Adoption 5 Seconds Saved

Guest checkouts should be the default option for users – forced account creation is a conversion killer and should be deployed only when there is a very compelling strategic rationale.
Conversion Opportunity 0.8%

Forcing users to create an account adds work to the checkout. Customers feel experience forced account creation as high commitment don’t like it

The rationale for forcing account creation is that users with accounts can purchase more easily resulting in higher Lifetime Value (LTV) of the customer. But, this makes sense in only a few, where recurrent purchases are expected (think Amazon.com). In circumstances where the majority of users have only occasional needs, our rule of thumb is less than once-a-quarter, forcing account creation loses. Where a user uses a guest checkout, friction imposed by needing to remember a username & password that is infrequently used, changing credit card and/or shipping details (which change on average once every 16 months DO MATH), and often still need to dig your credit card out of your wallet to find the CCV.

One of the first pages most users see in a checkout asks them to choose between creating an account, or using a guest checkout. Worse are the sites that demand the user create an account – and to spend time thinking up a username and password. Account creation can be a massive source of friction and a serial conversion-killer.

Defaulting to guest checkout is a simple and massively effective way to reduce friction. The first post-cart page users should see is where they begin entering their name and address. If they wish to login to their account, place that option clearly in the header, but don’t force them into extra clicks by making that choice its own section.

Making guest checkout the default mode is a quick way to reduce friction.

Usage

Websites usually tackle account creation in one of three ways. The most common option is to make the first checkout page a place to choose between logging into an existing account, creating an account, or using a guest checkout. As long as the guest checkout option is prominent, this is workable – however, it still sucks the user’s time and adds friction to their purchase.

The worst examples force the user to create an account. This signals from the very beginning that users will be spending more time than they ever wanted thinking up usernames, typing in a password, confirming that password, and being forced to jump through more hoops than a trained dolphin – Just to make a simple purchase. This kills conversions.

The best implementations, like Toys R Us above, send the user immediately into the checkout without asking them about guest checkouts or accounts. Guest checkouts are the default, and the option to login to an account is displayed prominently yet unobtrusively to the side or in the header.

Dick's Sporting Goods shows every user the default checkout, providing a discreet login option and no forced account creation.

Finishline offer a prominent guest checkout, but still makes selecting it an extra step.

H&M forces account creation upon users without one already, massively increasing friction.

Adoption

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Guest Checkout Default has an 15% adoption rate among our benchmark group.

Best Practices

Default to Guest Checkout

Account creation – when not forced upon users – can sometimes help keep repeat customers. Include this option in your checkout, but push it to the side or in the header, where it will not cause friction for customers wishing to avoid account creation.

Include Unobtrusive Login Option

Account creation – when not forced upon users – can sometimes help keep repeat customers. Include this option in your checkout, but push it to the side or in the header, where it will not cause friction for customers wishing to avoid account creation.

Automatic Account Creation

If you want to force account creation, do it on the back end, after the purchase. Automatically create an account on purchase, and prompting users post-purchase to provide an account password - emailing them one if they don’t.

Examples

Good

Dick's Sporting Goods Example

Dick's Sporting Goods shows every user the same checkout to start unless they choose to login.

Toys R Us Example

Toys-R-Us shows every user the same checkout to start unless they choose to login.

Okay

CVS Example

CVS provides a guest checkout option, but it must be selected manually - it's not the default.

Bad

Zappos Example

Zappos forces account creation.