Customer and guest checkouts have their own pros and cons and play a role in the overall shopping experience of your online store. Each caters to different customer preferences and needs. Let’s take a look at how each account accommodates different kind of customers and how to offer both options.
Pros & Cons of Guest Checkouts:
Guest checkout means that a user can make an online purchase without creating an account on the store. It offers several benefits both to the user and merchant. First, guest checkout is quick. Users can complete their purchase without having to create an account. Second, users don’t like to be forced to sign up for an account as they are reluctant to provide their details, particularly if they are first time visitors. If you force them to register before proceeding to checkout, they will more likely abandon the purchase thinking you are only after their data. Third, guest checkout gives customers a feeling that you trust them.
Guest checkouts benefit merchants too. First, it increases the conversion rate. Since there is no interruption of account creation and customers can complete their purchase smoothly, it decreases the cart abandonment rate. Once a user has added a product to cart, he expects the checkout process to be simple and smooth.
All is not good with guest checkout. There are some drawbacks too albeit minor. The first is that merchants can’t use the email addresses for marketing purposes like sending newsletters, promotional material, discount offers, etc. They also can’t ask customers for feedback to make improvements.
If you compare the pros and cons of guest checkout, it is obvious that its benefits are more and disadvantages are almost negligible. So it’s always a good practice to allow guests to checkout in an ecommerce store. Some online platforms like Magento does not offer guest checkouts by default i.e. meaning customers must create an account to checkout. For such platforms, you can use tools such as Magento 2 guest to customer extension to automatically convert guest users to customers and allow them to skip the mandatory account creation.
Pros & Cons of Customer Accounts
When a user opens an account on your store and becomes a registered customer, it offers them to have a more interactive experience. For example, they can leave reviews and participate in the store’s forum. Registered accounts offer merchants a lot of marketing opportunities too. For example, they can send registered customers promotional materials, deals, newsletters, and targeted products. They can also streamline the checkout process for user accounts by saving customer billing information and save them from reentering for every purchase.
How to Use Both?
As we saw, guest checkout is almost necessary for online stores so you can’t ignore it. At the same time, you also might want users to create accounts so that you have data for targeted marketing. So how to use both the options to leverage their benefits?
The best way is to allow guest users to create an account after the checkout. If they opt for it, it means they are interested to receive marketing information from you. If they don’t, forcing them to become registered customers won’t have helped you anyway. This way, you won’t disrupt the checkout process while at the same time encourage guests to become customers.