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Ecommerce Forum

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Why do ecommerce websites increasingly require customers to register?
Just interested.
bouncybunny




msg:3364049
 4:57 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've noticed that I am increasingly having to register with web sites when I make purchases online.

Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it takes so long that I give up and go away. But even when it is easy, I generally get fed up with having to register, check my email, log in and remember all of this the next time or keep records. And then there is the fear of getting spammed.

I can think of several occasions in the last month where I have simply gone to another web site and purchased from there, simply to avoid yet another pain in the neck registration process, or to avoid scrolling through my old emails to locate the password. Sometimes the other site has even been a bit more expensive, but my time is also money.

So I would be interested in hearing why eCommerce site owners have increasingly gone down this registration route. I can understand the marketing appeal. Marketing people love to have databases of customers. But from a customer point of view it is a real turn off.

 

piatkow




msg:3365721
 7:46 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Registration is of value if you are making regular repeat purchases. I want to be registered with the site that sells me pet food in bulk as I go there every few weeks and don't want to keep retyping the delivery instructions etc. I don't want to be forced to register for a one off purchase.

bwnbwn




msg:3365734
 8:07 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I offer either or the reason why is a good many customers don't like to have to add their billing and shipping information each time they reorder as they are most the time at work and in a hurry. Boss may be lurking.

Registration saves some time as it populates the order all they nned to do is enter the cc information.

Believe it or not this was requested many many times so when I purchased a cart I made sure this feature was available.

I am like bill I won't buy from a site that forces a registration so in all fairness I offer either or so as to not lose customers as Bill or myself and keep the ones that like this coming back as well...

pageoneresults




msg:3365759
 8:45 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Registration saves some time as it populates the order all they nned to do is enter the cc information.

I use my "AutoFill" features in instances such as that. :)

netmeg




msg:3365773
 9:04 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Besides, most people don't use those silly wish lists unless it's a bridal or baby registry.

Or it's an industrial client who wants to order 100,000 widgets and allocate them in lots of thousands to various branches and subsidiaries...

(and my entire family uses the amazon wish lists extensively at christmas time)

blend27




msg:3365833
 10:47 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

--- Besides, most people don't use those silly wish lists unless it's a bridal or baby registry ---

and the again, it depends on the product you selling. you could call a wishlist or you could call it a clip board, the one that does not need registration. i see customers using it all the time. and they are able to email their friend an entire wishlist(and then the SUGA_Daddy comes and spends a thou, thouse are nice), or save it for later to access it from more private location like home. if the site has personality people use it. if it looks like out of the box oScOmMeRcE - not realy, it is how you present it...

that is my 1c

Helpinghand




msg:3365839
 11:00 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

With all the publicity about the security of personal data

The registration process actually improves security eg: Passwords and usernames all help stop unauthorised access, bots and missuse of accounts for the client. Don't forums use this very process.....

The Data Protection Act makes it illegal to sell, modify or hold data without permission of the owner. You can now be fined in the UK for selling data, and this is punishible in County Court. Heck the plaintiff doesn't even need to turn up and give evidence to win.

Registration is very safe and I welcome anything that protect folks on the web. Sure you may lose a few sales, but these will soon catch on that companies do this TO make a safer shopping experience. Someone buys from me and then some criminal accesses their details, omg - they'd soon be screaming blue murder and the come back would be on me. No Thanks!

incrediBILL




msg:3365856
 11:42 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

The registration process actually improves security eg: Passwords and usernames all help stop unauthorised access, bots and missuse of accounts for the client.

Actually, registration just adds one more point of vulnerability for the hackers to get even MORE information about online shoppers, such as their passwords and many use the same password all over the place.

You might want to argue that the passwords are encrypted, but that just shows a lack of how hackers operate. Hackers infiltrate servers and drop a line of code in the registration process to send your RAW information via email or IRC, seen it done. This is also how hackers bypass CC encryption by sending the information to the hacker BEFORE it's encrypted.

Now if you want more fun, they collect the store owners password for decrypting order information the same way. Then they can download and decode all those credit cards and passwords at their leisure and remove all evidence they've ever been on your server.

Registration is very safe and I welcome anything that protect folks on the web.

Yup, I feel more secure, register me now.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:43 pm (utc) on June 12, 2007]

incrediBILL




msg:3365859
 11:48 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Stores that maintain your credit card information online for "rapid checkout" when you LOGIN should be shot.

The only thing I save in my store online is the authorization number supplied by the credit card processor as anything else is a liability and security risk for either me or my customer. Not worth all that risk for a little convenience.

I don't need that credit card for any other purpose than initially making the transaction as my payment processor let's me void, add to charge, refund, etc. without ever seeing the card number ever again. If your payment processor doesn't offer this, find one that does and you'll be better off.

klown




msg:3365930
 1:25 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Logins are a pain in the arse plain and simple, before we go onwards I really despise logins in general.

Recently I've been working on a new e-commerce site for a client and they really want the customer to login.. Its taken me hours to convince them that all they really need to ask for is an email and password and checkbox for newsletter.. the account is created without the whole email click thing, though an email is dispatched with login details and perks of the account (tracking). Then they move onto the sale at paypal (where they will have to type billing information). Once they return they are prompted to provide more information such as mailing address, phone, signing up for the news letter. Because all we ask for before paypal is a email and password we're likely to get it without a problem.

As to the question of why they need a registration in the first place.. Backups..

1. By having relying not just on paypal you can track customers to give them better service (though that rarely happens).
2. My current customers are working on a very nice newsletter which I'm sure will drive business and return customers so thats a benefit.
3. Customers expect them, without having one some customers will doubt the professionalism of a e-commerce site.. sad but true.

Helpinghand




msg:3365941
 1:41 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hang on - I think what this is really about is length of the signing up process.

But even so, the reason why commerce sites like it is to get contact info. Spam and selling of data is a different matter ofcourse, but I like registering for stuff - as it shouts professionalism and hunger for me as a customer.

Think there is too much panic and there really is no need (not for simply signing up). If you want a certain service and the provider wants you to sign up - you really have little option. That is if you truly want the service....

BananaFish




msg:3365946
 1:49 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Explicit registration in an inherent weakness of a vendor's CRM software. A web site that requires registration either falls in one of two categories:

1) The ecommerce software was free or very inexpensive, and this is how the checkout works.

2) We're a huge retailer, we don't mind trading off your possible purchase abandonment, in exchange for being able to market (spam) you for the rest of your life.

Habtom




msg:3366062
 6:32 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I never tried it, but I have this idea of asking customers to put password at the very end of the process. The text could go something like "Your order is complete. If you would like to put passwords for future orders and order tracking, please do so here."

What do you think?

Habtom

jecasc




msg:3366107
 7:41 am on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Registration has nothing to do with marketing as many seem to think here. Because the number of data collected is the same if you have registered or not and the data is saved and used for marketing purposes if you have registered or not.

Take for example the OScommerce shopping cart. When an OScommerce shop uses the "Checkout without account" addon the data is stored exactly the same way as before and a customer account is created when you order. The only difference is that no personal password is saved and you cannot access your account. So believing your data is not saved or sold or used for marketing purposes when you have not "created an account" is simply an illusion.

Helpinghand




msg:3366310
 12:58 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

The ecommerce software was free or very inexpensive, and this is how the checkout works.

If you can't afford to build something custom made... Large companies will use custom built websites - problem solved!

We're a huge retailer, we don't mind trading off your possible purchase abandonment, in exchange for being able to market (spam) you for the rest of your life.

There are laws to protect buyers these days - and they are very effective. Some 22 year old kid got 3 years in Jail and a huge fine for spamming - got to love it!

Helpinghand




msg:3366319
 1:06 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

jecasc

-- exactly. You refuse to register, fine - I'll just grab your details another way. I used to do this with email addresses, when clients didn't give them up when using my old system.

Sure it takes longer, but I'll still get your emails. Obviously I'm not going to spam, as it's illegal and I don't fancy going to court etc. It's just that many businesses rely soley on direct mail sales, soooooo they have to get the emails to sell to clients again.

But if someone is a client and being looked after anyway - I don't see the problem. Being clients, they already submitted themselves to service and being sold to. It's just reselling guys - everybody does it!

And if they tell you they aren't selling - well, then their liars too.

skweb




msg:3366470
 3:29 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

To me the best model is (and many companies already do it):
1. Give a choice upfront about shopping as a guest or opening an account. Personally, if I don't have that choice, I go elsewhere even if the price is slightly higher.
2. Just because I shopped you once, it does not give you right to contact me again unless you take permission from explicitly. If not, I will simply mark you guys as spam and never shop again. Might even tell a few friends that you love to spam.
3. Trust me, if you guys are good and I loved shopping once, I will return and even open an account. I might also give permission to email me regularly.

Consumers are savvy today and want to control everything.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3366478
 3:45 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Being clients, they already submitted themselves to service and being sold to. It's just reselling guys - everybody does it!

Did they?

If I buy something online and during the checkout process I am asked if I want to hear about special offers and I agree to this then that's fine. If I opt not to and you contact me then it's Spam, no ifs, no buts.

pageoneresults




msg:3366483
 3:57 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

So believing your data is not saved or sold or used for marketing purposes when you have not "created an account" is simply an illusion.

Oooh, I almost missed that one. This is so true. The "sold data" part is worrying. I don't mind "for marketing purposes" from the company I purchased from if I checked the box at checkout that allowed "them" to send me additional information.

I recently purchased roses and other flowers for my garden online. I wanted to compare the quality of "ordering direct" as opposed to shopping at the local nurseries. Personally, I won't do that again. The local nurseries win by a wide margin.

During checkout, I made sure that I unselected all those checkboxes that were preselected for me. Some site owners are very creative with how they get you to subscribe and/or receive offers. I've backed out of the buying experience as soon as I found myself in that type of situation.

Anyway, for the past two weeks, I've now been receiving printed catalogs from other companies in similar industries. I'll be damn if my information wasn't sold within a very short period of time. And I could have sworn I unchecked everything regarding sending me additional information.

Helpinghand




msg:3366508
 4:25 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

if I want to hear about special offers and I agree to this then that's fine. If I opt not to and you contact me then it's Spam, no ifs, no buts.

Hey, I'm with you on this one. It depends what each registration service does for clients.

Registration is obviously open to much criticism - the word can mean much, and feel like one is signing their life away. There is certainly much fear about joining this or signing that, and rightly so when we consider scams, identity theft and fraud, but reckon spam is the real problem for buyers - and not the actual process of signing up.

spikey




msg:3366542
 4:59 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I never tried it, but I have this idea of asking customers to put password at the very end of the process.

That's exactly how I do it. It's on their receipt page and it's optional.

I agree with the statment that's it's just about how you lable it.
Unless you've got something downloadable I assume you're getting both billing and shipping information in your cart. No need to ask for that in a "registration" process. UPS requires a phone number so that's part of your shipping info.

AFAIK, the only optionals would be email address and a password. We currently require an email addresses, for various confirmation emails. That's how we identify customers as well. However, because of this thread I may consider making that optional. We don't require a password, but it's an option if you want us to remember and autofill your previous info and access our account area which has a variety of useful features.

I think the true debate is whether or not you require email or password. Everything else you've got to get anyways. If you make them give it before you show them the total price of their order (product prices, discounts, taxes, shipping) then you're just throwing money out the window.

Essex_boy




msg:3366721
 8:09 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a one page checkout, no registration only a remember me feature

pageoneresults




msg:3366796
 9:21 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a one page checkout, no registration only a remember me feature.

It doesn't get any simpler than that, does it? I really like the one page checkout process. The more steps you add, the higher your percentage of "bails" from the checkout process.

kjs50




msg:3366844
 10:21 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

We use a little trick. We don't require registration, but we have a optional box on top where they can enter their last name and email to pull their previous shipping address...no credit card details are stored or pulled up.

this way they can get the benefit of registration without registering :)

i wish this was a standard feature on most carts.

physics




msg:3366878
 10:52 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not asking for an email address is an interesting idea. However, your company might end up looking bad when the customer later complains on their blog that they didn't get an order confirmation or couldn't easily contact you, etc.

kjs50




msg:3366896
 11:21 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

we require email address on all orders, but they can just enter the email and last name to lookup if they ordered previously. If they did, then it fills out the box. If they know they have not ordered previously then they just skip that box and start filling out their info.

AffiliateDreamer




msg:3366909
 11:38 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Would it be a "good" idea to ASK the customer:

"Do you want us to STORE your credit card number in our database?"

Chances are most people will say now just thinking about it hehe.

incrediBILL




msg:3366915
 11:43 pm on Jun 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Would it be a "good" idea to ASK the customer:

"Do you want us to STORE your credit card number in our database?"

Not only is it a bad idea, if your site gets breached and those cards decrypted and get used in the wild you're wide open to all sorts of fines by the credit card company, possibly the state you live in, and maybe sued by the customer.

Can you say BAD IDEA?

Helpinghand




msg:3367505
 2:39 pm on Jun 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Exactly - why open open the floodgates to abuse never mind prosecution. We don't store credit card info - pure and simple!

This could be another main fear about 'registering'. The solution is simple, if you are that worried about it, then don't sign-up.

But you won't get what you're after unless you do sign-up, and sometimes, just sometimes the site may not missuse that data...

Trust is the key here, and you will always find out if anyone does sell your data - then you can always sue them can't you.

Helpinghand




msg:3367515
 2:47 pm on Jun 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bad company - naughty company! lol

Calm down the business world from all this labelling - that's the ticket. Yes, there are some bad apples (we all know this) but also some genuinely great ones out there that actually seem to care about the service they provide, trouble is they share the blame with the criminals.

I mean what are we going to do, never buy anything ever again?

Jhlim




msg:3367604
 4:14 pm on Jun 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

the good news is competition is working on the end of the user. A la style web 2.0 to simplify registration without asking to many questions. Amazon has a patented one-click shopping button to help this buying process. Look at Craigslist, they can retain such high client loyalty without registration...that could be a glimpse of what the near future is...

...darn..i need to register just to reply to this! :P
\
Justin

[edited by: lorax at 3:28 pm (utc) on June 19, 2007]

Habtom




msg:3368332
 7:42 am on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Justin,

Welcome to webmasterworld :)

Not only you had to register, you should have come across that no URLs are allowed in the threads [Unless the moderators are impressed by the nice graphics in there :) ]

Hab

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