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This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: 76 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
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.

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3364116
 7:16 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't know they do this but I must say that I agree with you.

Voxman




msg:3364136
 7:56 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

We leave it up to the customer at the end of the process. But we also make sure we spell out the advantages of having a registration like being able to track their order online and having their shipping and billing information ready for the next order.

But ultimately it's up to them. On the final page we give the option for you to add a password (we use the email on the account as the initial log in)

PCInk




msg:3364149
 8:29 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have done the same, moved on to buy elsewhere because of being forced to register. Not because I don't want to register, but because their shipping cost is not on the product page or the terms and conditions page so I'll put the item in the basket. You can't see the basket unless you are logged in (i.e. registered) so I've moved on to another site.

Shipping is part of the cost. I am not registering to see your prices.

jaski




msg:3364159
 8:43 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

One advantage could be that if you plan to sell your website .. a database of registered users improves valuations.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3364178
 9:01 am on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

... like being able to track their order online and having their shipping and billing information ready for the next order.

This is fine but when I buy something online I am almost always doing so as a one off purchase and I have no concern for the next order. Clearly the website owner is hoping for a long term relationship with the customer but the customer seldom thinks about this.

Shipping is part of the cost. I am not registering to see your prices.

I agree 100%. This really angers me and I never do business with sites that operate like this.

Habtom




msg:3364453
 4:06 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> One advantage could be that if you plan to sell your website .. a database of registered users improves valuations.

:) of forcefully registered customers, who were just scared of their info being sold to somebody else.

bouncybunny




msg:3364522
 5:23 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

And who probably entered garbage Yahoo/Hotmail email addresses that they let lapse within days of making the purchase.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3364528
 5:31 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps they did.

If so it proves that they don't want to register and they don't like being forced to register, which is what the thread is about.

budgie




msg:3364611
 6:56 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder if a distinction needs to be made between an obvious registration and a "subtle" one? How much difference is there really between the information you need to register, and the information you need to checkout: name, billing address, shipping address, email, phone? All a registration does is add a password into the mix.

If that is the case, why would any site a) insist on registration before viewing final prices or anything else of importance, and b) use the word registration during checkout? Surely people are registering in a way anyway when they are checking out, and all you have to do is give them the opportunity to enter a password of their choice so they can check the status of their order, checkout quicker next time etc. That's certainly the approach we take, so we have a normal checkout but an option to sign in if you've been through it before and you wish to use your previous information.

The other thing is the type of product you sell - if it's a regularly purchased consumeable, and you have a high rate of returning customers, I'm sure they would be grateful that they don't have to fill in their address etc every time they shop. If you sell one-off items, then there's no need to offer this.

That said, we still get queries from customers asking how they can register on the site, so there's no winning!

Jane_Doe




msg:3364653
 7:36 pm on Jun 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Web sites that make you register just to put something in a shopping cart, before you are ready to pay or even know the final costs including shipping, always seem a bit scammy to me. I tend to avoid those places as much as possible.

sniffer




msg:3364934
 1:55 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Forcing registration is my No.1 pet hate of e commerce stores. Imagine you had to go and retrieve a form before you bought something at the local store...

jecasc




msg:3365226
 10:49 am on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

The main reason I let my customers register is because it makes accounting much easier. The products I offer are used up in 6 weeks to 3 month and the number of returning customers is high. So when a customer orders several times, returns some of the products, wants to allocate the amount with his next order, accidently makes a bank-transfer with a wrong amount, issues a chargeback and so on it is quite difficult not to loose sight of the balance if he is not assigned a customer account with an unique ID.

But I do not call it "registration" on my website. When a first time customer orders I display the site with a field for "returning customers" and ask new customers to type in their address and ask for a password so they can check the status of their order and track the parcel once it's shipped.

But the main reason why the number of websites that require customer accounts is so high is much simpler in my opinion: The functionality is preset in in many shoppingcart systems like OSCommerce.

unperturbed




msg:3365317
 12:55 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can't really see much difference in registering and not registering apart from the wording and maybe having to fill in a password field.

Just because they don't ask you to register don't mean they don't hold your details in a database.

I agree all prices shoud be displayed upfront though.

bouncybunny




msg:3365407
 2:52 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's less the details in the database that concerns me. It's the pain in the neck of having to register, get a password, confirm the email address, log in... before buying the product.

I just want to;

1. select a product.
2. add it to a shopping basket.
3. check out and enter card details.
4. receive/download product.
5. never hear from, or go to, that web site again until I decided I need to buy something from it.

bsterz




msg:3365418
 3:03 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

More often than not I find this to be "default" behavior by many tech people. They just assume that you must have this. I've never understood it.

pageoneresults




msg:3365422
 3:04 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

1. select a product.
2. add it to a shopping basket.
3. check out and enter card details.
4. receive/download product.
5. never hear from, or go to, that web site again until I decided I need to buy something from it.

I like that process myself. So much so, that I've implemented it with client sites. We have both a "Registered User" and an "Anonymous User" checkout process. We let the client know up front that they can checkout either way, it's up to them. If they register, we can store their entered information (no CC data is stored). There are benefits for registered users and those who wish to take advantage of them, can. Those who don't can breeze through the "Anonymous" checkout process as described by bouncybunny above.

I usually find that if I don't like something, many others are of the same mindset. Its nice to nip it in the bud before it becomes a major issue. And this particular part of checkout is where you can make or break the site.

unperturbed




msg:3365434
 3:11 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree bouncybunny, but I don't mind giving a password along the way so I can come back and track my order etc

netmeg




msg:3365569
 5:34 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think there are a lot of reasons for registering, and I also think there might be some differences between B2C and B2B (most of my experience is B2B) -

- the customers want to keep track of their orders, develop purchasing or wish lists, and utilize a one-click reorder function, and maintain an address book with multiple shipping locations.

- the site has to integrate efficiently with the back end - accounting and logistics - and, particularly with customers who are on invoice terms, only certain people are authorized to order. We also have to deal with branches with different buying levels, etc.

- Busy people don't always like re-entering their information over and over. We frequently heard "why can't you remember us?" with previous ecommerce packages.

- we're not unwilling to show tax and shipping charges ahead of registration, but in order to do that, we're going to need a city, state and zip code at the very least. To me it's just as bad to have the anonymous user type it in once to get the quote, and then again to place the order, as it is to have them log in.

- we want to track information on abandoned shopping carts.

Everyone is effectively registering anyway, as soon as they place the order. The only difference is the password, and at what point in the process they fill all this information out. I'm working on making the latter part easier. But I don't have any problem with requiring the customers to register. And I don't have any problem registering on sites from which I purchase for myself, either. I know how important the information is.

spikey




msg:3365571
 5:41 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I run an ecommerce site and we certainly don't force registration. As others have said, there's little difference between an order that is "registered" and "non-registered". We deal with the ambiguity offline, in our databases. Forcing anything upfront from a user leads to lost sales and is simply unnecessary for any company with the most basic technical skills.

I recently signed up with my gas company's website so I could see my most recent bill online. They forced me to choose and fill out *5* personal questions, choose a "site key" picture and confirm my account with specific questions of usage from my last bill. Just to see my gas bill online!

Helpinghand




msg:3365589
 5:54 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I incorporated a client management thingy last year, and it makes things much easier. It's good for the clients as this works like adwords does - everything is centralised for ease of use for the client.

This is such a normal thing now on the web - but nobody ever complains about Adword's system do they....

It's just a case of getting used to something, and feel the complainers are in the minority.

pageoneresults




msg:3365614
 6:14 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's just a case of getting used to something, and feel the complainers are in the minority.

This is something the public wants to get "unused" to. With all the publicity about the security of personal data, etc., forced registrations during checkout may be leading to lost sales.

From my perspective, "Anonymous Checkout" is an added plus in the sales process. If you don't have "Anonymous Checkout" now, try some testing, see how it works. I'd be willing to bet that sales increase.

physics




msg:3365653
 6:45 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it is a bad idea to require registration. A better strategy is to give people the option to register or just buy. Then you can always auto-register them when they order something, with their email address as their user name and a random password.

blend27




msg:3365654
 6:47 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Its the proper wording that needs to be there.

Using the word "register" instead of billing info / shipping info.

if you selling 5 buks items it's ok I guess, if they are trusting you with their CC Info and buying a tractor or $5000 diamond ring then it is a different mentality.

Straight forward: billing info / shipping info. Shipping price matrix is an html table 2x3, running a promotion, make it 3x3.

---Why do ecommerce websites increasingly require customers to register?---

me :

1. To prevent fraud
2. and handle phone calls from customers that just happened to impatient and want to know what the order status is that they placed 30 minutes ago via email its 1-2-3.

Password thingy: you donít need to force them to create one, just ask if they want to make one them selves or rather get on in the email with the confirmation of the order.

And there you go, you got email, billing shipping and a password.

or maybe I am wrong...

LifeinAsia




msg:3365668
 6:53 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

They forced me to choose and fill out *5* personal questions, choose a "site key" picture and confirm my account with specific questions of usage from my last bill. Just to see my gas bill online!

Similar here, although I think I only had to choose/answer 3 questions.

Truthfully, if a determined hacker decided to hack my account and pay my bill, I'd probably be okay with it. :)

All kidding aside though, I guess I can see why they implement tight security (although I think they may be going a bit overboard with that many questions). I could see a disgruntled person trying to get back at a neighbor by trying to hack into the neighbor's account and have the gas (or electricity or whatever utility) cut off. There's the inconveninece factor (utility turned off and potentially 1-2 business days to get it turned back on), as well as possible fees for turning off/on (although in the end they may be waived when it's determined the owner didn't actually authorize it).

the_nerd




msg:3365675
 7:04 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I had to help a customer with his e-commerce website. We took away registration - and even took away the email field. We ask them for the phone number though, because UPS & Co don't deliver in Europe if you don't give them a phone number. Sales went up after that. Probably because we tell customers: you can be 100% sure we won't spam you - we don't even want to know your email address.

I'm sure this probably is too much for most areas, for our customer it was a success.

nerd.

elektrodish




msg:3365680
 7:12 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

By forcing registration, you're increasing the likelihood of a transaction not to take place. Registrations can be barriers, especially for sites that sell products that are usually a one-time only purchase.

Still, there are benefits to having the customer register, so by providing the avenue if the customer so desires is a good practice.

Some stores provide new customers the option to register AFTER the transaction has completed. It then stores the information that was used for the purchase.

Tonearm




msg:3365690
 7:20 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread has me considering removing registration entirely. Average order size is $30 and I'm not selling consumables. Truthfully, my "Account Features" are really weak at this point. I may add to them at some point, but for simplicity's sake, I wonder if I would be better off removing the entire thing.

Would anyone be turned off by not having the option to register?

the_nerd, you have me considering making the email address optional too....

the_nerd




msg:3365710
 7:34 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tonearm,

the_nerd, you have me considering making the email address optional too....

That might be a good idea ...

I think of telling customers:

look, we don't really need or want your email-address.

But if you decide to tell us your email address, we can (pls. check what you'd like)
0 let you know when we get your payment
0 let you know when your order is shipped, and we
0 can inform you if something should go wrong
0 and if you really like, you can even receive our newsletter that is sent out twice a year. No more.
your email address: [ ]

I wouldn't "pre-check" any of the checkboxes, let the customer decide.

incrediBILL




msg:3365713
 7:40 pm on Jun 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Registering just to track orders is SILLY...

You can include a link to an order tracking page in the order notification email that contains the ORDERID. All the customer has to do is click that link, then type in their email address to confirm it's them to see the order status.

No registration required.

Besides, most people don't use those silly wish lists unless it's a bridal or baby registry. Sites like Amazon are different as they're doing wish lists more as a social media thing opposed to some lone web site with 20 customers a day with a 'wish list' - yawn.

FWIW, if I can't checkout without registering, you just lost that sale.

This 76 message thread spans 3 pages: 76 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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