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Logging in - Do people hate it?
cart abandonment huge @ login prompt
ByronM




msg:3600497
 1:28 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Alright, after a few weeks of clean "Funnel" tracking in analytics i've noticed something strange. Every funnel past login = 100% purchase rate but i lose 58% of the conversions when we ask people to login or create an account.

I lose the other 20% on shipping calculation, so thats not entirely bad (Was much worse before estimates were obvious on the product detail pages)

So basically my success rate is only 16.2% on my funnel tracking - so my cart abandonment is roughly 83.8%. Thats crazy.

If 58% of my cart abandonment is merely people not wanting to login i find that absurd.

How does it hold on your sites? We used to allow anonymous purchase on our old platform but it made for a terrible support nightmare from order management & customer support side. We weren't really getting great funnel analytics on that system either since the process wasn't standardized through a single purchase workflow like it is now.

My business is doing well, but i'm surprised how much abandonment there is during login.

 

vincevincevince




msg:3600513
 1:36 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've always wondered why anyone still requires account creation for the purchase of a simple product. All you need is the address to send it and the payment details and so that's all your cart should be:
List of products ordered with prices and quantities
Boxes for delivery details
Boxes for payment details
[Pay Now Button]

ByronM




msg:3600520
 1:42 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

So you don't see any value add in allowing customers to track products online, re-order with a single page checkout, confirm shipments, do returns/RMA and customer service online, print out receipts, track PO's and all that stuff?

I know for selling clothes/general merchandise there isn't really much value but for electronics/computers/IT stuff its pretty much needed.

Counting in Risk, serialized inventory, RMA/warranty support and customer service - i can't see myself going back to anonymous checkout.

I mean sure - i have the details i basically need from a single "anonymous" checkout but setting up a system that is geared towards anonymous checkout to me sort of builds up a single purchase relationship as well.

Do you find lots of recurring customers if they have to re-type everything in every purchase? cart abandonment may be lower but with heavy customer acquisition costs is it better to have a loyal logged in customers or a few more "anonymous"?

[edited by: ByronM at 1:44 pm (utc) on Mar. 14, 2008]

vincevincevince




msg:3600537
 2:03 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

track products online - email me when it updates
re-order with a single page checkout - your checkout could be single page for everyone if you didn't have all the account 'features
confirm shipments - email me when you confirm it
do returns/RMA and customer service online - give me a code with my order to enter in your RMA system
print out receipts - email me the receipt
track PO's - that's down to you, not me

Saving time - ? Only if I come back again. If I don't, that's wasted time. And there are much more stores I've bought at once than stores I've bought at multiple times.

single purchase relationship

Good customer service and good prices bring back the customer, not the fact that he's had to create an account, whilst muttering under his breath...

The few times I've used an account I've previously created (normally because the account creation form rejected my email as someone who has an account already) I've had to struggle with changing my address, payment details, etc. as these things change more frequently than I come back to a store.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3600563
 2:29 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Good customer service and good prices bring back the customer, not the fact that he's had to create an account, whilst muttering under his breath...

I agree. I hate having to log in or register when I want buy something. Make it as easy as possible for your customers.

Duskrider




msg:3600568
 2:33 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

If 58% of my cart abandonment is merely people not wanting to login i find that absurd.

You might find it absurd, but obviously your customers don't. This is commerce on the internet, not a gas station. Your customers probably don't need your site anymore than they need any other online retailer. I find it hard to believe sometimes that customers won't buy because of color scheme or a load time that's one second too long too, but it's true.

I'll tell you another thing as well, if I don't plan on buying from an online store again in the future because, for me, it's a one time purchase, and that store requires a log in for me to do it... I find somewhere else. It's not worth it to me to remember another login, have the chance of getting even more spam, or being signed up for a newsletter I don't want when I just want to make a one time purchase. It doesn't matter that your store might not do these things, many retailers do and that breeds distrust of them all.

I guess the question you should be asking yourself is if all the added benefit to YOU of having your customers login is worth the lost sales it seems to create. Only you can answer that.

Trucker




msg:3600587
 2:50 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

We offer the option to create an account, but don't require it.

Here's a quick stat for you. Of our last 80 orders, only 20 created an account. The other 60 apparently don't care to store their address for future use or even to log in later to see the status of their order.

vincevincevince




msg:3600588
 2:51 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wonder if someone with a good sized database and account creation required can do a check by cardholder surname and postcode to identify what proportion of returning visitors used their previous accounts vs. those who've obviously created new ones.

e.g.
Those who've reused an account:
SELECT COUNT(`order_id`) FROM orders AS firstorder, orders AS secondorder WHERE firstorder.surname = secondorder.surname AND firstorder.postcode=secondorder.postcode AND firstorder.accountno = secondorder.accountno

Those who've created a new one:
SELECT COUNT(`order_id`) FROM orders AS firstorder, orders AS secondorder WHERE firstorder.surname = secondorder.surname AND firstorder.postcode=secondorder.postcode AND firstorder.accountno <> secondorder.accountno

ByronM




msg:3600593
 2:59 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I find it "funny" people would "mutter under his/her breathe" while being asked to login. It takes NO longer to select a username/password to checkout than it does to remain "anonymous" and if you are seeking to remain anonymous then really to me it ads severely to the risk factor. Logging in to me is sort of like getting a signature on the receipt. If you can't sign your transaction to say its you, why would ANYONE want your business. Online shopping isn't about anonymity unless your trying to do something you shouldn't be and those are exactly the people i DON'T want to do business with.

People login to myspace, email, these forums and many other places that secure no private information at all but people complain about having to authenticate for a secure transaction with a legitimate business yet they prefer to just "slip it under the door" as if its easier?

I don't get it :)

Being in the electronics/computer field perhaps the abandonment rate is a GOOD thing protecting me from the attempted fraud.

track product online - email me when it updates.

Works until you don't check your free email or spam block "Canned" messages that go out to thousands of people a day. You prefer email over an intuitive interface?

re-order with a single page checkout - your checkout could be single page for everyone if you didn't have all the account 'features

We have a 4 page checkout. Login or account verification. Address/Ship to verification, order verification, thank you. If you're not logged in you're prompted for your details and then you just confirm them.

confirm shipments - email me when you confirm it
See above response about emails

do returns/RMA and customer service online - give me a code with my order to enter in your RMA system

What happens when you lose the code? What happens when you delete your emails or cancel that free account? You hold onto your emails for the 30 days or 1 year return for all your purchases?

track PO's - that's down to you, not me

We accept PO's from businesses/government/educational facilities. The PO can be used to track a credit card order or used for net terms upon approval. Being able to login and pull down all PO's and track the contents of each PO as they're shipped to there individual destinations is a value add if you ask me.

Logging in allows us to help you track rebates, service, warranty, RMA, repairs online, we let you track taxes paid, order details, back orders, pre-orders. You don't have to remember a "code" for each item or call and wait for something you can "do on your own". You can build wishlists, shopping lists, save "quotes" and so much more.

And YES you can do a lot of that by simply providing an order number but i find in 99.9% of our support calls customers can't remember ANYTHING when they call - especially random order numbers.

[edited by: ByronM at 3:00 pm (utc) on Mar. 14, 2008]

ByronM




msg:3600601
 3:11 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

You might find it absurd, but obviously your customers don't. This is commerce on the internet, not a gas station. Your customers probably don't need your site anymore than they need any other online retailer. I find it hard to believe sometimes that customers won't buy because of color scheme or a load time that's one second too long too, but it's true.

When it comes refusing to "login", To me thats like shopping at home depot and refusing to sign the receipt because it takes too long. If you can't authenticate who you are, should i really trust you in buying a 42" TV or 700.00 receiver or 2500 in computer parts?

I'm not talking about 20-30.00 purchases here, my average purchase is 550+. Do you not consider more expensive purchases as something you would be willing to spend more time on? Obviously most people research a tv before anonymously checking out and i HOPE they read every sites return/rma/warranty policy before buying and in doing ALL of that work - why would loging in be the deal breaker?

Thats what i don't get.

Believe me.. i know about the rest. People are vain in many ways when they shop and i can't do anything about that - but as someone who DOES shop online i find it strange people have that much angst against logging in but willfully do so for much less riskier or less costly things.

sniffer




msg:3600657
 3:49 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Login for trade customers
No login for retail

That's my rule and i'm sticking to it!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3600717
 4:32 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Logging in to me is sort of like getting a signature on the receipt.

When it comes refusing to "login", To me thats like shopping at home depot and refusing to sign the receipt because it takes too long.

i find it strange people have that much angst against logging in but

It matters not a jot what you think yourself. If you want to sell online do so using the methods that the customers want not what you think they should have. ;)

corbing




msg:3600768
 5:16 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Requiring a user to create an account is just a really bad idea in my opinion (and you're seeing evidence of it in your funnel reports). If you absolutely need an "account" for the user, just create it automatically for the customer.

For the most part a user account simply consists of a customer number (identity), an email address and a password. Instead of making the customer "Create Your Account" why not just ask for an email address during checkout and then automatically create an account with a strong password? If they later want to login to an account management section they can have the password emailed or email a verification link to create their own password. Instructions for "one-click account activation" can even be provided in the order confirmation email AFTER you get the order.

"Create An Account" sounds like a lot of work for a company that I may only intend on dealing with once. "Please provide your email address so we can email you an order confirmation and tracking number" sounds a lot easier.

Yes, there is more work on the backend to manage this system (duplicate accounts, etc.), but it's all about conversions and what works best for your customers.

ByronM




msg:3600802
 5:39 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)


It matters not a jot what you think yourself. If you want to sell online do so using the methods that the customers want not what you think they should have. ;)

There is risk vs reward. Unfortunately in CE market the risk is so high that business requirements basically require another step of verification/purchase agreement other than the checkout process.

Simply put a fraudulent chargeback without the checks and balances of an account doing business with you is a LOT HARDER TO WIN than a customer who has agreed and created an account with you to do business with you.

As for it being quicker to do anonymous checkout, thats garbage. The checkout process is just as time consuming regardless of logging in.

BUT.. i guess you could always add another "step" to the anonymous checkout process that forces the user to agree to the terms and that they're aware of the functionality they're passing up by checking out anonymously. I'll have to see if my CC processor would agree to such (And yes, my processor required a BUNCH OF MANDATES in order to sell CONSUMER ELECTRONICS online)

i still, no matter how much i try can't reason why people would prefer anonymous checkout. Its not like they're protecting any privacy more so one way or another. The steps aren't longer and in fact if you do repeat business they take longer and you're more prone to human error in mistyping something and getting the order lost.

ByronM




msg:3600834
 6:13 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, there is more work on the backend to manage this system (duplicate accounts, etc.), but it's all about conversions and what works best for your customers.

Mind you, the funnel anlytics isn't 100% fool proof either. The login page is the first step of the checkout process - perhaps the user was too hasty to read the "base shipping rate" or "click here for exact shipping to your zipcode" buttons and thought they could go through the cart to do that - you never know.

I don't have a problem with my over all conversion rate from an marketing perspective so it appears that people who find me through our business efforts are happy to do business with us by logging in.

in my experience before we required login i had much more problems with anonymous carts than those with an account and perhaps overall my conversion rate may be lower but my business longetivity may be better because i'm not out trying to meet the demands of every customer but taking better care of the ones i have and the ones who make an concerted effort to make an educated purchase from us.

We have a quarter million dollar system in place to provide the best service according to best practices. I realize that best practices are unique and the longetivity isn't guaranteed but it certainly makes running the business that much easier and the practicality shows through great prices, fast service and our added value of order management and customer service functionality as a complete self-service system.

I may convert more customers allowing anonymous checkouts but if that conversion increases phone support, pre-sales demand and or customer service because of the manual processing and hand holding of non-committal customers then business wise i'm better off where i am today ;)

lean, mean, fast processing ecommerce machine hehe

bwnbwn




msg:3600964
 8:17 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ok i am going to run a test on this as it is the 14th so I will disable my log in page and they will be promted to fill address etc.

This has me really thinking as I really don't require them to log in but they have to look for the not now button will see.

ok I will see I have disabled the log in page and prompted to the address shipping a payment information.

rocknbil




msg:3600975
 8:26 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

If 58% of my cart abandonment is merely people not wanting to login i find that absurd.

You're correct, it is, when you get at the reasons for **why** people don't like to do this. But that's the way people are. Sure, tons of advantages, customer can log in and review orders, and so on . . . somehow it's associated with more information, more spam, people are scared to death of the Internet. Can you blame them?

How does it hold on your sites?

Ours is a straight-up purchase, with one tiny caveat: they choose a password. Some *do* come back and visit the customer area. We don't call it "create an account" - but in reality, that's what they are doing. We also have an optional mailing list, for newsletters only. So far, 70% select yes to this, so we must be doing something half-right.

arieng




msg:3601005
 8:49 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think Rocknbill's got the right idea. This is pretty similar to what Amazon does. When you start the checkout process, they ask for an email address (username) and offer two options:

1. New customer
2. Enter a password

New customers will be prompted to create a password later in the process. You're just deferring the decision to create an account. Plus, it just doesn't seem to be as big a decision as it does when you demand account creation up front.

I've decided to allow anonymous checkout, but if I didn't then I'd give this methodology a thorough test.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3601014
 9:04 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think Rocknbill's got the right idea. This is pretty similar to what Amazon does.

Yes, but we are not all like Amazon.

jecasc




msg:3601042
 9:31 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd say it depends entirely on what you are selling. For example I run an online shop selling consumable products. The number of returning customers is well above average. So creating a customer account is mandatory or else accounting would be a nightmare.

However if you are selling "once in my lifetime" products or products people only need every three years things might look different.

Customer accounts are ok if they offer a direct benefit. And don't call it a customer account. Simply ask the user for his personal information and on a seperate page or at the bottom of the page ask them to provide a password so they will be able to track their order online or whatever benefit you are providing.

ByronM




msg:3601056
 9:46 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yeah, we don't call it a "customer account" per say. The checkout process is modeled much like Amazon, Newegg and alike.

It basically says

Enter your email address with a selection for I am a returning customer or a new customer and a field for the password.

Simple process.

HRoth




msg:3601104
 11:09 pm on Mar 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't understand why it should be somehow more secure if someone has to log in to buy something or how that offers any sort of fraud protection. I have never read or seen any information from my payment processor or from the cc companies giving me an extra discount for having people log in. Frauds I am sure are happy to log in. What else do they have to do? Everyone else has a job or better things to do than to help you keep track of your inventory.

I have an account at Amazon because I buy things there at least once a month and I have done so for years. How often are customers buying things from you?

I have also had the experience of being forced to create an account and then the website is updated and the old password no longer works, or the page has changed enough that the password manager doesn't recognize it, and you have so many fricking passwords stored that trying to find that password in the list is just pointless.

vincevincevince




msg:3601191
 2:36 am on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Having thought about this in detail, here is one of the biggest reasons that I hate having to make an account (and abandon instead of create in many cases... even if I'd already decided to buy):

The site doesn't show me a final, all extras included, ready-to-pay price and indication of shipping time before the login / create account screen

I typically shop around. Most of us do. What counts for me is the final all-inclusive price and the estimated time until the package arrives at my door. If I can't see that without having to create an account then I can't compare the price to other stores and I'm gone.

Show me the final guaranteed price and shipping, then I'm more willing to create an account along with my payment info.

jwolthuis




msg:3601206
 3:05 am on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I shop on a website, I prefer to remain anonymous, and only provide my name, shipto address, email, phone number, credit card number, and cvv code.

Ahhh, anonymity...

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3601354
 9:46 am on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

The site doesn't show me a final, all extras included, ready-to-pay price and indication of shipping time before the login / create account screen

You are so right VinceVinceVince!

By coincidence and just a few minutes ago I went to the Epson site to compare prices on some ink jet cartridges. I could not find any "bottom line" price without entering all of my details first. I immediately withdrew from the transaction and when I think about it I really need to have a both a pressing requirement for an item and no alternative purchase options before I will take any transaction past this stage.

Why would websites try to hide their bottom line price until people have provided all their personal info? Clearly they must think that once someone has entered all of their details then they are less likely to back out on seeing the actual price. It is really verging on the unethical when you think about it.

It may be that the Epson site does display shipping charge info elsewhere, but I could not find it and I was not going to waste more time looking for it. We all know that the cost of buying online normally has three possible components, item cost, tax and shipping cost. AFAIAC the only reason for not making this clear upfront is that you have a reason for hiding it.

lorax




msg:3601384
 11:42 am on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

When I shop on a website, I prefer to remain anonymous, and only provide my name, shipto address, email, phone number, credit card number, and cvv code.

Ahhh, anonymity...

That was total tongue in cheek right?! :)

BillyS




msg:3601392
 12:02 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

For a site like Newegg or Amazon - some place where I know I will come back again and again, I don't mind logging in.

But I cannot stand (and often will avoid) creating an account for a one-off purchase.

rocknbil




msg:3601492
 3:32 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

The site doesn't show me a final, all extras included, ready-to-pay price and indication of shipping time before the login / create account screen

Excellent point, which I overlooked because the discussion was centered around the log in. :-D

I think this is more of a programming/logic flow issue of the overall process than the login. Ours goes like this, we had it set up differently in the beginning with only two steps but the four proved much more effective:

1. Enter location to begin checkout (zip, state, country, etc.) Here we gather what's needed for shipping.

2. Check stock (automatically) and report to the user: "all your items are in stock" or "the following items are not in stock, what would you like to do?" with the options "remove from cart," "hold order until all items come in," or "ship what's in stock and send the rest when it comes in." There is a link that explains "how long will out of stock items take to get to me?"

3. Depending on the above, the next step adjusts the order, queries the shipper (USPS or UPS, optionally) and returns a list of links for the user to choose their shipping (first class, parcel, Priority, so on.)

4. The final checkout is sent to HTTPS with a big heading "LOG IN NOT REQUIRED TO ORDER" and off to the right, "returning customers please log in for speedy checkout."

NOW - if a returning customer does not remember their password and doesn't log in, and just drops down to fill in the checkout info, we don't choke on a wrong pass - we simply update it with the password they enter.

One might think this is a security issue, but 1) in order for the update to occur, they have to submit a valid transaction, and 2) the only thing that is behind the login screen is their orders and their address info - what I consider a very low level set of data that someone would really have to go out of their way to get at. (We do not store credit card info.) There's really no motivation in a hacker submitting a valid transaction to change someone else's password.

If they also change the email address, this "creates" a new account/entry. If necessary we merge the duplicate via admin, but if the customer logs in first, it will update their current record.

This scenario seems to give us the best of both worlds.

trinorthlighting




msg:3601534
 5:17 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

You have to look at what your competition is doing. In most cases you will find that they are probally doing the same as you are.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3602027
 11:53 am on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Whic does not necessarily make it right. ;)

This 132 message thread spans 5 pages: 132 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 > >
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