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I'm wondering if repeat customers really remember their passwords on an online store? Is this step an impediment to the sale or a convenience? Should repeat customers be taken through the same process as others and given the option to "remember" their password?
Realistically, you and who else? I'll skip the central server, thanks. The encrypted storage program I've got on my PDA makes me feel a LOT more secure than having all my data in one, central, most-likely-government-and-law-enforcement-accessible location.
If it's an online store I visit a lot, then I do remember my password. Otherwise, out comes the PDA so I can look it up. And really, I have fewer than 10 passwords I actually use frequently... Probably 5 I use for online accounts regularly, 3 I use for desktop/email/hosting accounts, and a couple more for my PDA apps... If I remember the two PDA passwords, I can retrieve the rest.
I find it remarkable how many I actually DON'T need to look up though... and I'd suspect "Joe Average" uses fewer (and easier to remember) passwords for his miscellaneous accounts, making it even easier for him.
It may not be a big convenience, but it gives folks a sense of security, and that's always a big thing.
if online shopping requires me to set up an account with log in and password, i'll go elsewhere. i really don't want or need yet more log ins and passwords. i'm quite happy to enter my name and address and card details every time i want to make a purchase.
if you want to make life easier for customers and retain their details to save them from typing, why not just set a cookie with their name and address? make sure you offer them the option of doing this, and do not save any sensitive information such as their credit card numbers.