Stop Making It Hard For People To Give You Their Money

Forcing visitors to register could be costing you a lot

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Sometimes one has to state the obvious: You’re in business to make money. You make money by convincing lots of people to give you some of their money. Success depends on making this process as painless as possible*.

But many online businesses may be making it too difficult for customers to hand over the cash, which is a bad business practice by any account.

Here’s what people (especially men) are used to:

I go into a store. I see something I want to buy. I give money to the salesperson. I leave with the thing I wanted to buy.

But what they’re experiencing in online shopping is often different. It goes more like this:

I see something I want to buy. Salesperson asks if I’m a registered user before I can buy thing I want to buy. I don’t remember if I’m in their special club or not, so I try many usernames, emails, and passwords. None of them work. Did I forget my password? Maybe. I’ll tell them my email address and then I’ll go check my email to see if they sent me the magic words that will let me buy the thing I want to buy. I check my email, but regardless of whether the magic words are there, I’ve now lost interest in (run out of time for, been distracted from, irritated about) buying the thing I had wanted to buy because they made it too much trouble to give them my money and leave with the thing I wanted to buy.

Okay, here are some concrete numbers:

  • 75: The percentage of those clicking the “forgot password” button that don’t come back to finish the purchase.
  • 23: The percentage of those abandoning the checkout process at the first sign of a registration prompt.
  • 45: The percentage of registered customers who have bad memories and register multiple times, some as many as 10 times, meaning sites requiring registration might have inflated data.
  • 300 million: The number of lost dollars one major retailer found after taking away the registration button.

Here’s a money quote:

"I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something." – Customer wanting to give money to retailer to buy the thing they wanted to buy.

Best course of action:

Make it easier for people to give you their money by not requiring they register to do so. Give them a choice to register so that it’s easier for them to give you their money more often in the future or to proceed to checkout where they can give you their money immediately without the hassle of becoming your friend.

Don’t believe me? Read these posts and decide for yourself:

The $300 Million Button
Required Registration Lowers Online Conversion Rates
Top 10 Online Retailers
Checkout Inspiration From Top Converting Sites

*Energy, lending, insurance, telecom, and cable businesses excluded.

Stop Making It Hard For People To Give You Their Money
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.internetmarketingtip.us Susan

    Just wanted to say that as a woman I am also put off by having to register to make a purchase. And while I understand why some require you to give your email information after you’ve paid and before you receive your product I don’t like that either.

    When someone wants to buy something, whether they’re a man or a woman, you should make it as easy as possible. Then after they’ve made their purchase and gotten what they paid for you can ask them if they’d like to register. I think this approach is much more customer friendly.

    • Guest

      Your all kidding right. First of all we are not a store we are the internet and we are going to ship the item anyways. Did IQ’s drop off even after I send each customer a tracking number half of you still call me and ask where is my tracking number why didnt you email it to me. In 40 years of business one thing is sure. Youll never be happy even if I give it to you for free half will find something to complain about. Get real its the internet. you need to register to provide the information I need to complete the order. You cant get what I sell for the price I sell it for at any store. So go and pay 3 times the price at a store if you want to keep your email to yourself. Most of you will post it on social networks then worry about me.

      • Guest

        People have a tendency to go back to stores they like – that includes Internet stores, too. I agree that buyers will give you problems – and so do sellers (just ask eBay about buyer/seller relationships). You want to force someone to jump thru hoops (then tell them, if they don’t like it, they can go pay 3 time more somewhere else) to get what you got, some my jump, but before you know it, you’ll find yourself having more hoops than customers.

  • http://www.bowmansmoneycollege.com Mike

    In my experience there are still so many company executives that are out of touch with many things including, believe it or not, using the Internet. I have personally witnessed this at a company I worked for where the CEO made the sales force insist that customers give up their email address before they could complete a sale, not just on the website, but also at the store level! His plan was, of course, to mine that information and use it to email our sales and save on postage! He should have read this article

  • http://www.FreePersonalClassifieds.com Ryan

    Finally, I’ve seen someone else write about this. As the founder and owner of www.FreePersonalClassifieds.com I have used this concept as part of my main competitive advantage. Almost every other single online dating website makes you register and/or become a member before getting to see any of the other members profiles. I found this to be a very annoying tactic…

  • http://www.yolandamorris.com Yolanda Morris

    FINALLY…someone gets the point I’ve been trying to make for ages. Why not just let consumers get what they want, when they want it. Why must I go through six pages of registration before I can actually make a purchase?!? By that time I fall into the 23% of people who just avoid registration forms all together!

    That, or I’ll go somewhere else that doesn’t require me to sign over my first born child before I can purchase a silly book or domain name.

  • http://greggzban.com Gregg Zban

    Many companies value the “sign-up” more than the sale due to future marketing or tracking opportunities. I think you hit the nail on the head in your article by stating that this short sightedness is costing many of them millions of dollars. Just think of the effect on those of us seeking to build our brands…..great article!

  • http://www.petsright.com Chris “Cartel” English

    The problem is that a lot of cart software still requires registration. Just this week I added a hack to allow “guests” purchases.

    Then you also have to take into account that with no registration information how do track something if something goes wrong.

    • <a href="http://www.controldatainc.com">collection</a>

      Why cant they just get your information when you use your credit card why do they have to make you register. Registering would not be bad but you have to go back and open your e-mail you gave them verify its real, its just not worth the trouble sometimes

    • http://blog.texxsmith.com texxs

      Are you seriously suggesting you can’t find a purchase or purchaser in your system without a them being registered?

      here this one’s free:
      Try looking them up by the other personal info they provded during checkout.

      the next one will cost you a phone call from your boss.

  • http://www.lances-seo-tips.info Free SEO Tips

    Even on a site in which I have to register just to comment, I rarely ever do, rarely. Just a hint webmasters ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Buyer


  • sheralwooden

    How do I find out my own success?

  • http://doneinstyle.com bj

    Unless you can afford to pay for custom software (VERY expensive!) this is what you’ll end up with if you’re a small businessperson doing ecommerce. All the major shopping carts that are either free or affordable for small businesses are carts that require the shopper to register. I haven’t seen one yet that allows you to turn this feature off.

    Good luck getting the cart creators to go along with this. And I know what they’ll tell you– it’s all about cart security and security of private information.

    • Buyer

      I don’t mind having to fill out info to buy something, but I DO mind if I’m being told I will receive something in the future from the company… even an advertisement e-mail. I hate those and will go elsewhere to buy. Personally, I prefer PayPal. Just let me tell you what I want and I’ll go to PayPal to pay you. If I can’t use PayPal, there is a very good chance I won’t buy from you.

  • http://daxii.com/publish.aspx Publish my article

    Yes as painless as possible :)

    The best way is temporary basket and a small form at the end (no email verif)…

    with the openid isn’t easier?

  • http://www.4adesign.com TD Pro

    Actually the cart I use is low cost but you can turn force user creation off on it.

    I have tried it both on and off, but not extensively enough to know for sure but this article makes me want to try it again.

    The cart I use can be found at http://www.squirrelcart.com $129.00

    The thing about collecting email is that the cart sends an email with the order details to the customer and us automatically, which is nice since our product can be customized 240 different ways, before we ship it, I like the customer to see the order in case they make a mistake or want a change.

    I use it here http://www.drinker.com

  • http://www.totalconcepts-us.com KC

    Although providing certain contact info is necessary to confirm purchases, I couldn’t agree more with this argument and I’m glad to see something in print that I can show to my clients. I’ve argued for years against this practice, for all of the reasons listed here. There seem to be a lot of “experts” out there that sell advice to novices about how to make money off their Web sites – mainly, that there should be a way to force registration to capture Email data. What a crock and complete waste of time/money. As the article and some of the replies state, visitors either get turned off and go elsewhere, or they provide bogus data. Marketing and sales absolutely IS about relationships, and when you dupe or inconvenience someone at the very beginning, you just lost a potential repeat and referral customer.

  • http://learnseowithme.wordpress.com/ intermediate level online marketing guy

    As a consumer, I get annoyed with companies that want my email as the start of a transaction or when I’m just doing research. There are scads of companies that will send me a “free ebook” if I give them my email. Personally, this just pisses me off. My thought is that if they have something of value, they should sell it.

    I’m tired of giving my email to get basic info, getting onto lists, and then getting off them. Companies should assume that their ebook is good enough marketing so they don’t need to send me new messages regularly.

    But, as website owner and vendor, I constantly hear from consultants that I should create some sort of ebook so that I can harvest email addresses.

    Can all these wordpress.com”>consultants be so out of touch? Does it really work?

  • http://www.level343.com Gabriella Sannino

    I am glad to see I am not the only one that leaves when things get too complicated. I have gone as far as removing all requirements on our sites or any blogs we write/manage.

    As a matter of fact we are “giving” away a free SEO book. (www.level343.com) We are writing a series of them and eventually we may sell them… But, right now as any business person knows you want loyalty, you want clients then follow the basic 4 steps of marketing- Know me, like me, trust me, sell me.

    I firmly believe in order to build readership and loyalty you have to GIVE things away. I mean GIVE not make me jump through hoops. It’s irritating, time consuming, and as far as I am concerned I am already willing to give you my money why do you need all this other information? Great post and thanks for putting it in down in Black & white.

  • Alconcito

    Call me paranoid if you want, but unlesss I plan to come back zillions of times (I won’t), I do not want to share my personal info. You got something I want. I got the money. Let’s trade. If you want to, give me the option of joining your mailing list, peferably at check out, and I may or may not. I probably need to provide you with my email address for shipment notification etc. ask me if you may contact me. BUT DON’T FORCE ME TO REGISTER TO USE UR SITE. I WON’T.

  • Dawne

    I would be curious to know where the “concrete” numbers come from on this, unless they are setting up carts in test settings and monitoring them, each one by page, hits and then conversion vs. non-conversion.

    Also, no where is it mentioned in here the HIGH level of fraud that is created on a click and ship type ecommerce on-line business.

    There are many factors that go into building an online presence and if the so-called vendor upped thier online gross profit margin by $300 million, I am sure they would be speaking up for themselves as well.

    I just find that on the internet you will find many truths and fictions but you need to ask yourself, what is best for your business. You should have customer loyaltly and trust with this you will know it with retention.

  • http://www.earringsforever.com Earrings

    I agree totally, I have debated with my team regarding this but I was outnumbered, its just more convenient to most people to opt out from registering. Their reason is that since our products are more expensive, people are more serious in buying so they will take time to register. Still if I were to decide, we should give the option to customers on what they want, let them decide for themselves.

  • http://www.temafrank.com Tema Frank

    It amazes me that we still even need to have this debate. User-testing studies have shown for years that forced registration is an awful idea — loses you lots of prospects and sales. What I’ve always recommended to clients is that you explain (at the END of the registration process) that if you’d like to have your information saved to make it faster and easier for you should you decide to return to this site, click here. GIVE PEOPLE A REASON!

    If you want an e-mail from someone who is not yet ready to purchase, than I see nothing wrong with offering an incentive such as an e-book. I still maintian you’d be better off not putting the barrier of registration up before downloading the e-book (yes, its quality should be good enough they’ll want to come back), but at least you are providing something in exchange.

    And always be very clear on how that e-mail info will and won’t be used. (And do what you promise!)

  • http://www.gan-yeladim.info ?? ?????

    I’ll try it, thanks!

  • Guest

    “see something I want to buy. Salesperson asks if I

  • http://www.pc-israel.com ????? ????

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  • http://www.technaipc.co.il ????? ?? ????

    That’s very good article!

  • http://www.farugs.com tapestries

    Really well writing and informative article. Thanks.

  • http://moregova.com/ ?????? ????

    Why must I go through six pages of registration before I can actually make a purchase?!?

  • http://creus.weebly.com Jessie

    I love this website!

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    find it very usefull greate job thanks…

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