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 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


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