July 31, 2019 by Ben Chafetz

Guest Checkout: Two Crucial Words for Your eCommerce Success

Is free shipping important for your eCommerce store?

Duh.

What about a fast checkout?

Also a no-brainer.

But here’s one key to online success you may be taking for granted as a Magento store owner…

Guest checkout.

Yup.

It’s so important that Magento has it enabled by default.

Obviously, Magento has done it’s homework and is well aware of how crucial guest checkout is.

Now, if you’re on (gulp) another platform, you may have to enable guest checkout yourself.

And you should. Now.

With it, you’re minimizing checkout friction, decreasing abandoned cart rates and increasing your conversion rates. Without it, you’re signing your own death wish.

Hate to be harsh, but without guest checkout enabled, your shoppers are leaving. By the droves. And they’re taking their business elsewhere.

Need convincing?

We’ve put together 5 strong reasons why you should enable guest checkout:

1. Mobile shoppers prefer guest checkout.

A study by Moovweb found that, when shopping on a smartphone, shoppers were about 1.2x more likely to choose “guest checkout” rather than logging in or creating an account. In addition, mobile shoppers who checked out as guests contributed 13% more revenue than logged-in users.

This is proof that – on mobile devices, especially – users want the shortest possible path to checkout. The more friction you can eliminate from the checkout process, the more likely users are to make a purchase. And the more obstacles – like mandatory registration – you put in front of them, the less they’ll spend. 

2. Great customers will come back anyway.

The same study by Moovweb mentioned above showed something interesting.

The conversion rate for both guest users and logged-in users was about the same when shopping on a smartphone.

What this means is that requiring a user to create an account won’t necessarily mean that they are more likely to make a purchase in the future. As a caveat, though, the study found that users who were logged in had an Average Order Value (AOV) that was 10% higher than those who checked out as guests.

3. Guest checkout is a “try before you buy” option.

Have you ever gone to a new store, and been immediately asked to register for a loyalty account or shopper’s card? Your initial instinct is probably to say “no.”  After all, why would you want to sign up now? You haven’t even really learned anything about the store, its products, and its services – you haven’t even completed your first purchase yet!

If you require users to log in to complete the checkout process at your eCommerce store, you’re essentially doing the same thing. You’re asking them to take a leap and sign up for your store – even though they haven’t even made a purchase yet.

If you let a customer check out as a guest, though, they can get a better idea of what your company is all about, and actually experience the process of purchasing and receiving an item before they make a decision. If they like your services and products, chances are they’ll come back, and they’ll probably register an account.

4. You can simplify the checkout process further.

We’ve advocated for a simplified checkout processes on the 121eCommerce blog in the past. One of the best things you can do for your conversion rates is to keep things simple – that’s why we love Magento’s one-page checkout design and especially Magento’s Instant Purchase  that can cut checkout time in half.

Requiring the creation of an account can often add multiple steps to your checkout process. Your customer has to stop checking out, click a button that says “Sign up,” fill out a bunch of text fields with their personal information, sign up, check their email for a registration confirmation, click it to confirm their registration… you get the picture.

The long and the short of it is, if a customer is not already a registered user, mandatory registration makes the checkout process longer, more complex, and harder to understand – and that’s never a good thing.

5. Forcing account registration results in higher cart abandonment rates.

All of the above points lead us to the most persuasive – and important – metric that proves why guest checkout is so important. It leads to high cart abandonment rates. According to Invescpro, 14% of customers will abandon their cart if there is no guest checkout option.  

Another survey by Baymard indicated that mandatory registration caused 34% of all cart abandonment – second only to unexpected shipping costs and fees as the primary reason that shopping carts were abandoned.

By adopting a guest checkout option, you can eliminate this source of friction – and decrease your cart abandonment rates. In fact, the retailer ASOS is proof of this. After eliminating mandatory registration, its cart abandonment rate dropped by 50%. 

Conclusion

Unless you have a very good reason, your guest checkout should be like an Eskimo’s heater. Always on.

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