We’re in the final moments of completing our 2007 Customer Focus Study here at FutureNow. [UPDATE: FutureNow's 2007 Retail Customer Focus Study is complete.] We haven’t done one of these in the past couple years, and there’s already some shocking stuff popping out from the early analysis. One of the most interesting facts is that nearly half of the top online retailers still require people to register before they checkout.
Now, I understand how valuable executives think it is to have these customer accounts, but — of the hundreds we’ve analyzed — how many retailers do you think actually tested whether requiring people to register pre-checkout is costing them conversions (read: sales)?*
Retailers spend so much money driving new traffic to the site, only to force visitors away by asking them to register up-front. Most of the information you need to create an account will be asked in the checkout process, anyway. Get the cash (GTC) first, then do like TravelSmith does and offer the option to create an account after the order is complete.
The silliest thing I’ve seen in awhile happened as I was reviewing one of the retailers in our study. I was working my way through the account registration process for one of the sites. After filling out most of the form, I kept getting an error message. I couldn’t figure out. This site demanded an answer:
On most retail sites, you just uncheck the check box and avoid their e-mails. This one used radio buttons, altering the standard experience by having me choose just one. Why?
*Share your best guess in the comments.