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Should You Allow Shopify Guest Checkout Vs Customer Accounts?


When it comes to shopping online, many shoppers opt to checkout as a guest to let go of the long and tiring process of signing up as a customer. But this comes with a disadvantage that when shoppers don’t create a customer account while checking out, you hardly have the possibility of bringing back these anonymous customers for upcoming purchases. 

Shopify centres allow merchants to customize how they want their customers to checkout. It gives the shoppers the choice whether they want to check out as a guest or create a user account along with the option of making it mandatory to create a user account. 

Both the customer account page and guest checkout have their own merits for Shopify stores which allows you to capture different kinds of shoppers. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of allowing guest checkouts for your customers without any further ado.

Pros of Allowing Guest Checkouts

Allowing guest checkout is an easy-to-do default option in Shopify. You are given the option of whether or not you prefer to enable customer accounts. If you are going to enable them, users are left with the option of guest checkouts. Let’s dig deeper about its benefit in the following points:-

1. Less cart abandonment 

Shopping cart abandonment happens when customers add items to their cart but leave even before finishing their purchase.  A high cart abandonment rate is a common indicator of ‘something’s wrong’ in your checkout process. One of the easiest ways that you can reduce abandoned shopping carts in your store is to give users the option to guest checkouts. People are highly likely to add items to their cart however when they realize they need to make an account to continue with the purchase, they might leave.

2. Lower purchase barrier 

Visitors to your website want a clear, quick, and easy path to purchase whatever they prefer where they are likely to buy from websites they feel they can rely upon. ‘Barrier to entry’ is a familiar concept in various businesses. The harder it becomes for someone to carry out a task, they are likely to be motivated to accomplish it. When you are giving your users the option to enable guest checkouts, many will be influenced to make a purchase that they would otherwise not have made if they asked to register an account. 

3. Increased conversions

Customers prefer to quickly add items to their cart and continue browsing the rest of your inventory as swiftly as possible. If you impose a lot of work on your customers to do, then less likely they are to buy the products in their carts which mean lesser conversions. This doesn’t hold true in every situation and depends on business to business. But if you simply allow the choice between creating an account and guests checkouts, your site will definitely earn brownie points in terms of conversions.

4. Saves time and effort

Let’s admit it, we are all busy in our lives where we often get to see a major data breach happening once in a while. That’s why our browsers, too, have started notifying us when saved passwords have been hacked. Most people basically don’t prefer having their information stored anywhere. We are all tired of having to manage so many different accounts and passwords which is bound to make us use guest checkouts more often than customer accounts.

5. Encourages more sales

Are you aware that if you offer a lower level of commitment to the user then it encourages further sales?  Your customers prefer convenience from your website. They want to do things quickly which helps them with instant results. Many people don’t want to go through the tiring process to get whatever they want out of your store. They’ll go where it’s more convenient, be it Amazon where they already have an account or an offline store, even if that means they’ll have to pay a little extra for the ease of buying.

The Cons of Allowing Guest Checkouts

Every story has two sides, so now let’s look at the other side of the coin. It’s not all benefits when you enable guest checkouts. While effective in reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate and increasing conversion rate, there are some disadvantages to enabling guest checkouts. That’s why you are missing out on a few benefits that you would have if you created customer accounts in the first place.

1. No customer information to harbor marketing

Limited information primarily introduces challenges for businesses more than consumers. If a shopper already used your website to check out as a guest, you won’t have his or her information stored in an easy-to-access database. With all the effort you have put into achieving a customer, you will now have to scour through your website’s recent orders to find the accurate order about which the shopper is inquiring.

2. No access to abandoned carts 

Guest checkouts are restrictive in nature. It may restrict your ability to use remarketing where you can communicate and engage with your eCommerce website’s shoppers. If a shopper checks out as a guest, you can send order notifications, assuming you collected their information during the transaction but it won’t give you access to sending the shopper commercial emails for future marketing activities. You can run ads but they won’t be very personalized.

3. Loyalty program enrollment gets reduced

Customer accounts save order history, tracking numbers and loyalty accounts. Yes, that’s right, you might have heard of loyalty accounts. So in case you’re running a loyalty or rewards program, people who don’t sign up for user accounts will have no access to enrolling for rewards. Guest accounts will get in the way of reaching out to potential customers for loyalty programs but if you’re not using such programs then you’re on the safer side.

4. No order history is available

Saving customer’s order history removes the hassle of reordering, tracking exchanges and returns for consumers. This links tracking numbers and order history for added convenience both for business and user. Some users want access to recover their previous order history, but in case they checked out as a guest, you won’t have information to offer them later. It highlights a customer service issue decreasing your chances of establishing trust with them.

5. Can’t tell if the customer is returning

The more information your company has, the better you can target your prospects but it’s not possible with guest accounts. You can opt for basic IP address tracking, which enables you to cross-check that with user agents to record some information, but there are some users who find this uncomfortable and might be wondering what else you might be tracking. Most of the time it ends up not even worth doing that much tracking.

What are the options for accounts in Shopify?

  • Guest Checkout Only
  • Guest Checkout, Accounts Optional
  • Accounts Mandatory
  • Guest Checkout with Post-Purchase Account Registration
  • OAuth Accounts (integrating your social media accounts like Facebook/Google)

While many e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart use forced account checkouts, you shouldn’t overlook the advantages guest checkouts offer. It provides an easier and more convenient way for shoppers in order to make purchases. Just make sure to offer guest checkouts as an optional alternative to account checkouts.

If your brand identity stands for trust, social proof, and recognition, you should enable it by requiring a user account much more easily. If your store sells more products that last a long time and you don’t have customers coming back every few months or on an annual basis, allowing guest checkout is more beneficial.

Have any questions about enabling guest checkout on your online store? Contact Let’s Goo Social, a collaborative and trusted digital marketing agency with a team of branding professionals to solve all your queries.