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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot topher's Avatar
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    Checkout process method

    Hi all,

    During the checkout process on my ecommerce site customers are asked
    to provide an email address for order communication - nothing unusual
    there, (I also require a phone number too).

    Customers are also asked to provide a password, and along with their
    email, they can use an "existing customer login" function on
    subsequent checkouts - all their bill/ship info is pulled from the db.
    Again, nothing unusual here, just trying to keep the customer table in
    the db as free from duplicates as possible for repeat customers, as
    well as to give them a faster checkout experience.

    My wife says she wishes customers didn't have to "create an account"
    as this might be "off-putting" to some.

    So my questions are:

    1. Is it a known customer response to react negatively when creating
    an "account" is part of the online buying experience?

    2. Is the terminology "Create a New Customer Account" a poor choice?

    Thanks for any opinions/suggestions!

    -topher

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member BKursk's Avatar
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    I agree with your wife. When I'm shopping I personally can't stand having to create a account

  3. #3
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    Especially in todays world of privacy concerns and one time shoppers, creating an account is a turn off to a significant segment of society.
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  4. #4
    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    It depends on what I am ordering usually. If it is something from a company that I know I would never get anything from again - then no, why bother creating an account? It seems to be a waste of time. You already have my e-mail address & you probably will e-mail me anyway.

    On the other hand, I enjoy possibly being able to sign in & check on the status of the order. And then also creating an account - depending on what information is saved, if someone hacks into it, they could get a lot of information

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot topher's Avatar
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    mmmm, food for thought indeed!

    Given: The difference in info provided between a checkout page that doesn't ask for an "account" to be created and one that does is the one that does requires a password to be chosen. Nothing else is different on the form that asks for bill/ship/cc info except that a password is chosen to create an "account".

    So it's not that the customer has one extra form element to populate (password) if they are to create an account, it's the *idea* or *concept* that creating an account may mean: your privacy is being (or will be) invaded - is that what I'm hearing?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    I don't see any difference between ordering at an e-commerce site and "creating an account." Maybe a password... but you could word it like "choose a password so that you can view your order status later."

    You shouldn't make it another step to create an account, but if you just use the general information collected to create the account (and of course a password) I don't see how it's inconvenient in any way.

  7. #7
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    I don't really mind having an account. But I really hate having my Credit Card number stored and accessible via the web by any small merchant (i.e. someone with an IT budget under $1 mill a year). The security issues are just too major and ripe for exploitation.
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsun
    I don't really mind having an account. But I really hate having my Credit Card number stored and accessible via the web by any small merchant (i.e. someone with an IT budget under $1 mill a year). The security issues are just too major and ripe for exploitation.
    I came across a site the other day that had all of its customers' credit card info, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information all stored in a plain text file, accesible from the web. It was seriously simply a matter of going to http://www.example.com/filename.txt to get all the info you want on over 200 customers. Needless to say, I wrote the webmaster immediately...but it scared the hell out of me, and I'll think twice next time I place an order from a small company.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot topher's Avatar
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    Great comments all - thanks.
    Pergesu: My ecom site was built for me driven by an Access db. One email from an almost-customer (also a web professional) and I droped $ to "upgrade" it to SQL and a SSL cert FAST. Baptisim by fire but he did me a huge favor.
    Steelsun: Agreed that cc info stored is not a good idea for a small merchant - both for customer security and merchant liabliity/credibility.
    Corey: We're small, and since repeats only account for 10%, I'm changing the account thing from mandatory to optional - very optional!
    Beley: I see what you're saying, but after peeking-in on the competition, it looks like accounts are either out, or optional. In fact, one competitor (larger) makes the phone number optional (!). Another makes the email optional (!) (!).
    BKursk: My wife thanks you -she's been saying the same thing for two years and I wasn't listening...


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