Like any brick & mortar, your online customers ought to be able to checkout as a guest. In my opinion as the industry matures this is something shoppers have come to expect. Just imagine for a moment being required to sign up for one of those Red Cards at Target just to move through the checkout line. That wouldn’t go over too well would it? I bet they would lose a lot of business (mine for starters). So why should it be any different online?
By this point in time most of us have far too many user names and passwords to keep proper track of them all. I probably have hundreds of them, most of which I’ve only used once or twice and then forgotten. Though it’s true many customers who visit your retail website will (hopefully) come back again and place future orders, forcing these first time shoppers to register during the checkout process can make an alarming number of them abandon their carts before they ever complete their order.
Why is this?
In my experience they will abandon for 3 main reasons:
- They don’t feel that they have time to sit through all this right now.
- They don’t have any immediate need or desire to return.
- *sigh* It’s just one more log in and password to keep track of.
The reasons above are why I highly recommend enabling guest checkouts. If for some reason your shopping carts software doesn’t allow for this method then either have it programmed or move to a new cart. I also suggest giving your customers a bulleted list of the benefits of registering assuming there are benefits on your website for doing so (managing addresses, tracking packages, submitting returns, etc). But keep in mind it’s important to ultimately leave the choice up to them. If you don’t, you’ll be losing out on a lot of sales and those customers you lost will be placing their first and subsequent orders elsewhere.
Tags: Abandon Rates
, Conversion Rates
, Guest Checkout
Reaching out to bloggers and webmasters isn’t that difficult. Generally they are happy to hear from manufacturers and retailers, and if you ask correctly, they will grant your favor. There is however a wrong way to reach out. Here’s one such example sent from a large marketing agency which apparently handles Search Engine Optimization for Macys.com:
Title: URGENT REQUEST – Incorrect link to Macys.com
Body: I’m contacting you on behalf of Macy’s, Inc. We completed a recent analysis that indicates your blog is linking to Macys.com, which we greatly appreciate. Per Macy’s guidelines, we are requesting you make updates to the hyperlink text when you link to Macy’s. Providing clearer anchor text will give your visitors a better user experience.
Please respond at your earliest convenience, so we can discuss the changes.
Now maybe I’m overreacting, but as both an experienced Webmaster and fellow SEO Strategist I can’t help but be bothered by this email. I’m glad that they appreciate the link, and reaching out is always worth a try, but the request simply doesn’t feel genuine and use of the phrase “Per Macy’s guidelines” is something I don’t like to hear. I don’t work for Macy’s.
Merriam-Webster definition of guideline:
an indication or outline of policy or conduct
Certainly there’s a better way to word their email.
- First - Don’t come at me, a niche blogger with absolutely zero agenda within my post, pushing corporate policies.
- Second - If you want more specific anchor text for SEO purposes just come out and say it. Don’t claim that my visitors will have a “better experience” because of it. In this case they honestly wouldn’t.
- Third - Don’t be so damn robotic about the whole thing.
What was the anchor text in question? It was in a blog post from 2007 mentioning a new clothing brand. Macy’s was the anchor text (it could be much, much worse). Macy’s… consider your link removed.