3 Reasons Marketers Should Continue to Allow Guests on Their Sites
"We agree with the analysts and most of the best practices for online checkout that we've seen out there, which is to allow guest registration," Ezrin says. "Mostly because there still are reports of significant percentages of consumers not having confidence in shopping online and storing personal information online. So to allow, or in order to not inhibit purchases online, guest registration allows people to make their purchase and feel confident that their information isn't going to be stored."
People also are accustomed to being anonymous on the Internet, says Neal Creighton, RatePoint's CEO and co-founder. If new visitors think they can find goods and services of equal quality elsewhere while maintaining their privacy, they're probably going to leave a site that won't let them be anonymous until they trust the brand, says Erick Mott, communications director for Emeryville, Calif.-based e-mail and Web marketing software company Lyris.
One way to know how much revenue a site is losing by not allowing guests, Ezrin says, is to look at how many people abandon the site when asked for personal information and then calculate that figure against the average order value.
2. Marketers often can capture enough data about guests to personalize their Web experiences. Cookies aid in this pursuit, Ezrin says. "They don't gather personal information; they use their own identifiers for returning and new users. But they can also generate the personalized product recommendations to a returning visitor."
Analytics also seem to aid the cause. E-commerce software company ATG, with North American headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., elaborates that marketers can personalize homepages for guests by "leveraging customer history, the referring Web site, adwords used, Google search term[s] used or banner ad[s] clicked. Dynamic homepages can be served up with content most likely to interest and engage a given customer." Personalized product recommendations at checkout can enlarge orders, too, says ATG.