Benefits from Registering your WooCommerce Customers as WordPress users

When creating an online store it’s very hard to keep a balance between the easiest site possible for your customers and the site with the most information about them for your business. And the decision of forcing WooCommerce to register your customers before the checkout is one of these dilemmas.

You may choose the easiest path for your customer, allowing guest checkout. Or you may choose the best path in terms of customer relationship for your company and force your customers to sign in. Today we are going to dive into the advantages of picking the hard road and forcing WooCommerce customer registration.

Our main topics for today are:

  • Checkout options in WooCommerce: Register Customers & Allow Guest Customers
  • It’s a mind game, but also an information game
  • You will actually know important things about your business
  • It’s very, very easy to buy again
  • It’s much more effective when it comes to support
  • When the sales go wrong, it’s seamless to refund or cancel
  • Your customers can easily track their orders
  • Registering your WooCommerce customers automatically

So, let’s get started!

Checkout options in WooCommerce: Register Customers & Allow Guest Customers

In order to better understand these two checkout methods, we need to first define what we mean by guest checkout, and what are the implications on your database.

You can set up guest checkout under your WooCommerce settings > Checkout > Enable guest checkout.

 

When you enable this, after your customers select their products and proceed to checkout they’ll see this screen:

 

They will start filling up their details and they will get to this little tiny field that makes all the difference for you as a business owner:

 

If your users check this box, jackpot! You have a whole new level of understanding about them, all their information will be tied to their username, and this can be easily retrieved and analyzed.

On the other hand, if for any reason your client doesn’t check this box this data is lost. All your precious customer data will be just a plain WooCommerce order, and it’s incredibly hard to make any sense out of this data besides the basic order status check.

Imagine this, when you buy something in a grocery store and pay in cash, all the data regarding you, your demographics, your purchase habits and everything else is lost. All the store owner can see is that there is an order. If they wish to understand their customers they have to rely on other methods (such as relationship programs), which are going to cost much more.

When it comes to eCommerce you already have all this precious data organized and tied to the customer, so it may seem crazy to just throw all this invaluable information away.

Now the real question is, should you give so much power to this tiny little box?

 

It’s a mind game, but also an information game

Of course, you have to take into account the usability aspects of your site. But for your clients most times there is no perceived benefit (at first) of going through the hassle of creating an account. And it’s your job to inform them and make sure that even though you give them the guest checkout option, there are big benefits in just creating an account.

Now it’s time to get real. The default WooCommerce checkout page doesn’t allow you to better direct your users towards creating / recovering account information. So the first change to consider is to change your checkout flow, and instead of just creating one from scratch we can get some inspiration on the biggest players out there.

Now let’s see how the big e-commerces solve the “proceed to checkout” button problem

 

I bet Amazon knows a thing or two about usability, and there’s no guest checkout option at all. You’ll also notice that instead of already prompting the user information they first check if you have an account and ask you to log in, since the real profit comes from returning customers.

Same thing for eBay, they prompt first the user login option. But they do have a nice temporary password option, which can be considered for a faster login.

 

And finally an eCommerce with a guest checkout option. But even there you can see that it’s clear that they direct you towards the members checkout / register. And even if you checkout as a guest, you’ll have a simple option to opt in for an account after your order is placed:

There is also an option to show your online store only to registered users and make it hidden from everyone who doesn’t have an account on your website. This is usually done for stores that are accessible only to private members or for stores that are selling only to wholesale customers.

So our takeaway here is that

  1. Sometimes guest checkout may not be the best option for your users (otherwise all big sites would allow it)
  2. Consider creating a custom checkout page to make sure your users understand the benefits of registering (if you allow guest checkout at all)

Now let’s discuss a few other advantages of having a registered user checkout in your WooCommerce store.

 

You will actually know important things about your business

Only with registered customers you have all your order data also tied to user accounts. This allows you to use plugins such as Users Insights to better understand your customers, filter through their orders and check their lifetime value.

Here are some interesting things you may know about your customers by having them registered:

And all this info can be filtered, combined and used in combination with external software for even further understanding. You can find the cost per client, which products are bought together and overall analyze your customer and order data.

 

It’s very, very easy to buy again

When you buy as a guest you may not realize how boring it is to add your personal details. We understand that you may not want to save your payment data, but your address and user information is enough to be worth creating an account.

Also, depending on how often your customer visits your site they may even be still logged in. Although it would be nice to ask for a password again before the checkout it’s very nice to have your order pre-filled with your data just a field away from the order payment.

And, of course, you can offer your returning customers some good deals. For example, you may send them discount codes via email (as long as you have their permission, of course).

 

It’s much more effective when it comes to support

When it comes to user support it’s very important to know which products your customers own, and for how long. This helps your support staff team provide accurate answers and avoid back and forth.

Now it’s really hard to provide support to a “ghost” customer. When you have guest checkout you may need to have a support system based on a license keys or even order IDs. This will add another layer of complexity to your registered users, and may even not work so nicely for the guest customers. Since guest customers don’t have an account to log in for support, they have to add this data over and over again.

Additionally, having WooCommerce registered customers will help you track down your customer-related costs. If you don’t have them registered, then this kind of analysis is much, much harder.

 

When the sales go wrong, it’s seamless to refund or cancel

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to please everyone. It’s just a matter of time, if you haven’t had an unsatisfied customer, one will appear sooner or later. And when this happens, you need to be ready for dealing with cancellations and refunds.

In special because once you get to the cancellation or refund step, you are trying not to upset your customer even further. So an easy and clear way to request for help on these issues is great and it’s made much easier with a registered user.

Again, with a guest checkout you need to manually check this, and double check to make sure the order data is correct and that you are refunding the right order. This requires a lot of manual work. If you have registered users, they can ask for that themselves and you can just accept it with a click.

 

Your customers can easily track orders

With registered users it’s very easy for them to check their past orders, what they have bought and maybe even place the same order again. It’s also good for a customer to leave reviews and see your track record of processing time, delivery time and so on.

When you have a guest checkout it’s very hard to build a safe and yet easy to use method for tracking past orders. You could do this based on the user email, but unless you create this on your own it’s very hard to do so using raw WooCommerce data for bigger stores.

 

Registering Your WooCommerce Customers Automatically

Of course, you need to check the regulations for your country regarding user privacy. But it’s very much possible to just create a user account anyway and send your users a random password after the order is done as long as this is clearly stated in your terms of service.

Another less extreme approach is following Rakuten’s idea and just add a button on the last step of the checkout.

Also for these ideas keep in mind that you need a friendly password reset mechanic. In this way your users won’t get too annoyed, as it’s very likely that they know only the email used to register on your site. For more information you can check the “How to automatically register guest users on checkout in WooCommerce” article where we have explained the process in more details.

 

Conclusion

Today we saw the importance of registered customers in WooCommerce. We also discussed the different approaches followed by big eCommerce stores and why allowing guest checkout is not always a good idea.

We also went through a list of benefits of having registered users on your site and we hope you will consider implementing some of our ideas on your site.

Thanks, and see you next time!