Forcing customers to sign up for an account has been shown to decrease conversion rates. Anonymous checkouts are especially important for first-time customers. Placing an order online requires trust in the merchant, and many customers don’t feel comfortable saving their contact information during their first visit to a new store. Also, checking out as a guest is often quicker than creating an account and is considered a lesser commitment.
Although guest checkouts improve the user experience for first-time customers, there are obvious drawbacks for merchants. Email addresses can only be used for shipping notifications, not for marketing purposes. That makes it more difficult to send customers your newsletter, promotional materials, and shopping cart notifications. But these shortcomings are negated by the fact that a faster checkout equates to more sales, and if you provide great value and a good user experience to customers, they will return.
Having guest checkout does not exclude an opportunity of getting customers to register. Many sites offer an incentive to users to sign up for an account. It can be a gift card, a special discount, store points, or any other bribe to motivate them.
A cunning way to get users to register is by offering them an incentive after placing the order. The merchant already has most of the required information, making the registration process fast and straight forward. As a motivation, you can offer a cool discount on their next purchase.