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I'm designing an iOS app to order groceries online. I have a doubt about when ask for registration. To proceed at payment you must be a registered user. One can use an app like this several times and I'm unsure if I should ask users to login or register on the first page after opening the app with the option to skip this step, or ask to login or register only when they come to pay.

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Thanks all for your answers. Maybe I've not been accurate asking this question. The app is not an e-commerce app, or better, not a typical e-commerce app. It allows to pre-order a lunch in a restaurant, to cut the waiting and preparation times for the lunch itself. So, it's mandatory ask for registration, because the restaurant needs to know who orders, and it need to have his phone number to call him for whatever problem (like missing ingredient etc). So my question is : Do I have to ask for registration at the beginning or after the order has been made, before send it to the restaurant? – Matteo Vacca Dec 2 '13 at 13:15
Clarifications to your question are better off being edited in to the actual question than added as a comment. Not everyone will read the comments before skipping to the answers. – Thor84no Nov 25 '14 at 12:52

Having to spend time registering when all they want to do is actually shop distracts the user from their main task and makes them more likely to not want to use it.

Also think about what information the user needs to provide when registering and to be honest they will need to provide the same information if they want to get things delivered and paid for anyway.

So registering at the end would be a natural stage of the users journey within the system, they will need to pay for it, (registering card and name), provide an address for delivery (registering home address) and an email address for the receipt of their shopping (registering email address), so by actually using your app for its purpose they are consequentially registering as well!

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Just read this (rather brief) article: It's about an e-commerce site that was dropping customers due to the registration thing.
In brief, passing the customers through a registration track as part of the checkout ... well, you see the article's title.
Some users mumbled that they didn't were there to build a long-term relationship.
I encourage all of you to read this usability jewel.

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I'd ask later.

Some users might be turned-off by requiring to create an account without seeing if the app is something they would be interested in. Especially if the brand is not very well known. By asking later you have a chance to show them what you have to offer so they will see the value of registering.

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Agreed with both of the above. If you look at traditional shopping sites, it is good practice to allow a guest checkout, and then prompt the user to register when they are done. This also allows the user to gain an overall impression of your site/service (hopefully positive!) so when they are asked to register they will be more willing to.

Why do users have to be registered to use your app? This may be something you want to reconsider being mandatory (again, going back to the example of guest checkouts). If you decide it is necessary, @MeeMMeeM's point about making checkout and registration simultaneous is a great idea-- as long as users know they are in effect registering!!

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