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I'm working on an e-commerce web site and was reading more about the checkout process. I've found this answer, talking about the benefits of not asking users to create an account on the web site in order to buy something. Instead, the advice is to let them buy and, later on, try to interact with that user, trying to create an account. This point is very clear to me, but I'm still in doubt on how to best design the initial step, where I need to, first, identify if the user is a new user or if he already has an account.

In my case, the user has 2 options to create a new account: E-mail/password or Facebook login.

When the user clicks on the button to initate the checkout process, I have these options:

  1. Identify: Check if user has an account or if it's first time buying;
  2. Address: Fill in an address or use one (if avaliable);
  3. Payment: Credit card payments;
  4. Confirm: Screen to show a confirm message (Congrats, your purchase was successful);

The "Identify" step is where I'm in doubt. For example, what would be a good design to ask for the users login credentials or just identify his name/e-mail(?) to get in touch later on?

Option 1

For this, I'm working with this initial mock design:

enter image description here

My concerns with this design would be:

  • I feel like I'm already showing a lot of information all at once;
  • If the user is a new user and just fill his initial data (email and name) do I need to validate his e-mail? For example, a "confirm e-mail" field in order to avoid typos?
  • What if the user doesn't mind creating a new account?

Option 2

Another option would be to have a button "New user" or "Create an account" and then, based on the option the user selects, the view would change (hide/show the proper form based on his choice).

enter image description here

I feel like the second option is better, the design is a bit cleaner, but it also feels like it adds a next step (e.g. step 1.1) during the checkout process.


Option 3

The third option would be to treat the "New user" and "Create account" as one single case, I mean, do not show the "Create account" option here, just guide throught the "New user" process, and on the confirmation screen asks if the user wants to provide a password to access his information in the future.


Any other advice or cosideration are welcome. Thanks!

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    My non-research-backed opinion: option 2 is comprehensive, clean, and makes sense at first-glance. – Alan Sep 27 '17 at 19:52
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I'm also currently designing e-commerce website and I'm using something similar to your second option (layout wise).

Once the user selects "Checkout as a guest" he's redirected to the next step - Shipping information. Don't make an extra step just to ask for name and email. You can get this information in the shipping step.

If the user selects guest checkout, then you are safe to assume that he doesn't want to register an account. And by having this extra step you will confuse him - it does seem like a registration process.

Ask for name and email in shipping step, you can even clarify the need for this information with some text like "Well use this information to send you the receipt or to contact you about the shipment". It makes sense for the user to provide this information there, as it's related to buying/receiving the goods.

After the user is finished with the purchase, you can then ask him if he want's to register the account. You will have all the necessary information and a simple password field will be enough to complete the account

  • That's a very small change but I think can improve the design and flow a lot! Thanks for the hint! – CelsomTrindade Sep 27 '17 at 20:12
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Just finished working on this feature as well. The longer your checkout is the more abandonment you'll see.therefore I wouldn't add an additional identity step. a way of solving it could be adding an email field at the first step of checkout (as a part of the delivery step) once the user inserts his email you can identify if he has an account under this email address or no.in case he is a guest user simply let him proceed through checkout. after he is successfully completed the checkout flow allow him to create an account by just adding a password. since he has already provided an email address.

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I would strongly suggest making any checkout flow as short as possible while still meeting the needs/functions of both the customer and the host site.

Also, I've found in many recent UX labs that during the checkout stage, a short tool-tip explaining why you are asking for personal details (email, phone number etc) can inject another level of trust which ultimately helps improve conversions

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