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I have this site where visitors can pay for certain digital goods, after which they'll be presented with a download link. These downloads links last for a week before they die and become useless

I want to allow users to purchase items without having to create an account first, but just by supplying the payment details and email. I figured I could send the download link to their email once paid, but this is kind of problematic if they accidentally specific an incorrect email when paying.

Any suggestions on how best to accomplish this?

  • Something to consider: The email field isn't an password field. It isn't obscured in any way. People who input their email will be able to see it and revise it before submitting. – Majo0od Feb 3 '15 at 14:20
  • After a successful checkout process, allow users to create account with easy one click. By now, you already have his/her email, full name etc. All you need is a username/password field and "create account" button. – Ades Feb 4 '15 at 9:16
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Although people do sometimes enter incorrect emails, in my experience it's a tiny minority (less than 1% of cases). Making the UX worse for the 99% that can enter it without a problem is a poor choice given that you're giving those 99% a reason not to continue, and you only need 1.01% of them to choose to leave to be at a net loss.

Even if you have two fields to re-enter emails and passwords, most people will simply copy and paste anyway, so you'll still have to deal with incorrect emails.

There are two ways that I would deal with this:

  1. Deal with incorrect emails via your support system. If someone enters an incorrect email, and doesn't get any content, they can contact you and provide information about the payment details used. You can then make a manual correction. This is cleaner for the general case, but requires that you have a decent support system in place.
  2. When the payment is confirmed, send a confirmation email to the user while they are still on your site asking them to confirm their email address. Of course you should communicate this to the user so that they know they need to validate the email. As they would only see this after paying, there is a low chance of them not validating the email to get the product that they've paid for. You could then on the page offer to let them correct the email and send a new validation email. That way if the email doesn't come through, they can correct the problem themselves without any intervention from your support.
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You could show the link as soon as the user made a purchase (please ignore the wording of the examples).

Before payment is confirmed

Order status: pending

You will be able to download your <product> from here as soon as we have verified your payment. We will send an email to alice@example.com (wrong address?) to notify you.

Bookmark this URL to … (etc.)

The user can

  • bookmark his URL (or keep the tab open) to come back later
  • verify his email address and correct it
  • ignore this page and wait for the notification email (which contains the URL to his page)

After payment is confirmed

Order status: Your download is available

Download your <product>
(time left: 6 days)

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Save the user's session ID in a cookie, and have that cookie expire in a while (7 days?) since last entering. When the user re-enters your website they have information regarding them, and you should provide a way to "fix" wrong emails and re-send confirmation/receipts, they have their unique session saved within your website without having to actually do the sign up.

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There are a couple different steps you can take to help solve this.

The first would be to have the user type their e-mail twice, which would look something like this.

email verification

If they don't match, it will force the user to double check their e-mail to make sure they have the correct information in the fields.

I would also have a review page where users can check all of their information again. Here is where you can remind the user to double check their e-mail and payment information. You can remind them that this is where the digital goods will be sent, you won't send another e-mail if any of the fields are incorrect, and that the link will expire after 7 days.

If you want verification that the user has understood these stipulations, you can add a checkbox that the user is required to check once reading your extra information. This will hopefully prevent any kind of mix up.

  • 1
    Personally, I hate those double fields, including email and password. They tell me "You're stupid, user". I always copy from the first to the second. – Uwe Keim Feb 1 '15 at 16:26
  • 1
    @UweKeim Well I hate it too but I have made mistake typing email incorrectly (typo) and I've copy/paste into second textbox. – I'll-Be-Back Feb 2 '15 at 15:59
  • Double for a field that isn't hidden... I feel like that's useless. – Majo0od Feb 3 '15 at 13:42
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Few banks use following pattern when a user add a new payee: ICICI Bank

Although good suggestions are already given in this post, still wanted to share with you. You can do something similar to this with email id.

Re adding screenshot: enter image description here

  • Can you explain this one a bit more? It kind of looks like you're suggesting they enter their details twice into masked fields, which isn't something I would have thought was a good idea. – JonW Feb 3 '15 at 13:32
  • you're right JonW. Sorry about above screenshot, actually second text box is not masked, I should've entered random numbers, maybe 12345... instead X. Although I don't have any statistical data about this strategy but I've seen lot of banks using it. – Aman Feb 4 '15 at 4:45
  • Ok, but I don't understand why you'd want even one of the fields masked here. – JonW Feb 4 '15 at 6:57

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