E-Commerce Transaction Minus the Life Story

The B&H Photo Video Pro Audio Checkout Page lets you bypass the registration process if you want, and just buy the damn product. Brilliant!

Registration is a big barrier to E-Commerce transactions. It’s time-consuming, error-prone, and forces people to remember yet another password – or reduce security by reusing an existing password. I recall studies showing how many people gave up at each step of the process, and registration is a big reason for a potential customer to throw in the towel.

I am trying to buy a microphone (for podcasting) from the above-mentioned site, and I will rarely, if ever have a reason to buy something from them again … it’s a microphone, not a tube of toothpaste! So why labour through the registration process?

Since many people are already registered with Amazon or E-Bay, they will pay a premium to use those sites. To be sure, the premium applies for other reasons too, such as customisation and familiar look-and-feel. But it definitely makes a difference that they don’t have to register to purchase, and – thanks to cookies and browser auto-completion – they may not even have to log in. So when a site like B&H lets users bypass the registration process, they’re knocking down the advantage of the online megacorps.

The funny thing is how simple it is to implement such a feature … basically just a small change to the workflow. But no more need for Captcha, logins, passwords, and other irrelevancies. If the site’s workflow is architected in a modular manner, it should be very easy to let the user choose on registration.