December 9, 2014

The first rule of e-commerce is, make it easy for people to give you money. But a ubiquitous practice on e-commerce sites breaks this rule big time: When users click/tap “Check out now,” sites intercept them with a demand that they first create an account or log in to an existing one. By requiring users to have an account as a prerequisite for making a purchase, they are telling would-be buyers, in effect, “Unless you have an account, we don’t want your money. Go away.”

So lots of willing buyers—credit cards in hand—go away. For these sites, would-be sales gush out of a big hole in their bucket. Lately, more and more major online retailers have backed away from their account requirement. But roughly 3.2 gazillion others still have it. And even those that have backed away from it have clung to a needless vestige of it: the intercept itself, though now modified to include more
By John Boykin

John Boykin

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