The 300 million dollar button

March 9th, 2009 by Heather Maloney

An article I read recently about shopping carts has radically changed my view on the best process for the final step of checking out. The Contact Point shopping cart requires a customer to ‘register’ with the website or log in with their email address and a password if they are a returning customer, in order to finalise their purchase.

It turns out that many many people are put off by the requirement to register, but by simply changing this screen to give the customer one more option – to continue their purchase without registering – provided an online business an increase of 300 million dollars (that’s USD) in sales over a one year period.

This quote from the article sums up my [previous] view of the issue:

The team saw the form as enabling repeat customers to purchase faster. First-time purchasers wouldn’t mind the extra effort of registering because, after all, they will come back for more and they’ll appreciate the expediency in subsequent purchases. Everybody wins, right?

Instead, their research showed that the requirement to register was resented by a large percentage of their test audience, who felt that they weren’t there to be in a relationship; they just wanted to make a purchase quickly. Returning customers also had issues because they couldn’t remember their username and password, so a large number of return visitors ended up registering again; thus making it harder for the retailer to do anything useful with the data on return visits.

We’ve taken this research on board in the Contact Point Shopping Cart, and have already implemented a change across 3 shop sites, allowing customers to purchase without registering. For an example, check out the Melbourne Storm Shop.

Some of our client sites will still want to ensure that customers register, for reasons of additional functionality such as shopping lists, and storing sensitive information. In the remaining circumstances, we will be in touch with you over the next few weeks to discuss implementing the change.

What do you think? Has the requirement to register ever put you off from making a purchase online?

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3 Responses to “The 300 million dollar button”


    I agree wholeheartedly – no registration – just straight out purchase. So much simpler – I have a registration with one site and last night took me about 5 attempts to get the name and password exactly right. I know I have lost sales because people do not want to register or set up accounts – especially people who are not used to the E commerce way of doing things. So as I said, the simpler for them to make a purchase the better.

  2. Linda Bernardi Says:

    I definitely get put off with registration process before purchasing, unless I’m getting a very valuable trade/wholesale discount.

    I am too impatient and I know I will forget username and password in the future especially if I can’t generate my own password and user name.

  3. Lisa Baker Says:

    Agree! The number I of times I have been frustrated by not being able to remember a username or password – even when I think I have very cleverely given myself one I can remember – or, even worse, I decide to go ahead and register and cannot come up with a username or password that has not been taken!

    Frustration all round – great advice to forget this annoying step.

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