When it comes it ecommerce, everyone seems to want to develop as many features as they can to ‘wow’ their users. Ironically, some relatively common features, can actually make it more difficult for users to complete purchases.
Perhaps the biggest misconception among ecommerce websites is the idea that you must require users to create an account prior to purchase. People think that user accounts will make it easier for users to check out, but it can have the opposite effect. If you require new customers to create a sign up before they check out, you WILL see a lower conversion rate. Even if all the fields required for account registration are identical to the fields that are required to submit a cart to check out, the user will view it as more work and a commitment, leading some to abandon their cart.
Instead, allow users to choose between “Log in and Checkout” or “Checkout as Guest”. Once a user has completed their guest checkout process; you can prompt them by asking if they would like to save their information to an account for next time. This way, you still get the benefit of collecting customer information, the customer gets the benefit of quicker future checkouts, and you didn’t suffer a lower conversion rate as a result of forceful registration from the start.