People Think Registration Leads to “Spam”

Customers hate signing up for an account when all they want to do is buy a product from your e-commerce store. One of the reasons people hate registration so much is because they think it will sign them up for a newsletter too.

During our latest usability study on e-commerce checkouts we heard the same complaint over and over again: people hate creating an account when buying online. When we asked them why, 4 out of 10 test subjects told us that they “didn’t want any newsletters”.

For years, sleazy e-commerce sites have tricked customers into signing up for newsletters they don’t want by hiding the mandatory “subscribe to newsletter” checkbox. So people have come to expect that when they sign up for a new account, they also sign up for a newsletter, or “spam”, as more than half of our test subjects called it.

It doesn’t really matter if this perception is accurate or not, because this is the conclusion many customers will jump to if you force them to sign up for an account before they can buy your products.

Do you know of similar misconceptions that e-commerce businesses ought be aware of?

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Authored by Jamie Appleseed

Published on March 25, 2010

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I’m not sure they only expect a newsletter. When people say “spam”, they may really mean spam : that the site will sell their email to other e-commerce. I dislike giving my address because soon or later I have a lot of commercial mails…

You are over-thinking it. People don’t want to create accounts because they already have a ton of other accounts to manage and remember passwords for. There is no benefit to a consumer for a merchant to hold onto non-annonymous customer data so unless you are a frequent user of the service or merchant you don’t need an account anyway. Sure, a “newsletter” may factor into their thinking as well but, at the root, it’s not difficult to understand this consumer behavior. People don’t want to make a bigger commitment than is necessary and having so many accounts in random merchants databases is also a security risk for them.