How to irritate & confuse guest customers who check out on your website
A guest customer is universally considered to be a customer who wishes to buy goods without signing up.
Did you know that you too can reduce your website conversion by applying these simple UX rules:
Findability — hide CTAs that might bring your customer further along his purchase funnel
Usability — never indicate that there’s more content below the fold
Confusion — surprise your customers by leading them to a page that they didn’t expect
Irrelevance — always ask your customers for loads of completely irrelevant information
Delay — restart your mail server during peak traffic hours
Here’s a simple step-by-step to help you destroy your reputation and any trust you may have built up over the years with your customer base.
Step 1. Lull your guests into thinking you’ll sell to anyone
It was a rainy Sunday and we wanted to go to the cinema (family of four).
We’d found a film we liked the look of and a cinema in our town.
And because the film had just been released, we decided to book our tickets in advance.
There really shouldn’t be anything easier that that these days.
Or so we thought.
We called up the cinema’s website and the desired screening.
We agreed on the seats we wanted and hit the button “book now”.
Step 2. Hide the guest checkout route
The top half of my laptop screen was taken up by a summary of what we intended to buy (film name, number of tickets, seat numbers etc.).
The lower half of the screen, however, was filled with the section to log-in.
Hmmm… none of us could log-in because we’d never registered at that cinema site.
But we’re power users and were stumped for only a brief moment…
Although there was no indication of more content, we decided to scroll down the page.
There we found a section to register as a new user.
Hmmm, this can’t be it… can’t we just buy the tickets without all that sign-up nonsense?!
Also here, there was no indication of more content.
After less than 45 seconds into this supposedly simple transaction, we were irritated.
And so, for lack of any alternatives on a rainy day, we scrolled further down the page and found a button inviting us to “check out as guest”.
Finally, we thought, that’s our button and hit it.
Step 3. Triple & quadruple check that guests would rather register
Just because we persevered and managed to find the more-or-less hidden button “check out as guest” doesn’t necessarily mean that we know what we’re doing… (could that be what the website owner thinks?)
In our case, checking out as guests led us to a page with an almost complete registration form… as far as I could tell, only the password field was missing.
All fields were obligatory: name, address, country, eMail, phone number, age, card number etc.
There were no other options to continue the check out process.
Hmmm, we were more than a little confused.
I was irritated… normally, I would leave a website that ask for that amount of superfluous information.
It was still raining outside, so I reluctantly submitted all those details that I had no intention of providing.
This was (and probably still is) an example of collecting superfluous and highly valuable data, presumably, to sell on to dubious business associates.
All in all, the cinema website owners and their dubious associates are guilty of untrustworthy, (jargon: scumbag) behaviour and should be avoided where possible.
The truth is, only my card details should be necessary to check out as a guest.
And I would expect to show my card at the counter to then pick up the tickets.
And should my postal address be necessary for a cinema ticket (and we all know, it’s not necessary to verify the card payment, that’s done by the 3-digit code on the back of the card), then that should be given as a reason why the address is needed.
Step 4. Once you’ve got their money, pretend your guests don’t exist
On top of all this unconventional & impolite behaviour, we didn’t receive a confirmation eMail.
We were expecting to get something to print and take along to the cinema or, alternatively, some QR thing to be used with my phone which we could show at the cinema, which would have the added benefit of saving a tree or two.
But nothing arrived… even though we refreshed our eMail several times.
That, in turn, confirmed that the cinema collected data for no reason — they didn’t need an eMail address since they didn’t send any eMails out.
EDIT: The essential eMail arrived roughly 40 minutes later, just before we left for the cinema.
We were forced to leave early and give ourselves plenty of time, anticipating considerable difficulty at the cinema, not knowing how we could prove that we had indeed bought tickets.
It remains a poor performance none-the-less by their eMail provider.
That’s all there is to it really. You too can easily ruin your reputation whilst reducing your conversion and/or increasing your bounce rate.
Thanks for the read!
If you would like me to look at your website or app, just shoot me an email at beck (at) beck-button (dot) de or, if you prefer, connect via Linked-In.