When and why do you need a user account

Read more: How to design a product card in eCommerce

   We are starting a series of articles about main pain points of eCommerce websites. Online shopping is all about pleasing your customers on each step of their user flow. Today we’re studying user account, when you need them and how to avoid common mistakes for better conversion rates.

 Financial investment App Design by 🐲 Lorne

   For some business, having an account page is a must, for others – an obstacle in the user's path to the purchase. Authorization does increase brand loyalty, but it must be approached carefully. Before deciding whether to make your customers create an account, you need to consider what is more important to you: a purchase or having customer information? In the latter case, you should remember that it can mean losing customers.


Why need an account page?

   Unexperienced eCommerce owners tend to include an account page on their website because they want to get their personal info to spam users with deals and news. Making your customer create an account before making a purchase is #1 thing you can do to make them abandon your website.

What can you do about it?

   Offer your customers to sign up at the end of the check-out process. Don’t make it obligatory, but optional. Explain the benefits they get when creating an account. These may include loyalty programs, gifts, and special offers.

Your website needs an account page if:

  • You are a B2B eCommerce website
  • You offer recurring purchase
  • Discount offers will be based on user’s personal preferences
  • You have a valuable loyalty program


avsc. 3 by Wojciech Zieliński

Don’t be intrusive

   A real story. Once I needed to buy a gift for a friend of mine, so I found that website with weird gifts (I chose a unicorn horn for cats). That’s a kind of a website many people go to, but only a few times a year. When I added the item to the shopping cart, they required me to create an account with lots of my personal info – full name, username (why?), address, country, phone number, email address and so on. I paid with a credit card using a bank app and then had to call them because my address wasn't the address of the delivery.

   The fun part came a week later, when they started spamming me with new deals, asked for feedback via email, and would even send me SMS with discounts and other crap. I instantly unsubscribed from their email, but I never managed to stop receiving SMS. You can probably guess how I felt about that store in just a few weeks? I hated it.

   The lesson to be learned here is – don’t be obtrusive. Most users don’t want to give personal information when they are sure it will be a one-time purchase. You must figure out how to make them get back to your, but not by spamming.

   For 80% of eCommerce websites, an account page is a redundancy. You can manage the shipping having only the address and the phone number.

Talent Portal App by Rifayet Uday

Phone number is the new account

   Everybody has a smartphone, so why not use it? Ask your customers to leave you their phone number and use it as ID for an account. First, it takes less time, and second, you can later ask for extra information but only if it’s necessary.

   If you work with recurring orders (e.g., pet food, restaurant’s supply order), you need to ensure your customers will like your website, products and service so they won’t start looking for an alternative. During the first order, you ask only for the phone number and include it in the client database. If the customer makes another order, you can ask them to give you additional info. In this case, it can be details about their pet – so they offer you relevant products, its birthday – so you give them discounts, and so on. When you do it, you must explain why you ask for additional information.

LENAL Tip: An account must give your customers more than it takes from them.

When users provide personal information, they expect something in return. And here comes loyalty program.


Air Travel App by Rifayet Uday

Loyalty program

   Lots of businesses have them, but it’s often very confusing to understand how they work. Same dog food – it’s not a biggie to give a free treat, but it will make your customer happy. Whatever you sell, you can make up any sort of a ‘treat’.

   If you grant ‘points’ to your customers for each purchase, you must explain the value of those points. Most people expect 30 points to equal $3 or $30. If it’s a discount system, make it clear how big a discount is.

   Unless you can offer valuable offers and decent discount, don’t even start a loyalty program. Many customers are spoilt by programs they get on services like Amazon Prime. It doesn’t mean you need to provide an equivalent one, but rather create the same feeling of importance and care.


User Profile by Patryk Zabielski

Bottom Line

   Having an account page can be either an opportunity to have loyal customers or an obstacle in a user flow. Before setting it up, consider whether you offer enough benefits to your customers when asking to create an account. Make it optional, if possible.

   Most eCommerce websites don’t need authorization, as they can’t offer something valuable in return. Instead of getting user’s personal information and spamming them, ask them to leave a phone number. It will be enough to complete a purchase. Respect your customers and don’t be intrusive.


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