This is topic covers one of the things that annoys me the most when I’m shopping online. I recently had a particularly frustrating purchasing experience with Ticketmaster that I wanted to share. This example will help explain why I’m so against forcing online shoppers to create a login account before they can purchase something from your online store.
I was simply trying to purchase tickets for a Seattle Storm game using Ticketmaster online. When you purchase tickets using Ticketmaster, they have this system that automatically tracks how much time you are taking to make your purchase. If you take longer than 2 or 3 minutes, you will lose the tickets you’ve selected and get bumped out of the system. I presume this is to prevent folks from taking tickets and then sitting on them, preventing someone else from buying them. But I offer up my own experience as evidence that giving folks 2 or 3 minutes to complete a purchase is not long enough – especially when you force them to make a customer login account.
So here’s what happened. I selected my tickets and started the check out process. But Ticketmaster forces you to make a customer login account before you complete your purchase, and so, annoyed, I attempted to make an account. Here’s what I got:
Click on the image to make it bigger. It says “Please complete this page within 15 seconds”. And the following warning to tell me that the email address was already registered and I can request the password be sent to me. Now, I timed myself, and it took me 15 seconds just to read the message on this page. And remember, I didn’t want to have to create a login in the first place. I just wanted to buy tickets. I wanted to give them my money. But since they forced me to login, and the clock was ticking, I plain ran out of time:
“You exceeded the time limit and the tickets have been released”
Like this was my fault? I was just trying to give them money, but because they forced me to create a customer login that I didn’t want to create in the first place, and apparently they had my email address on file already, I ran out of time. Needless to say, I was pretty angry. And that they were blaming this on me, the customer – when in fact, it was their own system that is causing the issue, by forcing me to create a login account.
So don’t do this to your customers. If you’re shopping for an online store, I highly recommend one that lets you set customer login accounts as OPTIONAL. The ecommerce store I work with has this setting and all the online stores I develop have this set to optional, not forced. Not all online stores let you make this setting, so be sure and check this out before you buy an online store application.
Don’t force customers to log in to make a purchase – let them make that decision – and if they just want to give you their money and be done with it, let them do it. Let your customers have the fastest possible checkout time and the least amount of frustration and they’ll reward you with completing the purchase.Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.