Those who work in web development are often so accustomed to dealing with usernames, passwords, etc. that they forget one simple fact: lots of people just hate such roadblocks. I'm one of them.
Sure, I understand that creating an account speeds and simplifies the process if I come back for repeat purchases, but when placing my first order I just want to get it done quickly. I don't want a series of tedious hurdles.
Lands' End gets it right. Note that as soon as I start the checkout process, I'm told I don't need an account to place an order. Thanks, guys!
I can't bring myself to buy anything from Lands' End though. As a punctuation stickler, I'll never forgive them for their misplaced apostrophe.
Now let's look at Amazon.com. Here I am all primed to place an order… and the first thing they do is force me to re-enter my email address, create a password, and re-enter the password:
Ugh. Note that they didn't even give me an email address field long enough to accommodate my address! Shame on you, Amazon. I'm going to try chapters.ca instead…
Ahh, now we're talking. At chapters.ca, I can check out without creating an account:
Note that Chapters reminds me, “You can always create an account when you've finished your checkout for faster purchase next time.”
And that's as it should be. Once I've placed my order, go ahead and offer me a chance to create an account. But for crying out loud, let me place my order first!