Test and implement these guest checkout tactics to reduce cart abandonment, grow ecommerce sales and conversion rates, and have your customers complete the purchase. 

As a customer, do you really want to create an account for every single website you interact with? Absolutely not.

Neither do your visitors. Having a guest checkout is one way to keep people from leaving your ecommerce site before they buy.

On the other hand, if you are a customer, you want these online retailers to know who you are. This is why a website without a guest checkout is regarded as a “conversion killer”.

You may be worried about losing that connection with the customer. But don’t fear. If you implement some of these guest checkout ideas, you will be able to continue the conversation – even if they say they can’t stay for long as of now.

Let’s review these guest checkout tactics to help you grow sales and improve the user experience. It’s packed with examples from a group of top US ecommerce sites to illustrate this article.

Guest Checkout Tactics: What can I do to increase my ecommerce conversion rates?

34% of the users in a Baymard Institute study abandoned an order because they were not offered an ecommerce guest checkout option.

Guest checkouts are an increasingly standard feature of most ecommerce sites today. But what sets the real winners apart is the checkout experience or the finesse with which they give the customer a choice between registering and proceeding as a guest.


1. Create account after purchase

Ironically,  the only bit of additional information an ecommerce site needs is a password to create an account.  Anyone paying with a credit card is providing their name, and it is standard practice to provide an email address for receipts and order updates.

Allow guest shoppers to create an account after the purchase is complete. Most of the information will have been filled in, and it would probably be a matter of adding a couple of fields. This will certainly help raise conversion rates. Not bad, right?

Did you know that your customers are more likely to create an account after they purchase? This may seem counter-intuitive,  the best time to ask someone to do something for you is right after they’ve purchased.  They like you more because they chose you.

If you want to take it a step further, offer a guest checkout only and tell them they can create an account later, if they so desire.


Victoria’s Secret secret (and subtle) approach to account creation.

2. Express payment options or social signups

A good way to complement a guest checkout, which will also save time filling out forms, is to offer a social signup or PayPal as the payment method. Notice how your customers can then go through the checkout without having to enter lots of details. Outstanding!

Not only will these options make for a smooth checkout UX, but they will also have a big impact on mobile checkout rates. No matter how short you make your forms, nothing beats a pre-filled option, especially when you are doing it on your phone.

Be careful, though. Not everyone trusts ecommerce websites with their social data. Thanks, Cambridge Analytica. Instead of “Login with LinkedIn”, try language like “Auto-fill from LinkedIn.”

3. Save your details for the next time

The smartest ecommerce sites give visitors clear reasons for creating an account at the time of purchase. They know that  repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. 

Nothing pushy about signing up for an account or registering for future savings. Just a plain “would you like to save your details for the next time?” Why not? If I enjoy your products, I will definitely be coming back to your shop.

Do you offer a customer loyalty program? Well, there’s no better time to promote the incredible benefits of your program than right after a purchase.

Pro Tip: Craft a special on-exit intent pop-up or turn your thank you page into an invitation to enjoy these benefits. For example, something along the lines of, “Let us save your details and earn discount points.”

4. Should you Visually Prioritize the Guest Checkout?

Even though it is well known – and can be easily measured – that  the majority of checkouts are from non-registered customers , most online shops visually prioritize the returning user sign-in over the ecommerce guest checkout. Nordstrom is an exception.


Nordstrom.com prioritizes the guest checkout over the account creation by placing it on the left.

If you do not prioritize guest checkout over account creation, this option may be invisible to mobile shoppers. We want returning customers to use their account. It makes buying easier and reduces checkout abandonment. [/su_highlight]If the guest checkout is hard to see, sales may suffer[/su_highlight], making this a great area to test and optimize for conversions.

5. No account? Let me give you a cookie

Recognize your returning customers and help them buy your products. Cookies enable online stores to personalize and simplify the shopping experience to a whole new level. Some ecommerce sites, like Walmart, use cookies to recognize returning customers. Their use of persistent cookies provides convenient and rapid access to previous searches and preferences, and in Walmart’s case, that includes last year’s shopping cart!


Walmart has kept this shopping cart for about a year.

6. Offer a Newsletter Opt-In Option on Checkout Pages

If your marketing department’s biggest concern is keeping in touch with newly-acquired shoppers, a simple opt-in to your newsletter will suffice. Visitors have to actively opt-in, so you have to make it worth their while to let you into their inboxes. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.


Be our guest, but why not give us your email address for a chance to win a $10K shopping spree at Blue Nile?

7. Best ecommerce guest checkout tactics to increase conversions: AB test

If you are not sure about providing a guest checkout, AB test it.

You can answer these questions with an AB test:

  •  Do fewer people leave the site on the “Create Account” page if there is a guest checkout? If so, how many? 
  •  How many will people create an account after the sale vs. before checkout? 
  •  Is there an increase in purchase transactions with the guest checkout? If so, how big? 
  •  Is there an increase in revenue with the guest checkout? If so, how much? 
  •  Do more visitors sign in if I make the “Sign In” button more visible? Does it increase checkout abandonment? 

Ecommerce Guest Checkout Examples and Ideas

Of the ecommerce retailer websites examined for this micro-study, most offered a guest checkout. Those that did not include Amazon, Target, Costco and Chewy. If your site has subscription sales, consider adding a guest checkout. It may seem counter-intuitive to you, but it is something you should definitely test.

Below, a few examples for inspiration, many more in the full article (link at the bottom).

Etsy Guest Checkout

Etsy makes the “Continue as a guest” button a low priority visually — what’s called a “ghost button” — and makes the “Sign in or register” option visually significant with the high-contrast, black “Continue” button.


Social checkout or continue as a guest on Etsy. A simple 2-step checkout process.

Apple Cart Page and Checkout

Since so many Apple customers already have an Apple ID, it makes sense for Apple to give the “Checkout with Apple ID” option the more prominent, left-most position over the Guest Checkout.


Returning customers first, and in case you don’t remember, the format of an Apple ID.

Walmart Super Smooth Guest Checkout

Walmart incentivizes its coupon-happy shoppers to create an account by requiring it in order to use a discount code. This could have a negative affect on some shoppers, so AB test such guest checkout tactics.



Get ready to AB test guest checkout tactics and your checkout flow to increase sales.

1. Create account after purchase
2. Express payment options or social signups
3. Save your details for the next time
4. Should you Visually Prioritize the Guest Checkout?
5. No account? Let me give you a cookie
6. Offer a Newsletter Opt-In Option on Checkout Pages

Be sure to measure all the most important KPIs when AB testing.

Guest Checkout Tactics to Grow Ecommerce Sales (with Examples and Ideas)

 On mobile, where registering and filling forms is particularly cumbersome, offer a quick guest checkout combined with a quick payment option like Paypal or Apple Pay. You may end up with fewer registrations but with definitely more sales.