Why do online retailers want you to register before buying things?
The easy answer to this question is that when you register on an online retailer website, merchants can add you to their customer database. On the surface, this capability seems to exclusively benefit the merchant, who can utilize your information to market items directly to you, to try to encourage you to make future purchases.
But the option to register on a retail site doesn’t just give the retailer an advantage, it is also a way for retailers to improve your future shopping experiences at their online store. When you register on a site, you give retailers the tools to personalize your shopping experience based on the data they draw from your purchases and browsing history. For example, Amazon remembers your browsing and purchase history and uses this information to power its recommendations feature – so the next time you’re browsing Amazon for your next read, Amazon can direct you to books you might enjoy.
Retailers today are very focused on providing personalized experiences for their customers, and customers’ registering facilitates their ability to engage with customers individually.
Furthermore, retailers offer you the ability to register as a way of speeding up the checkout process – if you’re already registered with their site, their database can recognize you and plug in your shipping and payment information automatically, without you having to enter all your information each time you check out. Most such websites retain your personal data in a secure, PCI compliant receptacle often stored within their payment platform, and they post the security measures they employ clearly on their website.
However, many retailers do recognize that online shoppers do not want to expend the energy to register or don’t want retailers to have their information. Many retailers offer guest checkout, which allows shoppers to checkout quickly without registering.
Retailers often allow shoppers to choose whether they want to register, but, as a shopper, it’s important to know the motivation behind the retailer’s registration request, and to weigh the benefits of registering for the merchant and yourself.
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