I’ve studied a lot of in-depth research on e-commerce and one of the more disruptive user experiences is requiring customers to create accounts before allowing them to give you money.
Of the top 100 sites evaluated by the Baymard Institute in a 2012 study, 76% allowed guest checkout.
But only one of these companies (ranked #1 of 100) allowed a guest user to create an account after checkout. The checkout process should be linear, so asking a customer to create an account at the end of the purchasing process makes sense and is a better user experience.
It’s difficult to find examples of sites doing this since it requires making a purchase, but I did come across one finally: Half Price Books, a Texas-based used books chain.
Good job! Now just remove the password confirmation field 🙂