Guest Checkout in SiteBuilder™

Guest checkout refers to the ability for shoppers to make a purchase from your store without logging into an account. It’s an alternative to Authenticated Checkout that requires the shopper to log in to checkout.

Guest Checkout in the Essent SiteBuilder ecommerce platform is represented by a single widget called Begin Guest Checkout that is placed on the same page containing the Login widget, giving the system an alternate way for a user to complete a purchase. The widget presents an email address field and a Begin Guest Checkout button to start the Guest Checkout sequence. The widget can be styled like any other widget so that it matches the motif of a given site.

Differences Between Authenticated Checkout and Guest Checkout

The system always needs a customer account to work against regardless of the type of checkout selected.

Guest Checkout is not the opposite of Authenticated Checkout. It is simply a different process available to users who don’t want the overhead of creating an account, establishing a password, remembering a password, or the liability of having accounts sit out there.

Conversely, the user is potentially burdened with entering information like addresses and payment cards each time they want to purchase. The benefits of Authenticated Checkout include user access to Order History, Wish Lists, and Saved Carts, all of which are unavailable in Guest Checkout.

Customer Account

With Authenticated Checkout, the customer is represented by a unique, permanent customer account. When the user successfully logs in, the system automatically prepares the checkout sequence according to customer account data including payment terms, default addresses, plus other business rules that apply to the customer.

In Guest Checkout, the customer is represented by a unique, temporary customer account that is automatically created the moment the user initiates the Guest Checkout sequence. Customer Class, Payment Terms, and Customer Group are derived from the site rules instead of from the customer account. Order specific information such as addresses and payment cards must be entered by the user each time the user selects a Guest Checkout.

Order Submission

All submitted carts, regardless of the checkout method, are processed uniformly per the site’s business rules.

The difference is that when an Authenticated User submits an order, the order goes into the user’s permanent Customer Account, as expected, and order history is available to the user through My Account. A guest has no Customer Account directly available but does have the ability to view the order via a link provided in their Order Confirmation email.

The temporary guest Customer Account is maintained until the order has been completed, plus a grace period at which time the account is merged into the Guest Archive Account. The System Administrator defines the grace period and the Guest Archive Account. This approach maintains the order history for the company for archival and auditing reasons, while preventing clutter from a proliferation of dormant accounts.

Guest Accounts can be converted to Authenticated Accounts by an Employee before the account is archived, after which time the consolidation is irreversible.

Guest Checkout Availability

Guest Checkout is available at no additional subscription fees for SiteBuilder Advanced Ecommerce websites. The feature is not available for Template Ecommerce websites.

Getting Started with Guest Checkout in SiteBuilder

Contact your Essent representative for a Business Analysis session to setup the system in preparation for Guest Checkout, and a walkthrough to confirm the configuration.