In this lesson, you will learn how to:
- Promote customer account creation
- Customize and edit your account signup form
- Export customers to CSV and analyze customer data in Analytics

As we know, it costs much more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. In order to build and maintain a solid customer base Bigcommerce provides a customer relationship manager or CRM. In short, your customers can create an account with your store, so that you can collect their contact information, and leverage it to build a loyal fan base that keeps coming back for more. And although we’ll talk about customer groups in another Bigcommerce University video, first you need to encourage customer account creation and learn to manage things on the backend as well as well.
By creating an account your shoppers gain access to features designed to customize their shopping experience. For instance, by creating an account, they can craft and share wishlists of your products, manage their pending orders, and even view and reorder their past purchases in a snap. Who doesn’t want that?
Also, by enabling and encouraging your customers to create an account, you’ll gain the ability to organize your customers into targeted groups. This allows for you to view customer order data, create a tax-exempt group, offer discounts on specific products or categories to a group based on their purchase history, create a wholesale group, and so on.
First thing to know is the difference between a customer and a guest. During the checkout process, you can offer your shoppers to checkout as guest, or register an account. Now, as much as you may want all of your customers to create an account, we do recommend, leaving the “check-out as guest” option available. Statistics show: 14% or more shoppers abandon checkout if they are forced to go through the account creation process.
Now, you’re able to encourage your customers to create an account in many ways including in the top and bottom navigation and even in your marketing efforts.
Naturally, you may be interested in customizing the fields required for a customer to create an account. No problem!
Inside of your store’s control panel go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Account Sign Up Form. Now, although the fields we provide by default cannot be deleted, as they’re necessary for the customer account functionality to work, you can easily make adjustments to them or add new fields. Note the two tabs at the top. “Account signup fields” and “Address fields”. The account signup fields are mandatory, required, and can’t be deleted. A better place to make some
customizations to your customer signup form is within the ‘address fields’ section.
You can edit or copy any field by clicking the action wheel to the right. Under settings for a specific field, you can adjust the name to whatever you would prefer.
You may also add a Default Value which generates that grey, suggestive text that appears in the background of a form field to ensure customer accuracy. Plus, you can have a little fun with it and engage with your customers. Last, you’re able to determine whether a field is required or not. Naturally, the default fields we have are all required.
For advanced users we have an advanced tab. Here you can customize Field Size, set a Maximum Field Length and even tinker with CSS Class name and inline CSS Style. If you don’t know what this terminology means yet, come back to it later.
If you want to add fields, select “Create a New Field” and select your field type from the drop down menu. As you can see, we provide many options so you can tailor your form to your audience and business needs. From there, go ahead and complete the general, and possibly the advanced, fields as you see fit.
It’s wise to create a privacy policy for you online store. This will reassure your customers their information is secure and will only be used in relation to your business. Privacy policy generators are readily available online but we do have some recommendations in our additional resources for when you’re ready.
Once your customer creates an account on the front end of your business, they will see a confirmation page that thanks them, and of course, encourages them to keep shopping. Almost immediately upon creating their account, they can expect to receive a confirmation email that looks like this. This way they can easily access their account in the future.
Ok, so what if you want to add a customer manually after you’ve participated in an event and in-store purchases? Inside your control panel, go to Customers > Add, and begin entering their details.
Here you’ll see the ability to add a customer to a specific customer group. For now, we haven’t created any custom groups. If we had, we could select from the drop down menu. You can also give store credit to this specific customer. If you enter an amount here, when the customer signs into their account and checks out, they will be given the option to use a traditional payment method or put the credit toward their purchase. You can also set whether or not this client has agreed to receive marketing emails. If the field is marked “Yes,” the customer should always be able to unsubscribe. If they do, this field will read “No.” Additionally, you can force a password reset on next login, which is a great option as a customer’s password should only be available to them. Next, you’re able to determine whether this specific customer is tax exempt. This field works in conjunction with Avalara automatic tax calculation and can be enabled in the Tax Settings area of your control panel. Last, if you would like to set a password for your customers, you may do so here. Now, in the “Customer Address Book” tab, you’ll be able to add an address or multiple addresses for this specific customer as needed.
If you’re completing all of this legwork, you want to use it to build your business, right? To export your customers for things like marketing or reconciliation, go ahead to Customers > Export. Select the Bulk Edit template type, then export the CSV file for whatever use-case you have. Easy peasy.
Also, don’t forget to check out your Customers Report in the Analytics area of your control panel. This report will show you the total amount of customers who placed an order during a select time frame and what percentage is new versus returning.
You’ll be able to drill down to learn about specific customer buying behavior and metrics like the total amount spent, number of orders, average order value and more. This can really help you identify your biggest spenders and most loyal customers so you can reward them accordingly.
...and there you have it! You’re ready to begin building a solid customer fan base to help you grow your online store.