By Dave Wilks | Jan 30, 2017
App-based product registration
Industry: Software & Media
Products: App-based product registration
McDonald was interested in something most consumers ignore and many manufacturers considered a cost center with little return: product registration. What if manufacturers could turn registration into an onboarding event to connect with customers, providing critical information to the manufacturer and enabling consumers to build a relationship with the brand?
McDonald reflects on the thesis that led to Registria: "Let's help product companies figure out who is buying their product. Let's build a company specifically to help them do that. Let's turn something no one does, like product registration, into a unique opportunity to help a brand connect with the people buying their products and deliver a remarkable experience."
Using Registria's Photoregister, manufacturers place a camera icon on their packaging. Customers take a picture of the camera and text to register. Within a second of receiving that photo, manufacturers know what the product is, the model, where it was purchased, the serial number, and much more. They know all of this without the consumer having to key in any product information.
Customers get an immediate response from the manufacturing company. In the past, if a consumer bothered to return their registration card, they might get an email thanking them for their purchase six weeks later. The immediacy of the engagement with the customer from texting their registration is instrumental in increasing satisfaction levels leading to "repeat purchase activity and growth in profit," says McDonald. "We really believe that the mobile phone is the only ubiquitous method to connect with consumers. The mobile phone number is more persistent than a land address."
To get off the ground, Registria started off working with major manufacturers like Whirlpool, LG, and Electrolux. However, McDonald says, "Our real aspiration is to be able to take these kinds of capabilities to smaller companies who -- just like us when we first started -- are trying to get a great idea off the ground, to connect with their buyers, and to build loyal advocates."
What is next for Registria? "We've had a lot of early success with signing up some of the biggest brands in the world and the first thing they've said to us is, 'We want to do this in more than just North America.'" Texting is not necessarily the primary way to send messages in the rest of the world, so they are working on registration through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Line. There is much more involved in localizing, but McDonald expects a solution to go live in Australia and Southeast Asia in the first quarter of 2017, with Europe not far behind.
In some cases, government regulations haven't kept up with technology. Despite the low response rate, some manufacturers are required to provide their registration material zip-tied to the product. If a recall occurs on a product that has a registration return rate of less than 8 percent, it is difficult to let consumers know. However, McDonald says, "We have the ability to notify those people via text in the event that those things happen." He and others have spent a lot of time in Washington trying to get regulatory agencies to see that they "need to update their regulations which precede the launch of the iPhone."
Turning product registration into an onboarding event offers numerous advantages: ease of use, manufacturers getting to know customers, engaging with customers and building loyal relationships, second purchases based on that loyalty, immediacy of engagement, and increased positive product reviews.
Challenges: The primary challenge right now is finding the capable and highly adaptable people. "The hardest thing when you're inventing and not following a road that's already been paved is hiring and training folks on something that doesn't exist out there anywhere else," says McDonald.
Opportunities: There are so many opportunities around the customer onboarding event that McDonald states, "Our hardest problem is to figure out which opportunities we're not going to pursue." Right now the focus is on serving a global clientele and integrating with existing apps and technology like "Line, WeChat, and the ability to integrate with things like Alexa or Google Home."
Needs: "Our growth right now is constrained entirely by human capital," says McDonald, noting that Registria has nine openings budgeted for hiring in the first quarter of 2017.