Last time we introduced the concept of a product registration “ecosystem” and discussed two of the key components of that ecosystem, packaging and data quality. This week we focus on two additional components of the ecosystem, both of which involve implementing effective consumer engagement strategies in the online environment.

  1. Managing Abandonment – Getting consumers to your online registration site is only half the battle – clicking the “submit” button is what really matters. Some abandonment is inevitable, due to random hits on your registration page from search engines or links embedded within your web site. However, our statistics suggest that the vast majority of visits to online registration sites are direct traffic (meaning consumers are entering the URL directly into their browser). These consumers are there for a reason (probably because they saw the URL in your packaging materials), so if they abandon the process you’re losing a good lead. Managing abandonment involves thinking through all of the obstacles that may stand between consumers and the submit button and systematically eliminating them. Obstacles we frequently come across include:
    • Preliminary model number selection – some manufacturers require consumers to identify their model number before taking them to the registration form. This could be OK if you’re in a situation where a registration has no value without a valid model number, but that is rarely the case. It’s much better to let consumers navigate to the appropriate registration form based on the category of product purchased and capture the model number on the registration form itself.
    • Indiscriminate use of required fields – is serial number really a requirement? Date of purchase? Maybe even email address (keeping in mind that email addresses can be appended from third party sources)? Every required field is a potential trigger for abandonment, so you should design your forms with this in mind.
  2. Downstream Engagement – The “out of box experience” is your initial opportunity to engage consumers in the registration process, but it’s not your last chance. Logically, most of the visitors to the support section of your web site are likely to be part of your installed base, and the law of averages suggests that 9 out of 10 of those visitors probably did not register their product when they first purchased it. Implementing some messaging strategies on your support site that encourage these visitors to register their products can have a significant impact on total registration volume. In fact, in one case study we implemented with a manufacturer of computer peripherals, these “second chance” registrations accounted for 40% of the manufacturer’s total registration volume.

Back to our original thesis – each of these tactics individually may have a greater impact on registration volume than simply optimizing the registration forms themselves. But, for manufacturers with a dedicated interest in driving registration volume, we always recommend focusing on the ecosystem as a whole, since that’s the only way to generate anything approaching breakthrough growth. There’s still a ceiling to all of this – if anyone tells you they’re going to deliver an 80% registration rate you should grab your wallet. The ecosystem model will take you as far as you can possibly go given the realities of consumer behavior.