Last week I spent three fast-paced days in Chicago at the International Home + Housewares Show (#IHHS2017). Presented by the International Housewares Association (IHA), this incredible event brings together thousands of exhibitors from around the world and more than 62,000 attendees. So much energy and excitement, I have to admit it’s one of the best industry trade shows I’ve ever attended.

My colleagues and I made the rounds on the exhibit floor and beyond visiting clients, such as KitchenAid, DeLonghi and Cuisinart, as well as making new friends. Overall we met with more than 100 small home appliance brands that produce everything from coffee makers and kettles, and pots and pans, to humidifiers, air conditioners, and more.

The trending topic this year seemed to be cooking “sous vide” – an intriguing method of cooking that involves food in vacuum-sealed bags brought to a precise temperature in a water bath. This culinary technique is making its way from the ranks of top restaurants to home chefs who want restaurant quality and consistency. The interest in such specialized techniques and equipment demonstrates how consumers continue to have an appetite (pun intended) for small home appliances that provide new features.

It also demonstrates why it’s more important than ever for the companies who make these appliances to connect with their customers in a new way. When you have a niche or high-end market, every customer interaction matters. One thing that many companies don’t recognize is the huge post-purchase opportunity to connect with people who have already bought into the brand.

Enticing a customer to engage with the brand immediately after opening the product packaging creates an entirely new sales channel. When someone goes through the process of using a Smart Phone to register a product, Registria’s digital onboarding platform enables a brand to make e-commerce offers at the same time. If they’re registering a coffee maker, for example, we can offer filters, mugs, or other accessories. In the same way we’re offering accessories, we can offer an extended warranty. For companies that make products requiring consumables (such as replacement filters), we can have a conversation about buying into the replacement program at the time of registration.

After registering a product in minutes with their mobile phone, the customer receives an automated thank you email. This triggers a post-purchase customer journey that may include tips and tricks, videos, recipes, etc. It also includes a continued e-commerce dialogue and a well-timed request for the consumer to rate or review the purchased product. Incidentally, this approach consistently drives much more positive feedback – right at the height of purchase excitement – to balance out the reviews that are written after a customer has had a bad experience.

For many companies we spoke with last week, the idea of driving incremental revenue and increasing customer engagement through a post-purchase onboarding experience was an exciting proposition. We look forward to working with many them to realize the benefits of this new channel.