Product Registration – Exposing the Value of Elusive Data

Published by Nathan Baldwin, EVP General Manager and David King, CTO, After, Inc. on January 15th, 2016.

The success of any manufacturer’s direct consumer relationship relies on the registration of customers that have purchased their products. Yet, from our vantage, the marketing sophistication adopted by manufactures to run programs like service contract marketing and customer relationships has not found its way to the entry point – registering the customer.  The majority of OEMs still use an antiquated registration card mixed into the inner pack – hidden amongst the owner’s manual, operational hazard notices, etc.

For the most part, the standard registration card has not changed since its inception. The original purpose of the card was to help the manufacturer start the factory warranty period and have contact information for recalls or legal notices.  It wasn’t until recently that manufacturers started to assess the actual value of using the information to cultivate direct relationships with the consumers that own their products.

Most manufacturers have dismal registration rates – we’ve seen registration rates as low as .002%, and the highest rates we’ve seen are in the 20% ranges. So from what we’ve seen – even the best consumer goods manufacturers know 20% of their customers.  There are some exceptions, such as automotive, in which registration is mandatory and handled by the dealer.  But in most durable categories, voluntary registration is quite low.

Another practice that is a relic from an earlier age is the outsourcing of data entry to firms that provide “free” data entry in return for the right to sell the consumers’ data. We have seen from seed records that consumers begin to receive offers from other brands quite soon, often before the manufacturer can initiate contact.

Fortunately, this practice of selling registration data is becoming less common as manufacturers begin to realize the true value of the customer relationship – not to mention the asset value of the name to the manufacturer. Often, the lifetime value of consumer registration can be in the $30 – $100 value per name range.  Manufacturers are often surprised by how much a consumer record can be worth when you calculate the odds of converting them to add on service contracts, accessories, upgrades and replacement products direct to the consumer.  Not to mention communicating branding critical to shaping their evoked sentiment for future purchases.

Solutions to increasing registration rates have remained elusive. Some vendors have focused on technical solutions that can be integrated into the manufacturing process, but these introduce new challenges as changing these processes, sometimes across global operations, would be cost-prohibitive.  We’ve had some success in making the process of registration more frictionless for consumers, but there’s clearly more to do to boost rates.

In the coming months, we will be expanding these ideas and putting them into action.   If you would like to have a discussion about your product registration processes or ways to improve them – give us a call here at After, Inc.