Product registration: Companies should make it automatic
ANN ARBOR—Many people pitch those annoying product registration cards when they buy a new computer or lawn mower. And companies who sell those products would be wise to do the same, say University of Michigan researchers.
Consumers say they prefer automatic registration, followed by email and website, but not post-card registration, according to a new study by Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute.
“Registration of new products by customers can help manufacturers communicate important information regarding product updates or recommendations, activate warranties, track usage and maintenance issues, and aid during notifications concerning safety warnings or product recalls,” Schoettle said. “While product registration rates are customarily low, registration methods that are well designed and effectively implemented can result in significant improvements in these rates.”
The study found that only 6 percent of consumers always register products they buy, while another 25 percent usually do and 24 percent sometimes do. On the other hand, 29 percent seldom register products and 16 percent never do.
“Those who were more likely to register products do so to activate warranties or to receive recall notices,” Schoettle said. “Respondents who were less likely to register products find the process to be inconvenient, of no benefit to them, or generally are forgetful about completing the process.”
About 87 percent of consumers say they are more likely to register a product if it were required to activate a warranty, roughly 78 percent say they are more likely to register expensive products, and nearly 63 percent say they would register safety-related products.
More than half of consumers say they are concerned about unwanted communication from the company after registration. But about 79 percent would be more likely to register products if companies were prohibited from contacting customers for purposes other than safety warnings or recalls.
Consumers are more likely to say they would register major appliances and electronic devices (usually expensive items with a warranty to activate) than infant and toddler products or automobile tires (both safety-related products).