App Police Episode 3: The Wegman’s Registration Wall

Last week we covered apps with a Pay Wall and the right and wrong ways to approach asking people to pay for content in apps. Today we’ll talk about another wall – the registration wall (“reg wall”). We haven’t met a consumer app publisher who didn’t want to collect personal data on their users. Everyone wants to do this yet so few ever succeed. That’s why you see a lot of social media authentication solutions like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc being used to create app user accounts – those platforms contain valuable information about each user, provided that permission is given to access that information. And it’s information that is extremely difficult to get app users to manually enter into an app.

Bricks and Mortar Retailers Acting Like its 1999

Do you remember going to a grocery store 10, 15, or even 20 years ago and needing that “club” card to get your “special” discounts at the cash register? Today people usually just use their phone number at the cash register to use their club account. But in order to even get a club card you had to go to the customer service desk and fill out a form with your name, phone number, address, etc. That was the “big data” of yesteryear.

Retailers are getting savvy with apps – companies like Home Depot, Lowes, even Whole Foods have apps that are helpful. The home improvement stores do one key thing right – they tell the isle number of a product so you don’t have to hunt for one of the few store associates that are left roaming the stores.

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Wegman’s Misses the Mark with a Registration Wall

On a recent trip to Wegman’s (must be the largest grocery store in America) I struggled to find what I was looking for without roaming their endless isles. Sure, it’s nice to be able to get a great deal on groceries and go to only one place for household shopping. And technology can really help the experience; instead, the Wegman’s app hinders it.

The key issue is that Wegman’s is requiring all users of the app to go through a lengthy registration process to use the app. And they KNOW IT! Why? Because they have a feature that I have yet to see in any other app – a preview mode inside a live app! They’re essentially saying that they know the process is tedious but hey,  check out all the things you can do after you go through the litany of questions about yourself. This is a grocery store, not the Department of Homeland Security!

The experience is very frustrating because I needed to do ONE THING: find isles for the stuff I need to buy. I absolutely am NOT going to go through a long on-boarding process just to get that. The worst part about this experience is that the app is useless without a login.

Improve the On-boarding Experience

Some of this stuff is really simple yet large companies like Wegman’s just avoid the obvious. If they want people to register just use the social medial platform logins – it’s 2 clicks and the user is done! Some of the details they seek are already in Facebook or Twitter. Why waste people’s time? And really the proper way to do all this is to show value first, get rid of meaningless app previews, and let people do basic stuff. Then, ask to create an account when needed. If people see value they’ll participate.

Another example: ask for people’s zip code by saying they will get alerted to specials as they come up, or special events in the store.

Requiring a long on-boaring process is a barrier to getting people using apps. Make the first launch experience easy!