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Chapter 4. Transactors > Making Registration Seductive

Making Registration Seductive

Overview

Draw your users in a bit at a time and then ask for their commitment at the end.


Registration can be quite a barrier, but some sites can only function properly with registered users. For example, online auction sites must have registered users to keep track of sellers with their products and buyers with their bids. Allowing anonymous sellers and buyers wouldn’t make any sense. To get these users over the registration barrier, you need to engage in a bit of seductive registration.

Before you get all excited, let me explain what I mean: Seductive registration is about creating an incremental registration process in the context of the user’s task. This might not sound sexy, but it certainly is a powerful idea. To see how this works, let’s take a look at how two sites that allow their users to trade goods have designed their registration process.

SwitcHouse enables you to offer an item in exchange for something that a “seller” wants to get rid of. If the seller likes what you have to offer, you can make a trade, and the site collects a small fee. For first-time users, the process works something like this:

1.
Find a product and select the option to propose an exchange.

2.
Sign in as a member or register to become a member.

OR

www.switchouse.com

At this point, new users can decide to either register or just stop and leave the site. The problem with SwitcHouse’s approach is that it comes on too strong by forcing users to register up front.

Swap.com is a similar trading site, but its registration process is more seductive in its flow:

1.
Find a product and select the option to propose an exchange.

2.
Sign in or continue as a guest user.

3.
Propose your product to exchange.

4.
Confirm your offer.

5.
Register.

www.swap.com

The difference in Swap.com’s process is that the registration happens at the end rather than the beginning. What’s important is that the user is allowed to be a “Guest User” and is permitted to enter the product to be exchanged. What happens here is that the user becomes psychologically committed to making this exchange, and it’s after this point that Swap.com asks the user to register. In designing your site, you need to create a path that draws users in bit by bit so that they feel committed to completing the transaction; then you can ask for registration at the end.

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