WO2001020525A1 - System, method and computer program product for registering consumer products and distributing consumer product information - Google Patents

System, method and computer program product for registering consumer products and distributing consumer product information Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001020525A1
WO2001020525A1 PCT/US2000/025309 US0025309W WO0120525A1 WO 2001020525 A1 WO2001020525 A1 WO 2001020525A1 US 0025309 W US0025309 W US 0025309W WO 0120525 A1 WO0120525 A1 WO 0120525A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
information
consumer product
product
consumer
computer
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Application number
PCT/US2000/025309
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Paul Frederick Laporte
Charles Laporte
Original Assignee
Loyaltyworks, Inc.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US39721299A priority Critical
Priority to US09/397,212 priority
Application filed by Loyaltyworks, Inc. filed Critical Loyaltyworks, Inc.
Publication of WO2001020525A1 publication Critical patent/WO2001020525A1/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions

Abstract

A method, system, and computer program product for registering product information and for distributing information to users of products is disclosed. Consumer product registration information is received through an electronic communications channel at a centralized registration site service provider (104). The centralized registration site distributes product registration information (110) to manufacturers (106) in a manner that enables customer manufacturers to take advantage of a 'recency' period. The centralized registration site service provider also enables efficient distribution of information (e.g., safety information) through an electronic communications channel using targeted distribution methods.

Description

System, Method and Computer Program Product for Registering Consumer Products and Distributing Consumer Product Information

Background of the Invention Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to consumer product registration, and more particularly to the centralized registration of consumer products and the centralized distribution of consumer product information.

Related AH

Product manufacturers, such as, e.g., personal computer manufacturers, often include product registration cards with their products for various purposes, including the ability to address a notification of a safety problem with or recall of a product. For example, registration cards can be included inside the packaging for the product. The registration card is used to send information about the purchaser or consumer (i.e., the so-called user), from the purchaser to the manufacturer. Specifically, the registration card can convey various types of information including, e.g., address information, purchase date, and location of the purchase. The manufacturer can then use the registration information for many purposes such as the provision of warranty service, or for future marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, not all consumers fill out and send back product registration cards to manufacturers. Only an estimated one third of consumers actually complete and mail in product registration cards. Users send registration cards to a manufacturer to inform the manufacturer that the user has purchased the manufacturer's product. The user subsequently expects that the manufacturer will inform the user of any product problems (e.g., recalls). The more expensive the product that the user purchases, the more likely that the user will submit the registration card. When warranties are involved, user response rates can sometimes exceed 60%.

Current product registration response levels are sub-optimal. Low response rates can be attributed in part to consumer inconvenience involved in preparing and sending in registration cards, a low perceived value of consumer benefits from registration submission, and concerns related to personal privacy that arise from a manufacturer's dissemination of personal information.

Notwithstanding the product response rates, current manufacturers do not effectively harness the value contained in submitted product registration cards. For example, many companies have rooms filled with boxes of unprocessed submitted registration cards. In other companies, cards are alphabetized, but not keyed into data processing equipment. Still other companies send registration cards to processing companies that send them offshore for data-entry. Conventionally, registration cards are often ignored, even when received by manufacturers, partly because manual- processing labor is expensive and slow. Business units are not typically motivated to own the product registration process because it was known to result in a non-revenue- generating budget item and because it was decidedly uninteresting.

A conventional product registration process is illustrated in the block diagram 100 of FIG. 1 A. Block diagram 100 includes a user 102 interacting with a data entry component 104. User 102 can be a consumer purchaser of a product that was manufactured by the manufacturer 106. User 102 can purchase the product directly from the manufacturer 106 or indirectly via, e.g., a wholesaler, distributor, reseller, or retailer. Other users 102 can include, e.g., any purchaser of a product, a purchasing representative of a business, and a person responsible for order and setup of a product at a business.

User 102 is shown physically delivering a registration card 108 to data entry component 104. In one embodiment, data entry component 104 represents an organization responsible for keying-in information presented on registration card 108 into a data processing system. In an alternative embodiment as shown in FIG. 1 A, data entry component 104 is associated manufacturer 106 as part of manufacturer entity 1 12.

After receiving registration cards 108, data entry component 104 delivers registration information 110 conveyed on the registration card 108 to manufacturer 106. The overall process of delivering product registration information from user 102 to manufacturer 106, can require passage of a time duration of up to 90 - 100 days.

FIG. IB illustrates in further detail the product registration process depicted in block diagram 100. FIG. IB includes a flow diagram of an example product registration process 1 14 illustrating registration of a product purchased by the user 102 from the manufacturer 106.

Specifically, method 1 14 begins with step 1 16 and continues immediately with step 118. In step 1 18, user 102 drops the registration card 108 in the mail for sending to data entry component 104. The method 1 14 then continues as shown with step 120. In step 120, data entry component 104 performs the step of physically sorting registration cards 108. Physical sorting is necessary since the data entry component 104 can provide data entry services for multiple types of registration cards, products, and manufacturers. From step 120, method 1 14 continues with step 122.

In step 122, data entry component 104 manually keys-in the registration information entered on the registration card 108 by user 102. Registration information typically includes various types of information such as, e.g., demographic information about the user 102, information about the particular type and model of product purchased, distribution channel used, and information regarding the satisfaction of the user 102. From step 122, method 1 14 continues with step 124. In step 124, a cleansing process is performed on the keyed-in data to ensure the accuracy of the entered data. From step 124, method 1 14 continues with step 126. In step 126, the keyed-in registration card data is placed in electronic buckets. For example, data can be inserted into fields of a database record of a database. From step 126, method 1 14 continues with step 128.

In step 128, the electronic registration card information 1 10 is ported to manufacturer 106 from data entry component 104. Porting can include simply sending the data to the manufacturer 106 or translating the data into a form acceptable by the manufacturer 106. From step 128, the method 1 14 continues with step 130.

In step 130, the manufacturer 106 performs further data cleansing procedures. These additional cleansing procedures are used to ensure the integrity of data received from an unfamiliar agency 104 (e.g., third party processor or separate organization). For example, the manufacturer 106 can parse the data, import the data into a database, store the data for later use, or discard the data when aged beyond a certain time duration. Often, the manufacturer 106 may choose not to input the registration information to a database at all. From step 130, method 1 14 continues with step 132. In step 132, the manufacturer 106 finally has what the manufacturer 106 believes is a reliable set of product registration information and is now ready for an actionable event to occur. As noted above, reaching step 132 can typically take up to 90-100 days.

Generally, manufacturers 106 lose value in several ways by not processing or slowly processing registration cards. Manufacturers 106 that choose not to use the manual registration card entry system of FIG. 1 A- IB, do not know which users 102 are buying the manufacturers' products and the users' reasons for doing so. These manufacturers 106 lose a valuable opportunity to establish and build long-term one-to-one relationships with consumers 102. One-to-one consumer-to-manufacturer relationships increase brand loyalty. For the manufacturers 106 that do choose to use the manual registration card entry system of FIG. 1 A-1B, they are losing significant value due to the delays in receiving the product registration data. It is therefore desirable that an improved method and system for registering products and distributing product information to consumers to increase consumer value in the registration process be provided that overcomes limitations of conventional product registration methods.

Summary of the Invention

A method, system, and computer program product for product registration and information distribution is provided by the present invention.

In the present invention, a registration site service provider operates as a centralized location for efficiently receiving product registration information. Product registration information can be directly provided by a user through various means including a web interface, an interactive voice response system, interactive television, etc. Additionally, product registration information can be indirectly provided in an automated fashion via an electronic commerce retailer (e-tailer). Received product registration information is entered into a database and sorted for distribution to manufacturers. It is a feature of the present invention that the timing of delivery of registration information to manufacturers can be set based upon a manufacturer's customer status. For example, manufacturers that are customers of the registration site service provider can receive the information promptly, while manufacturers that are not customers of the registration site service provider will receive the information after the conclusion of a "recency" period.

In the present invention, the registration site service provider also operates as a centralized location for efficiently distributing product related information to consumers. In one embodiment, the registration site service provider can distribute to users in a targeted manner, customized content including information such as, e.g., product and service offerings, custom newsletters, safety information, and compilations of consumer product information. Further features and advantages of the invention, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers generally indicate identical, functionally similar, and/or structurally similar elements. The drawing in which an element first appears is indicated by the leftmost digits in the corresponding reference number.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 A depicts a high-level block diagram illustrating an example product registration process by which a user can register a product with a manufacturer,

FIG. 1 B depicts a more detailed flow diagram illustrating an example product registration process;

FIG. 2 depicts a block diagram illustrating a process by which a user can register a product with a manufacturer via an automated registration site service provider;

FIG. 3 depicts a graph illustrating a concept of recency; and FIG. 4 depicts a block diagram illustrating a process by which a registration site service provider can distribute product-related information to consumers.

Detailed Description of the Invention

A preferred embodiment of the invention is discussed in detail below. While specific implementations are discussed, it should be understood that this is done for illustration purposes only. A person skilled in the relevant art will recognize that other components and configurations may be used without parting from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Conventional product registration processes are inherently limited in their timeliness of output as well as functionality. These limitations have caused product registration business units within organizations to be viewed simply as a non-revenue- generating budget item, the costs of which, was simply tolerated by manufacturers. In the present invention, the product registration process has been redefined. With the features of the present invention, manufacturers gain a valuable opportunity to establish and build long-term one-to-one relationships with consumers, thereby increasing brand loyalty. To illustrate the features of the present invention, the overall product registration process is described in two parts. First, the product registration process is viewed with respect to the flow of product registration information from consumers to manufacturers. Second, the product registration process is viewed with respect to the advantageous flow of information from information service providers to consumers.

Flow of Registration Information from Consumers to Manufacturers

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary block diagram 200 depicting conveyance of product registration information 208 from a user 102, via registration site service provider 204, to manufacturers 206a, 206b. In one embodiment, registration information 208 can be conveyed directly from the user 102 to the registration site service provider 204 via, e.g., a web interface, an interactive voice response system (IVR), or an interactive television (I-TV) connection, as demonstrated by communication 218. These interfaces are well known by one of ordinary skill in the relevant art and are not described in detail.

Alternatively, registration information 208 can be conveyed to the registration site service provider 204 indirectly through the distribution channel. For example, if user 102 purchases a product via an electronic commerce retailer (e-tailer) 212, user 102 can convey registration information 208 to the e-tailer 212, as shown by communication 214. The e-tailer 212 can then provide automatic product registration by forwarding the registration information 208 to registration site service provider 204, as indicated by communication 216. In a preferred embodiment, communication 216 is performed via an Internet connection.

The registration information 208, conveyed directly or indirectly to registration site service provider 204, can then be advantageously prepared and forwarded on to manufacturers 206a, 206b. Generally, registration information 208 processing at registration site service provider 204 includes the creation of one or more databases (not shown) that can be sorted by manufacturer and product. It will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant art that other processing can be performed, such as, e.g., cleansing and further sorting by particular attributes such as demographic and psychographic user traits. Registration information 208 can then be placed in queues for scheduled delivery to different classes of manufacturers 206a, 206b. Unlike a conventional product registration process that may take up to 90-100 days, the delivery of product registration information from the user 102 to the manufacturers 206 can take as little as 24 hours.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, manufacturers are divided into a group of customer manufacturers 206a and a group of non-customer manufacturers 206b. It is a feature of the present invention that the timing of delivery of registration information 208 to manufacturers 206a, 206b can be prioritized or scheduled according to the relationship between a particular manufacturer 206a, 206b and the registration site service provider 204. More specifically, in one embodiment of the present invention, a customer manufacturer 206a of the registration site service provider 204 can be provided prioritized delivery of registration information as compared to a non-customer manufacturer 206b. The basis for this distinction is explained in view of the concept of "recency." "Recency" is the most important variable in a direct marketer's sophisticated models for predicting response to an offer-to-buy. "Recency" states that a purchaser of a product is highly likely to purchase a related product within a very short period of time following a purchase. "Recency" is the most important predictor of buying behavior. The concept of "recency" is explained with reference to the graphical illustration of FIG. 3. FIG. 3 depicts a graph 326 that includes a horizontal axis 328 representing time, and a vertical axis 330 representing a likelihood to purchase a product by a user. Referring now to graph 326, curve 332 maps the likelihood of purchase by user

102 as a function of time. An actual purchase event 334 is represented on curve 332 at t = 0. This point reflects the intuitive notion that the point of purchase represents the greatest level of the user's likelihood to purchase the product. X-axis 328 is a relative time graph indicating time prior to the purchase event 334 and time following the purchase event 334. Curve 332 is illustrated for convenience as a bell curve with a maximum at the purchase event 334. While the shape and characteristics of curve 332 is subject to some speculation, it is not unlikely that a user's likelihood to purchase diminishes exponentially at some point after a purchase event 334. Some efforts have theorized that a purchaser is approximately three times more likely to make a second purchase at two weeks from the actual purchase event 334 than would a purchaser at two months from the actual purchase event 334. "Recency" therefore dictates that capitalizing on a purchaser's likelihood to purchase after a purchase event 334 is a limited window of time.

This concept of "recency" clearly shows the limitations of a conventional product registration process. As noted with reference to FIG. 1 A, conventional product registration processes can take up to 90-100 days. This lengthy time delay will typically prevent the manufacturer from taking advantage of the "recency" period. As noted, the concept of "recency" advantageously recognizes that the likelihood of purchase of related products and/or services is much greater during a time period relatively near to the actual purchase of the original product. Preferred customer manufacturers 206a are given timely customer registration information to facilitate the exploitation of the user's tendency to purchase in the time period near the actual purchase event 334. The so-called "recency" window is known to vary in duration for different products and for different categories of products and can be as much as a three-month period beginning at the actual purchase event 334. Within the "recency" window, the customer information included in submitted registration information is most valuable to manufacturers 206 and can be used with greatest likelihood of success to close incremental product and service offering sales. The present invention recognizes the importance of recency and provides differentiated service levels to customer manufacturers 206a of a registration site service provider 204 as compared to non-customer manufacturers 206b. Communications 220 and 222 represent the download of registration information 208 to manufacturers 206a and 206b, respectively. Scheduling of downloads can be performed according to a hierarchical class-based queuing process. Class priority can be used to provide discriminated delivery offerings, enabling "recency" marketing for certain classes. For example, customer manufacturers 206a can be placed in a high priority class for download delivery during a "recency" period and can also be provided other preferential services such as, e.g., periodic (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly) or aperiodic download (e.g., ad hoc by request and realtime). Non-customer manufacturers 206b, on the other hand, can be placed in a low priority class and will be scheduled to receive the customer registration information only after the "recency" period (e.g., 3 months) has expired.

In summary, customer manufacturers 206a receive timely and detailed data reports based on their requirements and preferences. Non-customer manufacturers 206b, on the other hand, receive only the essential registration information necessary to fulfill the registration site service provider's obligation to the user 102. Significantly, this information is withheld until the "recency" period has expired. By delivering the registration information 208 to non-customer manufacturers 206b, many non-customer manufacturers 206b will advantageously seek to subscribe as customer manufacturers 206a because of recognition of the value to be gained from the product registration services.

During the "recency" window, when consumers are most likely to purchase a related product, the present invention enables registration site service provider 204 to present personalized purchasing opportunities and/or targeted store coupons to the consumer 102 for itself or for customer manufacturers 206a. The registration site service provider 204 is thereby able to use one-to-one marketing tools to create long-term relationships and follow-on sales for itself or for customer manufacturers 206a. Significantly, it should be noted that these follow-on sales do not create any channel conflict. Channel conflict involves the tradeoffs a manufacturer 206 considers in using advantageous market information to drive sales through alternate channels. In the present invention, the registration site service provider 204 can provide direct offers, via targeted coupons aimed at the original storefront, thereby stimulating the original sales channel. In the example of FIG. 2, manufacturers 206 were grouped into customer manufacturers 206a and non-customer manufacturers 206b. These manufacturers 206 were largely discussed in the context of manufacturers that traditionally used product registration cards. It is a further feature of the present invention, that the registration site service provider 204 can enable the provision of product registration information to manufacturers that were previously unable to retrieve registration information from users 102. For example, consider a pen manufacturer. In many instances, a pen that is sold to a consumer has a small surrounding package that is not conducive for including a product registration card. The present invention enables a pen manufacturer to leverage the product registration system of the present invention. In particular, a manufacturer that previously could not use card-based product registration could simply include a website or telephone number information for registration site service provider 204 on the package to steer the user 102 to the product registration input process of FIG. 2. This feature greatly expands the reach of the conventionally limited product registration system of FIGS. 1 A- IB.

Further efficiencies of the product registration process of the present invention can be seen through the efficiency of the product registration input process. As the registration site service provider 204 represents a common interface to multiple manufacturers 206, users 102 need not enter duplicate personal information. Once a set of personal information has been provided to registration site service provider 204, a user 102 need only enter product and manufacturer information for each subsequent product registration. Further, changes of address are efficiently disseminated throughout the product registration system. For example, one address change provided to registration site service provider 204 can be broadcast to each manufacturer 206 that the user 102 is associated with (e.g., through previous purchases or indication of future interest). These efficiencies are in sharp contrast to the conventional product registration system of FIG. 1 A, which required an independent transaction for each individual product registration.

Yet another byproduct of the present invention is the ability to send aggregate registration information indicative of purchasing behavior to the manufacturers 206. Purchasing behavior can include information about users 102, in a whole consumer context, since user registration data is captured across multiple products from multiple manufacturers. This purchasing behavior information can include a broad amount of data on consumer personal demographics and psychographic behavior. Consumer personal demographic information can include attributes about a given user 102 that are provided by a given user. Psychographic behavior information can often be substantially different from demographic information attributes provided by a given user. Behavioral information includes observed behavior such as purchasing behavior. A purchaser of a Cadillac automobile, expensive notebook computer and golf clubs, could have an attractive psychographic attribute desired for target by an advertiser. Behavioral information is based on tracking observed behavior to create a behavioral profile for a given user. By storing information regarding purchases by users 102 in a database (not shown) in registration site service provider 204, valuable data can be derived for target marketing. Since behavioral information tracks real user behavior, it is thought to often be more trustworthy than entered or claimed attribute information. For example, psychographic purchasing patterns can be more valuable to a marketing person than a person's demographic income.

Demographic information which can be collected about users and observed psychographic behavioral information compiled can be used to provide, e.g., targeted advertising, targeted e-commerce offerings, and customized or personalized content, products and services.

Flow of Information from Information Service Providers to Consumers The conventional product registration process of FIGS. 1 A- IB is used primarily by a manufacturer 106 to gather information about users 102. This one-way flow of information from users to manufacturers is one of the reasons why conventional product registration has not achieved greater consumer acceptance. Users 102 want to know that they are receiving significant value for taking the time to enter registration information on a registration card and for mailing the card back to the manufacturer 106 or to the manufacturer's representative 104. The present invention provides a significant improvement over conventional methods by providing a valuable return service to users 102. This valuable return service is the targeted distribution of valuable information to consumers through the registration site service provider 204. As will be described in greater detail below, this information distribution serves to alert users 102 that the product registration process is non-trivial and is encouraged.

FIG. 4 illustrates an information distribution process of the present invention for conveyance of information to users 102 from one or more information service providers. Registration site service provider 204 receives information from information service providers such as, e.g., manufacturers 206, business partner service providers 402, and consumer affairs agencies 404. Once gathered, registration site service provider 204 can then send targeted consumer information 412 to a user 102.

Information can be sent to the registration site service provider 204 from manufacturer 206, as shown by communication 406. Received information can include, e.g., safety information, on-line manuals, support center locations, and product information such as, e.g., product specifications.

Business partners 402 can include, e.g., distributors, resellers, retailers, discounters, e-tailers, and value added resellers (VARs) of manufacturers 206. Business partner service providers 402 can send information similar to that sent by manufacturers 206. In addition, the business partners 402 can send warranty content, "how-to" information, and other information as shown by communication 408.

Information can also be sent to the registration site service provider 204 from consumer affairs agency 404, as shown by communication 410. Consumer affairs agency 404 can represent, e.g., the consumer product safety commission (CPSC), a consumer reporting organization, or any other organization providing valuable product related information to consumers 102. Information received from a consumer affairs agency 404 is particularly noteworthy and valuable to a user 102. This received information can represent vital safety information that is relevant to continued safe operation of a purchased product. For example, public service agencies like the CPSC provide information related to safety and product defects. Manufacturers 206 often announce product recalls. The CPSC collects information regarding recalls. Conventionally, however, safety and recall information from the CPSC is obtained by a user 102 through the searching of a publicly accessible website and through the retrieval of the relevant information stored therein. The effectiveness of this process is highly dependent upon the timeliness and accuracy of the searching performed by user 102. Failing this retrieval, a user 102 can only be alerted by general recalls of the product through traditional mass media channels.

In the present invention, on the other hand, safety information is efficiently routed to users 102. More specifically, product safety information can be downloaded to registration site service provider 204 from consumer affairs agency 404 as soon as it becomes available. This safety information for a particular product can be routed immediately to the users 102 that have previously purchased that particular product or have expressed some interest in that particular product. This action by the registration site service provider 204 of the present invention has dramatically changed the effective distribution of product safety information. Whereas previously a user 102 was responsible for "pulling" the safety information from the relevant consumer affairs agency 404, now, the relevant safety information is automatically "pushed" to targeted users 102 as soon as it becomes available.

Such information, when provided to the registration site service provider 204 as shown, can be automatically sent to all past and prospective purchasers of the product via e-mail messages directed to identified e-mail addresses. In an alternative embodiment, a voice message can be broadcast to selected phone numbers for the relevant users 102.

As an additional service to the provision of product safety information, registration site service provider 204 can also be configured to generate and distribute product newsletters that can convey only the product news relevant to each user 102. These product newsletters can contain information relating to some or all products previously purchased and also regarding related or prospective products in which that user 102 has expressed some interest. Target products can further be based on demographic information and psychographic information. Newsletters can be sent on a user-selectable basis. For example a user 102 can choose to receive a newsletter on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, or other basis. In addition, the newsletter can include information about registered products such as available upgrades, extensions, and newly announced models. Information can be distributed about related products for use to drive prospective purchases. Advantageously, the newsletters can contain information about multiple products and multiple manufacturers. Further, the newsletters can be customized to provide personalized one-on-one marketing. In general, the distribution of user-specific newsletters provides another valuable service to users 102. In this environment, users 102 receive only the information that is relevant to them, not general non-targeted product information that is distributed indiscriminately by the manufacturers.

As a general service to users 102, registration site service provider 204 can also operate as a source of comprehensive product information. This comprehensive product information can be provided to a user 102, upon request by the user 102. In one embodiment, the comprehensive product information is provided to users 102 as a hyperlinked list of products. Each product hyperlink enables a user to drill down to product specific infoπnation such as date of purchase, purchase price, manuals, warranty infonriation. information about service locations, "how-to" videos, reviews, etc. Generally, the hyperlinked list can be used by user 102 to access any information that is received by the registration site service provider 204 from manufacturers 206, business partner service providers 402, or consumer affairs agencies 404.

As an additional benefit, this hyperlinked list of products can serve as a personalized inventory of products purchased by a user 102. This consumer inventory information is a valuable list that is useful for insurance purposes when a user 102 needs to assemble a list of items lost in a fire or theft.

In accordance with the concept of "recency" described above, registration site service provider 204 can also send to targeted users information regarding related products and services. For example, extended warranty agreements could be marketed shortly after the original sale. Targeting direct sales from manufacturers can be organized using the data stored in the databases of registration site service provider 204 or via analysis of data downloaded to manufacturers 206.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the above-described exemplary embodiments, but should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.

Claims

What is Claimed is:
1. A computer program product having control logic recorded therein, said control logic, when executed, causing a computer to coordinate a product information distribution process, said control logic comprising: first receiving means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers; second receiving means for enabling the computer to receive product information for one or more of a plurality of consumer products; identifying means for enabling the computer to identify a set of products that includes products that have been purchased by a first user; generating means for enabling the computer to generate a compilation of consumer product information that has been received for said set of products; and sending means for enabling the computer to send said compilation of consumer product information to said first user.
2. The computer program product of claim 1, wherein said identifying means comprises means for enabling the computer to identify a set of products that includes products purchased by said first user or products in which said first user has expressed interest.
3. The computer program product of claim 1, wherein said sending means enables the computer to send compilations to said first user periodically.
4. The computer program product of claim 1, wherein said sending means enables the computer to send compilations to said first user aperiodically.
5. The computer program product of claim 1 , wherein said sending means enables the computer to send compilations via an electronic mail system.
6. A product information distribution method, comprising the steps of: (a) receiving consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers;
(b) receiving product information for one or more of a plurality of consumer products; (c) identifying a set of products that includes products that have been purchased by a first user;
(d) generating a compilation of consumer product information that has been received for said set of products; and
(e) sending said compilation of consumer product information to said first user.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein step (c) comprises the step of identifying a set of products that includes products purchased by said first user or products in which said first user has expressed interest.
8. The method of claim 6, wherein step (e) comprises the step of sending compilations to said first user periodically.
9. The method of claim 6, wherein step (e) comprises the step of sending compilations to said first user aperiodically.
10. The method of claim 6, wherein step (e) comprises the step of sending via an electronic mail system.
1 1. A computer program product having control logic recorded therein, said control logic, when executed, causing a computer to coordinate a product information distribution process, said control logic comprising: first receiving means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers; second receiving means for enabling the computer to receive safety information for a first consumer product; identifying means for enabling the computer to identify a set of consumers that includes consumers that have purchased said first consumer product; and sending means for enabling the computer to send said received safety information for said first consumer product to said identified set of consumers.
12. The computer program product of claim 1 1 , wherein said second receiving means comprises means for enabling the computer to receive said safety information from at least one of a manufacturer and a consumer product safety commission.
13. The computer program product of claim 1 1 , wherein said identifying means comprises means for enabling the computer to identify a set of consumers that includes consumers that have purchased said first consumer product and consumers that have expressed interest in said first consumer product.
14. The computer program product of claim 1 1, wherein said sending means enables the computer to send safety information via an electronic mail system.
15. The computer program product of claim 1 1 , wherein said sending means enables the computer to send safety information via a telephone.
16. A product information distribution method, comprising the steps of:
(a) receiving consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers;
(b) receiving safety information for a first consumer product;
(c) identifying a set of consumers that includes consumers that have purchased said first consumer product; and
(d) sending said received safety information for said first consumer product to said identified set of consumers.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein step (b) comprises the step of receiving said safety information from at least one of a manufacturer and a consumer product safety commission.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein step (c) comprises the step of identifying a set of consumers that includes consumers that have purchased said first consumer product and consumers that have expressed interest in said first consumer product.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein step (d) comprises the step of sending safety information via an electronic mail system.
20. The method of claim 16, wherein step (d) comprises the step of sending safety information via a telephone.
21. A computer program product having control logic recorded therein, said control logic, when executed, causing a computer to coordinate a consumer product registration process, said control logic comprising: receiving means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers; sorting means for enabling the computer to sort said received consumer product registration information based upon the consumer product manufacturer to produce manufacturer-specific sets of consumer product registration information; and sending means for enabling the computer to send a manufacturer-specific set of consumer product registration information to the corresponding consumer product manufacturer.
22. The computer program product of claim 21 , wherein said receiving means comprises second receiving means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information directly from said user.
23. The computer program product of claim 22, wherein said second receiving means comprises means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information using an online registration system.
24. The computer program product of claim 22, wherein said second receiving means comprises means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information through an interactive voice response system.
25. The computer program product of claim 21 , wherein said receiving means comprises second receiving means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information indirectly from said user.
26. The computer program product of claim 25, wherein said second receiving means comprises means for enabling the computer to receive consumer product registration information from an electronic commerce retailer.
27. The computer program product of claim 21 , wherein said sending means comprises means for enabling the computer to periodically send said manufacturer- specific consumer product registration information.
28. The computer program product of claim 21 , wherein said sending means comprises means for enabling the computer to aperiodically send said manufacturer- specific consumer product registration information based upon volume of product registrations.
29. The computer program product of claim 21 , further comprising means for enabling the computer to determine whether a manufacturer is a customer; and if said manufacturer is not a customer, then delaying sending of consumer product registration information until a recency period has expired.
30. A consumer product registration method, comprising the steps of: (a) receiving, through an electronic communications channel, consumer product registration information for a plurality of consumer products, said plurality of consumer products being manufactured by a plurality of consumer product manufacturers;
(b) sorting said received consumer product registration information based upon the consumer product manufacturer to produce manufacturer-specific sets of consumer product registration information; and
(c) sending, through an electronic communications channel, a manufacturer- specific set of consumer product registration information to the corresponding consumer product manufacturer.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein said step (a) comprises the step of ( 1 ) receiving consumer product registration information directly from said user.
32. The method of claim 31 , wherein said step (a)(1) comprises the step of receiving consumer product registration information using an online registration system.
33. The method of claim 31 , wherein said step (a)( 1 ) comprises the step of receiving consumer product registration information through an interactive voice response system.
34. The method of claim 30, wherein said step (a) comprises the step of (1) receiving consumer product registration information indirectly from said user.
35. The method of claim 34, wherein said step (a)(1) comprises the step of receiving consumer product registration information from an electronic commerce retailer.
36. The method of claim 30, wherein said step (c) comprises the step of periodically sending said manufacturer-specific consumer product registration information.
37. The method of claim 30, wherein said step (c) comprises the step of aperiodically sending said manufacturer-specific consumer product registration information based upon volume of product registrations.
38. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of determining whether a manufacturer is a customer; and if said manufacturer is not a customer, then delaying sending of consumer product registration information until a recency period has expired.
PCT/US2000/025309 1999-09-16 2000-09-15 System, method and computer program product for registering consumer products and distributing consumer product information WO2001020525A1 (en)

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