How Toy Companies Streamline User Adoption

I bought my daughter a toy. When we came home I realized I hadn’t bought any batteries for it. Bracing myself for the tantrum that would ensue from a toy that didn’t work, I sighed in relief. Luckily, this toy had batteries included.

Lucky? Or strategic?

If you buy a toy and forget to buy the batteries, when you come home your kid will be excited about a toy she can’t play with. All the excitement and energy has nowhere to go. Then, when you finally get around to buying and installing the batteries, the momentum has stopped short, and it is much less likely for the child to play with the toy and adopt it as a favorite.

Batteries Included

Imagine you came to a car dealership for a test drive and the salesperson says, “Well, there’s no gas in any of these cars, but you’re welcome to sit in one. Pop the hood if you like.” You might check out a few since you’re already there, but I highly doubt anyone would buy a car from that experience.

This, in essence, is akin to hiccups in SaaS user onboarding. It doesn’t matter if it is the greatest new software, toy, or car on the planet: if the process to engage is not a straight shot, you’re left with an inert lump of plastic. A car with no gas.

For the SaaS product I market, data from the user are the batteries and fuel. The software can’t run if it has no data to manage. We can’t make up that information though (although we do have a sample data in the system when the user starts. Still, it’s not real  data of value to the user). We need the customer to engage with us and provide the specific type and size of the battery, preferably as soon as possible, so they can start playing with their new toy while the excitement and interest is at its peak. We built all actions before that step as guidance to the moment of import.

Like with toys, if a user can experience your app while focused, the more likely they are to adopt it as a favorite. The best time to realize value is when the momentum for the product is at its peak: when the product is top-of-mind and new. Including the batteries in toys is a small investment to ensure the first experience with the product is uninterrupted and closest to the time of conversion, which sets a clearer path to accelerated adoption. Then, it’s easy to move on later to upsells and add-ons.

You’ll need to first identify what your “batteries” are. Thing about these things deeply:

  • Are there required steps that user must make before engaging fully with your product?
  • Does the most powerful part of your product directly or indirectly include a pre-requisite to the experience?
  • Is there a required action that is acting like a stumbling block before your user reaches the area of greatest value? Is that action really required? Or can you take care of it for the user instead?

Give it some thought. If you’re stuck, review your conversion funnel. Are there any places that look like they could run smoother or may serve better at a later point in the funnel? Build a hypothesis and test it.

Identify and feed your “batteries” to your users closest to the time of conversion. Ultimately, you’ll see greater returns in the long-run.

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