Technology

Promoted feature: Fixing your terrible checkin experience should be a top priority

Alexey Kuznetsov, chief product officer at Checkin.com (Regily), shares some insights to help you prepare for the challenges of creating checkin experiences that meet consumer expectations

Checkouts have improved drastically over the past decade thanks to innovation-driven unicorns like Stripe and Klarna. Online retailers can attribute a lot of their growth to the fact that the final step of the buyers’ journey has become a lot less frustrating for consumers to complete.

Operators have different challenges compared to retailers since they need to establish a long-term relationship with the customer rather than just completing a single transaction. Checkins, the start of the journey, are therefore crucial to get right. Sign-up, identity and login need to be engaging and relevant for every customer unless you want them to give up and consider your competitors’ offering instead of yours.

EGR Intel (EGR): First of all, who are you and what’s your role at Checkin.com?

Alexey Kuznetsov (AK): Besides sharing the co-founder title with Kristoffer, who I first met when we worked together at Klarna, my main responsibility is that we keep innovating the way users use checkins with great brands and products online.

EGR: What are checkins?

AK: ‘Checkins’ is the collective term for methods of checking in with a brand online. Sign-up, identity and login are usually the first steps consumers need to take to do business with you. It defines the beginning of a relationship with a customer, as opposed to checkouts which are about completing a transaction. This area is usually completely overlooked which is frustrating as hell for the people who want to act on offers from brands they like but get stopped halfway through due to irrelevant solutions.

EGR: What is Checkin.com?

AK: Checkin.com is the third generation of checkin technology created by Regily. Our software is already world leading in this area and with our introduction of Checkin.com, we are going all-in on changing how consumers check in with great brands online.

We are in a unique position in the market where we receive data from millions of checkins across the world every month. Without big volumes of behavioural data, the framework wouldn’t be able to deliver the huge conversion boosts we are known for. We keep adding modules and assets for the software to try out and it independently figures out which combinations will generate the best results for each user session.

EGR: What distinguishes a good checkin experience from a bad one?

AK: Everyone knows a shitty checkin experience when they see one. Boring forms, messy interfaces, confusing instructions and unexpected errors are all things that you don’t need a PhD in on behavioural psychology to understand are bad for conversion. How you adapt the experience to device, location and language also have a big impact on how consumers perceive your checkin. When you fail at this, people won’t start a relationship with you. A good checkin experience, on the other hand, is the one you don’t have to think twice about completing.

EGR: Why did you decide to build a framework for checkins?

AK: Mainly because people are sick and tired of bad checkin experiences, and no in-house team from the mortal realm is able to manually create flows to fit every person, device and location. Imagine if social media companies employed teams of people to configure individual newsfeeds for each user. That would, without question, be really dumb. But, for some reason, companies think they don’t have to optimise the checkin experience even though it’s their only window of opportunity to get that user on board.

The only way to fix this issue on a larger scale is to use machine learning in combination with a huge range of modules to optimise the checkin flows in real-time. By connecting all fragmented solutions in a single framework rather than manually configuring and maintaining everything on individual platforms, you are able to grow faster while making it easy for customers to checkin.

EGR: Can you share some tips for companies who still rely on older technologies?

AK: If your conversion rates aren’t steadily climbing, you are missing out on potential revenue. How you address this depends on what level of data you have access to and which resources you can afford to allocate but step one is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your checkin processes. But even for larger companies with vast resources, the old-school methods of manually building static flows and using simple logic routes will never be able to generate the optimal experience for each user. There are, simply put, too many variations of local eIDs, autofill features and social logins that may or may not be compatible with the user depending on their device and location.

EGR: What’s the best approach to optimising performance?

AK: Behavioural data is a literal goldmine which most companies aren’t even scratching the surface of. It is key to create the optimal experience for every visitor. Things like device, location, screen orientation, keystrokes and click interactions should be the deciding factor in which kind of checkin you provide. Everything from language to which visual cues and how inputs are formatted needs to be adapted individually to get great performance in terms of conversion.

EGR: How should brands think about localisation?

AK: Well, how do you feel when a page is translated to a language you don’t speak, or when you can’t even write your actual address because the expected formatting is way off? It sucks! And of course, this has a negative impact on your growth. If you have responsibilities related to user growth and aren’t already on top of these issues, you should look for a different job.

Understanding local behaviour and preferences in the target geos your visitors originate from is a good start, but it doesn’t really help you unless you are able to apply individual localisations for each user. To succeed with this on a larger scale, you need to have two things in place: access to the relevant solutions in your target market and a method of combining those solutions based on who the user is. Only then will the user experience become great.

EGR: What’s your advice for companies building their own checkin flows?

AK: Don’t! I mean, I’m obviously biased since we offer software that easily replaces older do-it-yourself solutions. But if you think about it, it’s actually really crazy that companies of all sizes still think it’s a good idea to build their own checkin processes. No sane retailer would build their own checkout process from scratch, with all the responsibilities and challenges that would come with it. The trade-off between cost and benefit is just too bad.

EGR: What role do third-party tools play in checkins?

AK: Fraud prevention, KYC and data sources can make or break your checkin experience (and compliance policy). One of the biggest pain points for our customers is that they are maintaining heaps of technology providers, and only grow the more locations they are acquiring customers in. Making sure that integrations are running smoothly, usage is optimised for the target market and that the pricing is fair are very important but time-consuming. Especially when working across multiple markets.

Our approach for this has been to solve it by having all the leading third-party tools accessible out of the box from our framework. In many cases, we are also able to offer better pricing since we can purchase larger usage volumes.

EGR: What can you tell us about consumer behaviour?

AK: There was this study released a few years ago which stated that the average attention span of internet users has dropped below the levels of a goldfish. This goldfish is something I try to keep top of mind when we innovate new solutions for our checkin software. Just dropping boring elements like forms or external verification tools just doesn’t work anymore; consumers need flows that are designed to grab their attention and keep it.

EGR: How do you think checkins will change in the future?

AK: I think we’ll see lots of new innovations in this area. From a consumer perspective, things will only get better. Signing up will become less of a hassle, maybe even fun, and logging in will be easier. On the business side, I also think that the emergence of software like ours will make great products grow even faster and become better since more resources will be freed up to focus on the core offering.

Alexey Kuznetsov, Regily

Checkin.com (Regily AB) was founded in Sweden in 2017 by Klarna veterans Kristoffer Cassel and Alexey Kuznetsov with the idea of replacing the existing and often complicated online processes for registrations, identifications and log-ins. The company has since then helped their partners get more users by providing a SaaS checkin solution that replaces the poor user experiences that are so widely spread online today.

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