Regi aims to be a personal assistant for product ownership

Former Grey and KBS CCO Patrick Scissons explains how his new venture is seizing an opportunity from a major pain point.

Anyone who ever had to rifle through a stuffed drawer to find an instruction manual or an older folder to find a warranty might be interested in Regi, an AI-powered app that aims to tackle and manage all the pain points that come after a product is purchased.

By scanning the barcode of a new purchase, Regi users can store their sales receipts and user guides, but also receive alerts about price drops for the item, recall alerts and reminders about return deadlines and warranty expiration. It will also provide content, such as how-to videos related to the product, and includes a virtual assistant that will help users determine if an issue is covered by a product’s warranty.

“The big part of it is just the notion of ensuring that user is going to get the best possible experience and get the most out of that item as possible, which drives brand affinity the next time they need to purchase that product,” says Patrick Scissons, co-founder and CEO of The Ostrich Algorithm, the company behind the app. “There’s so much that happens on the product ownership side that impacts a consumer’s relationship with a brand, and the idea with Regi is to consolidate all of that into a utility we hope consumers will find useful.”

Scissons, a former CCO at Grey Canada and global CCO at KBS, co-founded The Ostrich Algorithm with Andrew Sisnett, previously of consulting firm Slalom, to develop products and digital innovations for B2B and B2C applications. Regi is the company’s first mobile application.

“We didn’t go into this with a preconceived notion of only wanting to do AI stuff or productivity tools,” Scissons says. “It was more about finding an unmet need. Brands and manufacturers and retailers are investing a lot of time and resources on pre-purchase, but everything that happens after the purchase is something that really is a gap, beyond basic troubleshooting and customer service. Our research showed that people these days feel they have more stuff than they can keep track of, and the information associated with that can be difficult to manage.”

Scissons says there is the potential to add other functions to Regi in the future, such as a ratings and review engine. He also says that as the user base for Regi grows, there will be plans to pursue partnerships with brands and retailers, but adds that they would like to avoid going down the “obvious” route of simply providing them with another platform to serve display ads, especially on a platform that will be engaging users at critical points in product ownership.

“We want to be able to guide users on whether something is covered by warranty, but if for some reasons that warranty isn’t fulfilled, now we know there is a user that is at a critical point for that manufacturer,” Scissons says. “Is that manufacturer going invest in keeping that user within their brand by offering them an incentive? That can be a marketplace where there’s an opportunity to compete for that user, and other brands could come in with their best offer.”

Retailers, especially online retailers like Amazon, have massive amounts of data on customers, and while Scissons admits that the data is sometimes used to serve users with relevant content, it is typically in service of driving further purchases. He says the opportunity with Regi is to use that data in a more user-centric way, which is also an opportunity all companies focused on innovation could be pay more attention to.

Regi is set to be released on app stores next month, but it was introduced to the public with a series of promo videos in the lead-up to the Black Friday shopping weekend. Using stock footage of crowds rushing to take advantage of sales, the ads encourage people to avoid the “free-for-all” of the shopping rush, while still getting the most out of the “stuff” they love to buy.

Scissons says the ads, meant to generate awareness for Regi ahead of the launch, could be indicative of the creative approach behind the app’s advertising or branding.

“The one consistent thing is that as the brand evolves and develops and as new pieces of functionality are introduced, it will represent the consumer and the user voice. We are going to  be absolutely consumer-centric, deliver utility and show what that means for them.”