Time and time again, paid membership programs prove their value for both businesses and consumers. REI launched its lifetime membership program in 1938, and mail-order wine clubs boomed in popularity in the 1970s. Costco launched its iconic program in the 1980s—and in 2022, their net sales valued a whopping $222.73 billion.
Today, membership programs are ever-evolving in the DTC space. Brands are constantly innovating on ways to reach their customers through new channels. At the same time, the original value proposition of these programs—paying a reasonable fee for access to exclusive benefits—continues to resonate with consumers around the globe.
Considering launching a paid membership program of your own? In our latest guide, The ecommerce membership advantage, you’ll find all the inspiration and strategies you need to kickstart your program.
What’s in the guide?
Below, we’ve listed a few highlights from the guide. Explore the full piece to gain a full picture of the benefits a membership program could offer your business—and the different forms your program might take.
Membership programs vs. loyalty points programs
Paid membership programs aren’t synonymous with points-based loyalty programs, although the two are often confused. In the guide, explore the various differences between the two types of programs, including how they differ in their rewards, audience, and impact on revenue.
The business case for membership programs
Membership programs can positively impact a merchant’s bottom line in a variety of ways. However, in the guide, we break down three major benefits to these programs—each of which strengthens and encourages the next.
- Increase customer lifetime value (LTV): Research shows that members of paid programs are worth several times more than non-member customers.
- Gain valuable insights from members: These programs allow merchants to gain deeper insights on members, which can enable them to better retain those customers.
- Drive additional revenue: The longer a brand offers a paid membership program, the more the program’s value grows.
Building blocks of a membership program
We break down two key areas where membership programs typically vary among different merchants—benefits and pricing—to help you determine the right balance for your customer base. This can be a delicate balancing act.
After all, for customers to join, the benefits they’re offered must exceed the cost to join. Meanwhile, for merchants, the revenue the program brings in must exceed the costs to run and maintain the program. Browse the guide for a full list of tactics and pricing strategies to consider for your program.
Merchant inspiration for your membership program
Looking for real-life examples to inspire your own paid membership program? Our guide showcases three different programs—from Part & Parcel, Early Majority, and Herd & Grace—each of which takes a different approach to their benefits and pricing structure.
Offering paid memberships with Recharge
With Recharge’s Loyalty offering, you can fully customize your membership program to meet the unique needs of your subscribers. From the price point to the charge frequency to the benefits you offer, create the paid membership programs that bring the most value to your customers and your business.