So your business is already crushing it with your replenishment or curation subscription program. You’ve got loyal subscribers who love your products and are delighted by their deliveries every month. But how can you add more value to their relationship with your brand (while raising their AOV and LTV all at the same time)?
Let us unhook the velvet rope and escort you down the red carpet to the the fastest growing subscription type—membership subscriptions.
Right this way to VIP access…
The best part about memberships or access subscriptions is how easily they can be fitted to any brand’s product offerings. Without a subscription program already on your store, they’re easy to implement and even with an already existing subscription program, they’re just as smooth to introduce. Part of this is because we’re all so familiar with membership subscriptions and most importantly how valuable the perks they offer are.
From Costco memberships providing discounts and access to exclusive products through a yearly fee to streaming giants like Netflix and Spotify granting access to digital content—both use a membership model alongside a subscription fee to provide members with scintillating value.
As a result, customers are primed for paid membership plans. Your job, when introducing one for your business, is educating them on the specific benefits and value that joining yours provides. What can you add to your membership subscription plan that would entice customers to join this exclusive club? How can you price the program so that it’s a slam dunk to join while still helping your bottom line? Fortunately, we’ve already covered the ins and outs of membership pricing, so we’re going to focus here on ideas of perks to offer customers to bring them into your membership program.
Ideas for membership subscription perks
We recently had Anna Stearns, Senior Director of DTC at LOLA, makers of feminine and reproductive care products, on our podcast Hit Subscribe where we talked all about LOLA’s various subscription membership offerings. Specifically, we focused on how LOLA incentivizes their plans with various benefits to the customer. What is amazing about LOLA’s membership plan is how part of their program isn’t just a monetary value to the customer. It leans on the customers shared brand values with LOLA by donating feminine care product donations to charity.
Membership to the LOLA+ program gives subscribers access to exclusive perks like free shipping, double the amount of reward points program, early access to new products and charitable donations on their behalf. Lastly, and what is common for many membership program business models, is discounts on select products.
“It’s a yearly subscription that we power through Recharge that provides ultimate access to LOLA. And actually, if you’re a power shopper at LOLA, you would be saving around $60 to $80 a year by going into the LOLA+ program. We definitely wanted to make it worth it for those consumers.”Anna Stearns, Senior Director of DTC, LOLA
Anna and LOLA also leverage their membership program as a target group for product surveys. They recognize the value of this community of LOLA supporters and empower them to help drive decisions around new products and new initiatives. As obvious as it may sound, it’s completely true—the best way to know what your customers want is to go out and ask them.
So what kind of perks or benefits could you offer for your own membership program? Consider the following and which ones either by themselves or in combination would work for you and your subscribers:
- Discount on all or select products
- Free shipping
- Access to exclusive content (like recipes, videos, workouts)
- Access to exclusive products (like limited edition products)
- Charitable donations in their name
- Access to community forums
- Access to faster shipping
- Access to priority support
- More points for their loyalty program
Where to start your membership subscription program
The best place to get started with your membership or access subscription program is with your most loyal customers. These are your long term subscribers, the ones who are always tagging your brand on social media and jumping at the chance to try your new products.
This is the group you can first introduce your membership program to and then liaison with about the offerings and value of your program versus the price buying into it. Realistically your most passionate brand advocates will make up the majority of your membership program so it’s important to ask for feedback from these loyal subscribers and adjust accordingly. You want to find that goldilocks fit between value to your customers and value to your brand’s bottom line. If your most loyal customers are skeptical about the benefits or price point of your membership program, then you’re going to have hard luck convincing new customers.
Once you feel confident that you’ve got the perfect blend of value, membership perks and price then you’ll want to open it up to your entire customer base. Look for ways to incentivize joining, whether it’s a discount for the first X amount of sign ups or discounts for members signing up for an entire year versus paying monthly. Many successful membership programs also offer free-trials up front for a limited time (like 10 days or for a specific amount of deliveries). This can reduce a customer’s hesitation to join and once they’re in the program and see the inherent value you’re providing them retain them as a subscriber for the long haul.
Always look for ways to innovate and provide value
Through all of this, the main thing to consider when adding a membership component to your existing subscription offerings should be about how you can give more value to your customers.
How can you make them even happier being associated with your brand and your products? If you’re just trying to find another reason for them to spend money with your business, you’re going to end up with a lot of churn and very little subscribers to your membership program.
LOLA recognized that their subscribers were open and passionate about giving back to those in need, so through their LOLA+ program introduced their charitable donations element. Lean into these innovative ideas with your own brand. Remember that your subscribers often choose you over your competitors because they feel like they share the same core values as your brand. Embrace that and look for ways to innovate to keep their subscription rewarding beyond a monetary value. So pull back the velvet rope and start thinking up ways to implement your own access or membership subscription for your customers.