Customer loyalty is extremely important to any business that wishes to stay in business. Customer retention is a measure of success. Most businesses won’t discuss these things with potential or even existing customers. Yes, they may say “We succeed in customer loyalty”, but that’s just a means to essentially say, “Everybody else likes us, you should too!”
Subscriptions and Membership programs, offered by any seller/retailer, are relied upon to create a baseline of how the business is doing in both loyalty and retention. They are also important in understanding habits, likes, and production needs. This work as a trade off by giving the customer a perk or benefit for their participation.
Offering subscriptions on the items that are most commonly re-purchased by a customer allows us to plan our inventory and ensures a level of customer retention. By subscribing the customer not only receives a discount on the product, as well as assurance that they will have the product they need when they need. Having a subscription service that allows flexibility for the customer gives them opportunity to tweak or adjust when and what they receive with each shipment can add to their value.
For example, a customer can purchase a Beard Oil subscription with a specific “favorite” scent in mind. If they wish to try another fragrance they can change their scent option before their next shipment. When necessary, a customer can suspend the replenishment at any time, or even cancel it altogether. You are not locked in!
Subscriptions ensure you have what you need when you need it without having to remember to do it.
About Memberships a.k.a. Rewards Program
Memberships come in different forms and have a lot of different names. In most cases, you are required to sign up to create your account to receive benefits.
- Earn “points” to be exchanged for cash discounts later%. These are usually free to take part, but some do charge fees.
- % Cash back. Used by Credit Cards. You may not actually get cash back, but can apply it to your balance or as gift cards to other businesses. This is paid for through a higher APR% on your account balance.
- Make a specific number of purchases and get the next one free. Often used for drinks or other food items.
- Receive a lower listed price on select items throughout the store. Uses a card that is scanned at checkout. Often used by grocery stores. In some cases, everyone gets the same price regardless of membership.
- Pay an annual fee and receive an assortment of perks and discounts.
Let’s look at what is most likely a membership program nearly everyone is familiar with, Amazon Prime. Prime is an enormous multifaceted membership program. It promises lower prices, free shipping with shorter fulfillment times; along with other services like media streaming. They don’t do this for free, you need to pay an annual fee to receive these benefits.
Why is nearly every seller out there offering some sort of membership program?
One part is that they are able to influence you to shop with them exclusively, or more often. In some cases, customers will be exclusive to them. But that is an extreme expectation. Studies have shown that customers are more likely to return to a business they have a membership with, as long as they receive good service when doing business with them.
A hidden component is that the majority of these plans have a hidden mission. Through your membership they can track what you buy and how you pay. This data is compiled and shared with other businesses; often for a price. They have all the information they need – name, address, phone numbers, and email. Depending on the plan, they may also learn your age, gender, race, relationship status, family and residence details. Once you make your payment, they can learn your income level and other financial information. All this information is used for marketing to you as well as establishing various demographic profiles used by businesses and government.
How our Membership Plan is different:
We charge an annual fee. In return, you receive a 10% discount on all items we make, 5% on other items; Free Shipping on every order; a bunch of free products to try and share; special Members Only items.
Your personal information is kept secure and private. We take privacy seriously! What information we have access to is used to process your orders and contact you if there are any questions. You are not added to our mailing list, but we may mail special members only information to you. There is also nothing to really manage, but you do need to have a user account for the duration of your membership. Add the plan to your order and you will immediately benefit – qualifying items in your cart will be discounted and have free shipping. The gift pack will ship with your order, no need to even add it to your cart.
Why do we charge a fee? We look at it as a partial up front payment of shipping fees. The free gifts help sweeten the deal. By paying, you will want to get the most money out of it – to earn back as much of that fee as you can, or more. And simply, it allows us to offer this plan without a hard hit to our bottom line.
Using Subscriptions and Memberships together:
Here is where having a Membership can be a huge benefit. With so many of our most popular and often re-ordered products being available as a subscription, you can save even more! Our subscriptions items usually have a modest discount included, then you can save 10% on top of that. Then, for as long as your membership is active, you will receive every order without paying for shipping.
Who benefits the most from these plans?
Our mission is to make shopping with us, getting the products you enjoy the most, more attractive and rewarding. Subscription benefits are up front and immediate; designed to make it mindlessly easy for you to always have your favorite products on hand. With a membership, you save money on every purchase. In just a couple orders, you will see a big savings by being a member.
When combined is where we see the biggest benefit for us. By selling a higher volume of products, with more frequency, we see a more stable/predictable sales trend. The more these are used by more customers, we can start buying our materials and ingredients in larger quantities. We can also streamline our production capacity to handle the higher demand. This leads to us becoming a more efficient enterprise and the savings will likely get passed along in many of our products.
We have a very different view of how a business operates and communicates. It is a no-brainer that any seller is doing it to make money. And, that the more they sell the more money they make. Being a tiny business our profits are tight, leaving little revenue to pay for big advertising. Honestly, the more customers we have that take part in these services helps us budget more reliably and create more effective plans for growth. Your trust in us, demonstrated through your loyalty, brings stability to our business. The best way to make it all happen, is to encourage more folks to shop with us and reward those who wish to shop more frequently.