2019 is the year of the membership. We’re seeing everyone, from the biggest corporates to the newest startups, embrace membership models.
Memberships are helping established brands cater to their biggest fans—their whales—in a deeper, more meaningful way. They’re able to capitalize on their existing relationships and bring even more super-fans into the fold.
Today, let’s take a look at some of the ways established brands are introducing memberships into their existing business model.
Lululemon and High-End Clothing Brands Introduce Memberships
Lululemon already has a super loyal fan base. Their new annual membership, with a fee that comes out to about $12 per month, caters to the needs of their followers by offering cost-saving benefits, like free shipping, plus access to exclusive classes and products, just for members.
In this article from Fashionista, they take a deeper look at the new membership programs being introduced by Lululemon and other high-end clothing retailers, and what those programs can do for the companies’ bottom lines.
NBC Sports Takes a Swing at Attracting Golf Fans
People get very excited about their favorite sports. NBC saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on an existing group of golf-loyal whales, so they’ve teamed up with golf star Rory McIlroy to bring fans a membership program with perks that allow them to see more golf and improve their own game.
For $99 a year, the GolfPass program offers training videos, free rounds of golf at partner courses around the world, and discounts on travel costs and golf gear. This article from Variety explains what the program offers and why NBC thinks it will be a “hole in one” (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Ikea Encourages You to Switch Up Your Home Decor
Furniture giant Ikea is looking to get in on the subscription craze as well. Taking their cue from subscription rental programs like Rent the Runway, Ikea is piloting a program in Switzerland. Depending on how things go, they may roll it out globally.
Of course, furniture leasing is not a new idea. Rent-a-Center has been around for nearly 50 years, and there are some startups popping up in the space, too. However, Ikea hopes that their already-loyal whales would rather rent furniture from them than turn to one of their competitors.
This article from Digiday covers some of the hurdles they face, and why Ikea thinks now is the time to give a subscription service a shot.
Medium Steps Up Their Publishing Game
Medium already took a gamble establishing digital magazines on their platform. Now, they’re expanding to add four new publications to their existing stable.
Along with the expansion in titles, they’ll be expanding their membership program. A Medium subscription, which costs $50 a year, will now include access to these new publications as well. This move demonstrates that the membership model is already paying dividends.
This article from Digiday covers Medium’s expansion, how they went about testing the idea before launching the full subscription, and what might be coming next for the publisher.
Subscriptions Sent Straight to Your Door
From Dollar Shave Club to Ipsy to Barkbox, monthly subscription boxes have become hugely popular in recent years. The market has seen startups reach sky-high valuations and achieve billion dollar exits, and now established corporates are moving in.
In this article from CNBC, they look beyond the startups in the space and focus in on stalwarts, like Target and Walmart, who are creating their own subscription boxes to offer existing customers the convenience of receiving shipments to their door.
About the Sterling Woods Group, LLC
The Sterling Woods Group’s mission is to help clients make sense of their data to build deeper relationships with their best customers, launch new products and membership programs, and execute smarter marketing strategies.
We use a hypothesis-driven, data supported methodology to discover your “spin”—a simple insight that no one else is paying attention to. Then, we help you assemble the right technologies, marketing plans, and resources to seize this opportunity.
About the Author
Rob Ristagno, Founder and CEO of the Sterling Woods Group, previously served as a senior executive at several digital media and e-commerce businesses, including as COO of America’s Test Kitchen. Throughout his career, his focus has been on embracing technology and analytics to spur strategic development and growth.
At the Sterling Woods Group, he and the team are passionate about helping clients understand their best customers through data, and developing products and membership programs that exceed expectations – and generate impressive revenues.
Committed to spreading this message, Rob is the author of A Member is Worth a Thousand Visitors and is a regular keynote speaker at conferences around the world. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Digiday.
He holds degrees from the Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College and has taught at both Harvard and Boston College.