Why Membership Only E-Commerce Is Effective
These last two years, many online stores have been transitioning to a members only e-commerce model. Put quite simply, membership only e-commerce is a buyer’s club. Potential customers have to provide their email addresses in order to access the site and buy.
Also known as gated e-commerce, this marketing tactic may feel counter-intuitive. It may alienate some visitors not comfortable with giving their email address, yet it provides online business with more qualified leads. Customers opting-in are more motivated to shop and more likely to interact with your brand in the future.
Additionally, by capturing emails addresses from the beginning, you will be better equipped to bring these same potential customers back to your site.
In today’s noisy world, getting loyal and return customers is expensive. Organic traffic acquisition is no longer sufficient. Brands must continually advertise to get significant audiences to their site. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that visitors stumbling upon your site are valid candidates that will convert into potential buyers.
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Sites like Frank&Oak, Huckberry, Zady, and more have had enormous success with this business model. The foot-in-the-door-technique creates an esoteric aura around the goods on the site. Individuals signing-up feel part of a community and are more likely to trust brand.
So how can you determine if this model is right for you?
1) Your content and selection have to be carefully curated (almost like a museum selects its art to reflect its message). Your site should offer unique items and lead whatever niche you are in, being the “go to” site for your demographic—this takes some dedicated work.
2) You will need a larger inventory, selling only a handful of products will not be enough to retain customers interested. Your mission statement must be clear and concise throughout the entire branding experience. Each hand picked items must tell a story.
3) Your email marketing campaigns must be consistent. Remember that your site is heavily driven by email marketing. You must feel comfortable sending weekly updates. The good news is that email open rates and click through rates go up since the members have opted into your site, thereby making your marketing campaigns more effective
Conclusion: Highly niche e-commerce stores are becoming increasingly successful. Creating a gated e-commerce site can increase your customers’ fidelity. Before you dabble into this territory, ensure that your branding and mission statement distinguishes itself from other brands. Do not be afraid to voice your opinions.