If you run a specialty goods retail shop, creating a specialty membership program for your customers could be a great way to create a base of loyal customers who make regular orders like clockwork—say, once a month or quarter.
Monthly membership clubs or programs allow you to target consumers with very particular tastes. If you run a wine shop, you (no doubt) have certain customers that are always looking for something new to try or to learn about. Wouldn’t it be great if you could curate a group of customers, give them what they want (new wines every month), AND add to your bottom line?
These types of monthly membership clubs can do just that. Your customers can enjoy limited edition goods, and consistently learn more about your products. Plus, you’ll be seen as the “authority” on what’s new in your industry, if you’re always providing them with the latest and greatest. Not to mention, people love getting their hands on exclusive or limited-edition products!
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the monthly pick-up/shipping crunch can be tough for small businesses to manage. Additionally, clubs must find ways to stay fresh to hold on to their customers.
Some questions to ask before you begin:
- Do you have the time, money, supplies, space and staff needed to effectively run a monthly membership club?
- How will your customers sign up? Online or in-store only?
- Will you ship or do packages have to be picked up?
- Will you offer various price points or just one level of package per month?
- Will you require customers to pay in advance (for the year) or allow them to pay month to month?
- How will you source exclusive products to appeal to your customers?
There are lots of details that go into making a monthly membership program work, and as you go, you should take your customers’ feedback into consideration. Find out what they like about the packages.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Wine/Beer Shop: Monthly six pack of staff picks of new bottles of wine or beer
- Cheese Shop: “Entertaining” box of new or seasonal cheese/gourmet items
- Flower Shop: Seasonal bouquet
- Pet Store: Dog or cat goodies and accessories
- Menswear: Bowties, socks, or handkerchieves
- Coffee: Rare whole-bean coffees
You can also make an event out of the pick ups by creating a Membership Club Pick Up Party. See In-Store Events: Parties for more details on planning and promoting.