When Robbie Kellman Baxter coined the phrase “the membership economy” in her 2015 book by the same name, she was mostly referring to the explosive rise of digital subscriptions and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, such as Netflix, Adobe, and Spotify. But as we near the end of 2016, we are entering what we are calling, the New Membership Economy. The New Membership Economy is shifting to a new wave of membership businesses for physical goods that we use every day and help us connect to each other in unique ways that fulfill our needs.
There’s no doubt that we live in a membership world. You’ve seen the proliferation of subscription-based businesses explode in both the digital space (Netflix, Adobe, Spotify) and the physical space (Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, Stich Fix). When launching or scaling a subscription commerce business for physical goods, it’s important to think about your goals and the customer experience from the outset. Will your membership program further and strengthen customer relationships?
Subscriptions and memberships have been around for a long time. We are experiencing a renaissance in physical subscriptions (boxes delivered to a household) – several thousand companies have been formed in the last 3 years and many like Dollar Shave Club are very successful. As opposed to old models, this time the customer is in total control.