Membership and loyalty programs have always been powerful tools of the retail and service industries, even before they became mainstream in internet and e-commerce. From airlines to Apple, memberships and unique customer IDs (the Apple ID!) have become the way to go.
Given that, it is only imperative that our valued partners (our merchants) provide a compelling membership plan to their customers. In this document, we have outlined how membership plans work, and the process to use Appstle Subscriptions to create and manage membership and loyalty plans.
There are 2 types of memberships, that we will briefly discuss below.
First - Loyalty memberships
This type of membership facilitates the merchants to have their store open to all customers, but reserve a few attractive perks to their members, who pay a small recurring fee for the membership. The best example for this is Amazon Prime. While shopping on Amazon is open to the world, being a prime member (for a fee) gives customers specific benefits such as free and fast delivery.
Second - Access memberships
While exclusive access memberships (for clubs, etc) have been around for many years, this has specifically become more common in the digital world, albeit in a relatively more affordable scale! In an access based membership, a merchant allows access to their product or service, only if the customer is a member. The membership fee can either be separate from the individual price of the products within the store, or can be all inclusive. The best example for this is Netflix! A user pays a specific subscription fee on a recurring basis, to access all of Netflix's content. If a user's subscription to Netflix expires, he/she can no longer watch the movies and TV shows in it. The content in Netflix is only for its members.
Managing membership Plans:
Creating and managing membership plans involves 3 components:
Recurring payments: This is the most important component of offering membership plans, as it not only implies revenue to your store, but is also the key determining factor in providing specific perks and services to your members, as opposed to non-members.
Member tagging: The second most important factor to provide member specific services, is 'tagging'. This involves the automatic identification/marking and segmentation of your store members, as opposed to non-members.
Tagging can be a simple member versus non-member tagging, or can involve further gradation and sub-categorizations among members, such as basic members, gold members, and platinum members, based on membership pricing tiers. For example, going back to Netflix, the company has multiple membership and pricing tiers, differentiated by the number of screens that the user/his family can view Netflix on, at any given time.
Tagging and sub-tagging functionality is essential to determine and provide specific perks to different membership tiers.
Membership Perks: This can be defined as the actual perks/special features that the merchant provides to members.
At present, Appstle supports both components 1 and 2 (processing recurring payments, and tagging). We are currently working on component 3, and expect it to be available soon. In the meantime, we provide a strong integration with third party apps such as Eber and AAA.
Setting up membership plans with Appstle
There are 3 essential steps to setting up your membership with Appstle Subscriptions.
Creating a membership product:
Just like you create a product page in your store (which your customers can check out as a one-time or recurring purchase), you will have to first create a membership product page, to provide membership plans for your store. This membership 'product' will have to be bought by the customers, to become a member of your store.
To create a membership product, please follow the below steps:
Step 1: From your Shopify dashboard, create a product for membership, and add required descriptions
Step 2: Give it a name. Our recommendation is to give it an easy name (e.g. 'Loyalty Membership' or 'Club Membership'), as in the screenshot below, for your customers to easily understand
Step 3: You can either bring different membership tiers within the base product you just created, or create multiple membership products, with 1 product for each tier. For example, if your store provides basic, gold, and platinum memberships, you can either create 3 different products (Product 1 - Basic, Product 2 - Gold, and Product 3 - Platinum), or 1 base product ('Membership'), with 3 product variations (variation 1 - Basic, variation 2 - Gold, and variation 3 - Platinum).
Step 4: Create a subscription plan from your Appstle Merchant portal and link the product you created, with a subscription plan from Appstle
For more information, on how to create a subscription plan, you can visit our help doc: https://intercom.help/appstle/en/articles/4924892-how-to-create-a-subscription-plan
Once, a customer checks out this membership product from your store, Appstle will automatically bill them for the membership, thus taking care of the recurring payments for their membership.
Note: When creating this product, please ensure that you click on 'subscription only', so that Appstle can bill your members automatically and periodically as required, to keep their membership active.
Tagging the member customers
Just the way Appstle enables you to tag your subscribing members and the recurring orders, to distinguish from non-subscribing customers and one-time purchases, it also enables you to tag your members!
To tag members, please follow the below steps:
Step 1: Login to your Merchant Portal
Step 2: Navigate to Settings
Step 3: Click on Tag settings
Step 4: You can provide labels for your members on the left box, and for non-members on the right box
Here is a little explanation of the tags in the above screenshot:
Customer Active Subscription Tag: active_members - this will tag all the customers that are paying for the membership on a recurring basis and are eligible to receive perks.
Customer InActive Subscription Tag: inactive_members - this will tag all the customers who are not a part of the membership program.
These tags help you provide membership discounts or/and any other perks to your store members. The tags can also be used to produce sub-segmentations such as basic/gold/platinum memberships!
If you have any questions about membership functionality, or are looking for more features, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our 24x7x365 available experts will be happy to assist you further.