Online Shopping clubs - what are they and how they can help companies in doing business

Online Shopping Clubs are the new holy grail for shopping-addicts. They not only offer a wide selection of products (fashion, electronics, furniture or even travels), but they even display usually high-end goods at much more affordable prices than what you can find anywhere else on the internet or in physical stores. Although they function similarly to what we know as outlet stores, these clubs do not necessarily operate as so. As a matter of fact, more and more companies opt for this form of sales by setting up their own Online Shopping Clubs.

Client gamification

What are Online Shopping Clubs?

Online Shopping Clubs are invitation-only or sign-up only clubs that allow their members to have access to a variety of high discounts on different categories of products. These discounts usually take the form of time-limited events or live flash sales. The products are usually old, but never used, and so they couldn’t be displayed at stores anymore. In one word, it’s a smart way to get rid of excess inventory that is beneficial to both parties. It’s a very successful business and still growing. For reference, the French giant in private shopping Veepee (previously called Vente-Privée) made 3.7bn euros in turnover in 2018.

How are Online Shopping Stores helping build a secure client base for businesses?

In the constant and rapid evolution of the customer behavior, and the tough competition underlying in almost all sectors, it’s often hard for businesses to choose a business model that offers them their best shot at success. The path to such a success is, of course, latent to building and preserving a sustainable relationship with their clients. And that’s exactly what online shopping clubs have to offer to businesses: loyalty and viability.

How so? By making customers feel special. Creating a sentiment of exclusivity is set to make clients come back again and again for spontaneous shopping. Online shopping clubs attract a rising number of clients, engaging them more than any other kind of marketing strategy. The feeling of belonging to a privileged community of people who have access to hot deals and private events works better in the long run than the best advertising campaign as it assures long term profit for both customers and businesses.

How can companies use Online Shopping Stores to limit business-related risks?

Online Shopping Clubs are also beneficial for businesses as they allow them not to run the risk of seeing the value of their goods decreasing by falling into the hands of endless retailers and thus making the customers second-guess the decision to buy new collections at full prices when they can buy them for a much lesser price from outlet stores. Instead, manufacturing brands can preserve their reputation, while still making a profit by balancing the low margins with the large quantities that they could sell on their own Online Shopping Club.

Moreover, having a small community of trusted clients can be a very interesting opportunity for businesses to test out new strategies before implementing them on a larger scale. For example, if a company wants to venture into a new product category that they’ve never proposed before, these clubs are a great way to evaluate a client’s potential interest and study customer behaviour. That kind of information is extremely valuable for businesses, as it allows them to better understand their target customer’s needs and expectations, but also how to broaden their interest in the brand and to win their loyalty.

What are the negative aspects of Online Shopping Clubs?

When it comes to the customer experience, shopping from an online club definitely has undeniable advantages when it comes to low prices, but that comes with potential less pleasant experiences. Indeed, a common inconvenience is the usually long delivery deadlines. Also, the choice of products is usually limited in terms of sizes or other specificities like colours or designs. Which brings out the ‘spontaneous’ aspect of online club transactions as not necessarily positive. Clients buy what they can find, and not what they necessarily want.

That is one of the reasons companies should be careful with what they decide to put up for sale on their online shopping clubs. If the products are too obsolete, or if the products didn’t have much success in physical or regular online stores, then they will probably not work on Online Shopping Clubs either since the customers, as members of a niche community, should feel privileged, and not like they are the last resort to get rid of merchandise that no one else wants.

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