Digitization has enabled many things to be automated and new business models to emerge. The formation of communities and specialized offers for members is becoming increasingly important.

Memberships as a business model for online services: 5 typical community services

Memberships as a business model of digitization

Due to the rapid development of the last twenty years, our consumer behavior has also changed. A Company Financing with memberships is not completely new, but can now be found online in many areas. With digitization, in addition to that Money established another currency, namely our data.

With the release and analysis of our data, companies can not only customize their products and services more and more needs the customers adjust. In this way, you can also intervene to influence consumer behavior. It is therefore not surprising that data as a currency has now experienced an increase in value. Of course there are differences in how these memberships are designed, but in the realm of Onlineservices, they are indispensable.

Data or money for service or product

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With memberships, data or money can be exchanged for a Performance or a product can be exchanged. Especially in the online area, memberships serve to customer retention. Of course, the product is also important, but the significant difference to a one-off purchase of a product with memberships is the more personal relationship between the members and the manufacturer or supplier. So you can use it to find others People with similar interests. Of course, this also increases the customer's loyalty, since he agrees to repeat payments. Anyone who becomes a member wants to pay.

In addition, Members have access to the Services at all times. And another popular advantage of certain membership models is that products and services are automatically delivered at more favorable conditions.

Freemium models and special services – free of charge and for a fee in combination

Membership or even the service offered does not always have to be paid for: The freemium model, for example, is a business model in which a basic product is offered free of charge, while the full version and all extensions are then paid to members. The designation is an artificial word from English that is made up of the word free (free of charge) and the word premium.

Another basic component of community business models is the offering of special services. The Customer must feel they are getting value from their membership, whether with special promotions or additional benefits. Of course, memberships also work because it is very convenient for customers. You don't have to remember to buy specific services or products every month. It's automated. This allows members to gain access to exclusive products.

5 types of membership business models

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Of course there are different models for designing memberships and adapting them to your services and products. Here we present some of the ways one can integrate memberships, both free and paid business models. Of course, you can also combine them with each other, so-called hybrid models. 5 typical business models at a glance:

1. Content Membership

Paying for online content is one of the most common models, so all or specific content only becomes available after payment.

These can be onlineCourses, download or stock portals, but they also include media platforms and streaming services such as Netflix & Co.

2. Membership for Delivery

This model refers to providers with recurring deliveries of usually non-digital products, which are often booked online.

It doesn't matter whether it's weekly or monthly, the customer regularly receives his organic vegetable box, wine delivery, books or new clothing trends with his membership.

3. Membership for discounts

This model enables the customer to receive discounts for recurring services or products.

Many online shops and service providers offer free bonus programs as a means of customer retention and to collect and evaluate data. The best-known provider here is probably Payback.

4. Membership for Service

As the name suggests, you pay for a recurring service that does not necessarily have to be digital, but can often be booked online.

Rather, it is much more about regular consultations or special services, e.g. B. the regular maintenance of the website or sports offers in the gym.

5. Membership for Online Use

In contrast to the models mentioned above, usage-based membership is about using a specific online offer on a regular basis.

Members either pay a fee for using certain services or the membership itself is free, but the provider earns through additional premium offers or a fee for the service itself. An exciting example of this is gaming providers such as Platin Play.

For which products is which model suitable?

With the various membership models, you can not only implement products or services. The fact that members voluntarily pay to use services or products builds up a community as a provider. Members who have the same interests in relation to the service offered are usually passionate and interested in the continued existence of the community.

That is why the membership model is not only suitable for streaming services that offer a specific product or service. This model is also very interesting for artists and freelancers, and more and more artists have mobilized their fans on platforms such as Patreon or Steady in recent years.

Who is the target group of my products?

To sign up for the right model of memberships for your own Shop zu decide, you have to know your target group first and foremost. When you know who your customers are and how they function, you can meet their needs with the right membership. So it's important that you get the approximate Age, Gender, Job and thus know the socio-economic background of your customers.

Ideally, you already have a customer managementSystem, with data of the customer such as origin, contact details and origin of the customer. You can only choose the best model for you and your customers if you know this information about your customers. If you now know what your customers want and have decided on a membership model, you must adapt it to your product.

How are more members recruited?

At the beginning there is always the trust of the customers. The community can only grow and customer loyalty if there is basic trust between the members and the provider successfully be. Because if your existing customers satisfied are, they stay and can also bring you new customers.

With good recommendation marketing, you can also successfully address new clients with a well-fitting model. And of course its important Set to know. Dynamic adjustments to the changing needs of customers are just as important.

Conclusion: The future of online business lies in the community

Also in the Future online services will continue to influence our consumer behavior. The variety of services and products is growing every day. As we have seen, memberships can be designed in many different ways.

The models differ mainly in what is paid for with the membership. You are thus on many Industries and products applicable, even small companies can benefit from it. The desire for community and finding one's community will also continue to grow in the digital age.


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