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Membership Architecture and Best Practices

Improve Your User Engagement Through Monetized Memberships and Membership Tiers
Discover the Capabilities of Membership Tiers

Marketplace Membership Options & Tiers

In this piece we're going to talk about marketplace platform membership options and the many facets to consider when you are architecting your different membership tiers.

Building & Differentiating Membership Tiers

Membership Tier Architecturing & Capabilities

One of the criteria for membership is the form of payment, validation, or review for the applicants. Having this information helps the marketplace / vendors set different levels of membership.

Typically, many marketplaces will have a free membership and then they'll have different tiers of membership that are available for folks to purchase or earn access to based on how they interact within the marketplace or possibly be approved as part of an organization, etc.

There are a lot of facets of the marketplace that can key off those memberships. For example, giving permission to do certain things or possibly scaling the amount of activity someone can engage in, such as the ability to only view so many pages or purchase so many items, etc. If they’re at a free membership versus a purchased membership, quite often some of the features like enabling advertising or the ability to obtain marketing analytics data may not be available to them.

These types of restrictions on a membership type can help monetize the marketplace itself and enable the marketplace to be very profitable at a relatively low cost to the members. Relative being that it might be somewhat expensive, but they have a lot of potential to make far more revenue and profit than what they would spend on the membership itself.

So, this is a really compelling way to monetize a marketplace without reducing the number of registrations and the signups, and in turn dampening some of the momentum within the marketplace. Needless to say, some of the bigger aspects of the membership component are how smoothly and easily the registration process goes, as well as how clearly the presentation is implemented around how the membership works and how the membership options compare to each other.

Enticing Users to Renew Subscriptions

Susbcriptions & Subscription Renewals

Commonly, memberships are going to be a monthly renewal or some form of subscription, generally these are monthly or quarterly basis, but there might be annual subscription options as well. One of the key aspects with a subscription itself is making sure that the member understands when their renewal is going to hit, especially if it's an annual membership or quarterly where they might lose track of when they last renewed their membership.

In addition to that, reminding them that they can upgrade their tier and what the benefits are to upgrade. A lot of times memberships will just continue on and the member won't be aware of what their options are to upgrade. It's very common to set up a scenario where the member will have the ability to upgrade dynamically, but then in order to downgrade or cancel they may need to complete a few additional steps. During that worst-case scenario, you can remind them of the benefits they are receiving and give them options, so that they are encouraged to continue their membership without being too tacky about it.

But ultimately, it would be possible to provide them with some options to explore all of their membership benefits before cancelling if that's what they thought that they wanted to do. In addition, it's pretty common to have a countdown to their next renewal, and whenever it comes time to renew, they can have it set to automatically renew. If there are any issues with that automated renewal, being able to offer a grace period and then provide the messaging around that grace period can help retain many potentially lost members. One solution to this would be an automatic email message that can go out in advance of the renewal to remind them that it's coming up.

Re-engaging Potentially Lost Users

How to Prevent Cancellations

If somebody's coming into the site to either upgrade or cancel, make sure they're aware visually of their different options for upgrading and also the benefits of maintaining their membership versus canceling. Essentially in an attempt to keep them subscribed to their current membership or possibly even upselling them during that process. There are ways to incentivize your members through discounts or other presented opportunities. In example, if they're upgrading from Tier 1 to Tier 2, we might want to offer them a discount to upgrade all the way up to tier 3. So, just kind of helping take advantage of the opportunity for them to get a discount and the opportunity for the marketplace to get more revenue can be a win-win in many cases.

So, what happens if someone has unintentionally cancelled because they haven't paid or maybe their card is out of date and they simply need to update their card information, or whatever their payment information might be possibly the payment didn't go through. Those are all things that are pretty common and we recommend having a grace period and the opportunity to interact either in an automated fashion with the site or in a manual fashion with a customer service representative to ensure that those memberships remain active and as long as their renewed within a certain grace period, then they don't lose their membership benefits.

Needless to say, memberships and their renewals can be a key component in your membership architecture. Just make sure that folks understand what the benefits are and that they have an easy comparison between the different levels.

Incentivize Your Buyers & Sellers

Engaging Users With Discounts & Rewards

In addition to the actual payment options, it’s also possible to offer folks discounts or benefits based on how they perform within the community. What I mean by that is when a member is setting up their store as a vendor member or if they’re a buyer and conducting a lot of helpful reviews. They're providing value to the marketplace as a whole.

You know if a vendor is providing a lot of products and they're giving a lot of information about those products, that's a vendor who we would want to encourage through governance or essentially rules on the marketplace that would gamify or give them access to benefits based on how much they contribute to the marketplace. Similarly, you would want to do the same with the buyer who is leaving a lot of helpful reviews or has provided answers to questions about something that they are familiar with.

What we want to do is drive engagement within the community of the marketplace, so that users can find what they need quickly and get help in as much as possible automated fashion. So ultimately, it's possible to incentivize members who would then gain benefits or get discounts by providing them with resources that would typically be part of a paid membership. You could possibly upgrade the tier of their membership based on certain activities or giving them a discount of a month if they do certain things. In addition, you can also setup referrals, so that if somebody refers someone else the referring member could get X days free of their membership or a month free of their membership, etc.

And finally, the membership itself fundamentally is used to incentivize users at different levels with the different permissions they are given access to. These different capabilities within the marketplace and application can be configured such that all of the permissions and roles are very configurable, then you can literally set up an unlimited number of different membership tiers based on type of member. All of these different types of members or users essentially can also have different rights within the tiers of membership access that they have. With this sort of granular control, you are able to reward community members with unique benefits outside their existing tier, without having to upgrade their tier as a whole.

How Can We Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

In conclusion, you can see that marketplace memberships are both a complex, yet highly rewarding feature to implement. As you collaborate with your team, we urge you to reach out to your selected vendor to help archetype the framework of the functionality around your memberships. Ultimately, we would love to be your select vendor and have prepared a list of other marketplace centric resources linked below. If you have any questions about your marketplace solution, we are here to help.

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