Tuesday, August 16

Online Shoppers Are Swayed by Membership Deals, And Amazon Prime Is Proof

As Amazon geared up for its first annual “Prime Day” on July 15 — a day that was marketed as a rival to Black Friday and which has promised unbelievable sales and one-day shipping for Prime members only — it’s clear that the world of e-commerce has become bigger in the past few years than anyone expected.

“Prime Day” is essentially just one big marketing scheme, exactly like Black Friday deals, but it’s bringing attention to a growing online shopping trend: more businesses that want to cultivate customers’ online shopping experiences are offering subscription passes which allow members to take part in the sales.

Amazon’s Prime membership is the most popular type of subscription shopping program, but Business Insider has recently reported that other businesses have created similar membership programs. For example, in exchange for paying a small annual fee to Sephora, a high-end makeup and beauty chain, customers get access to “exclusive” savings and shipping discounts.

The concept behind a members-only online shopping experience is nothing new, Business Insider stated; it’s harder to find a retail store today that doesn’t have some type of customer rewards card or subscription program.

Not only are consumers looking for an easier way of managing bulky rewards cards, but with so much access to a variety of retail stores online or in mobile apps, consumers have more choices when they’re deciding where to spend their money. Instead of looking for a one-time deal, they’re more invested in long-term savings.

And as Business News Daily and Forbes recently reported, businesses need to adapt to the growing population of online shoppers — or else face a possible decrease in sales.

Mobile sales in particular are on the rise, and are predicted to generate about $280 billion in 2015 globally. It’s estimated that around four out of five consumers in the U.S. have shopped on their smartphone at least once, and that almost half of all smartphone users have downloaded at least one shopping app at some point.

One of the main benefits of membership subscriptions is that customers can quickly enter and save their personal information into these mobile apps and then instantly reap the rewards — there’s no coupon clipping or waiting around for holiday weekend sales.

So perhaps Amazon is getting all the attention this July 15 for Prime Day, but it’s very possible that other businesses could take advantage of the attention for their own sales next year.

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