Power to the People! Offer Member Choice Clubs so They Can Have It Their Way.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
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Burger King figured it out long ago … “Have it your way!” is a phrase most of us know and appreciate. It’s no secret to most merchants who offer and manage clubs with periodic, preselected shipments that similarly, club members often want control over the contents of those shipments. If the merchant doesn’t offer that control, they lose customers and revenue. Coffee club members want to choose which beans they get in each shipment and whether they get one pound or two, bread club members may want to exclude rye bread (although I’ll never understand why!), olive oil club members may want a specific flavored oil one month and plain oil the next, and anyone in the wine business knows that wine club members want all kinds of different configurations in their periodic shipments.

For years, wineries (for example) have attempted to accommodate this strong consumer demand to have things their way by offering multiple versions of their clubs, separating red wine, white wine, and mixed wine clubs; pinot clubs from cab clubs from Chardonnay clubs; multiple club selections with various bottle quantities and shipping frequencies; premium or limited production wines versus more generally available wines; etc. In addition to providing multiple club options such as these, most winery club managers will tell you that they also serve several customers in each club that present additional personal requirements; for example, they may not want a particular varietal to be included in their shipments even though they’ve opted generally for mixed wine varietals, or they prefer a specific shipper that the winery doesn’t use primarily.

Managing these multiple clubs with additional client personal preferences can be time consuming, confusing, and challenging. Until fairly recently, most of that communicating, tracking, and processing had to be done manually because “exceptions” are the antithesis of the traditional club model (which is to send the same package contents to all of the members in each group) upon which most wine club processing software was based. Managing all of this manually, in addition to being burdensome, is also a great way to make honest mistakes that disappoint, or even worse, really piss off your customers.

Did you know that Nexternal clients have a wonderful opportunity to rid themselves of all that extra burdensome administration, while still providing each and every club member with exactly what they want? These inconspicuous few settings in the Nexternal Order Management System pack a massive marketing punch – Member Choice Clubs!

With just a few clicks of a button, Nexternal merchants can create “pending club shipments” for their club members, email the members to let them know that they can log in to their account page in the merchant’s online store, change the order as they wish, and get their club shipments their way! Of course, our merchants can manage the parameters within which changes can be made: to require a certain spend level or a minimum number of products, to allow some products to be added and not others, and to allow some to be removed and not others. Additionally, members can update their payment info as well as their shipping and billing address.

The Nexternal merchant can also set a deadline on which all the pending orders automatically become real orders with whatever contents and customer info are in them at the time. The result? Super-happy club members who get what they want in every shipment; super-happy employees who don’t have to manage the endless phone calls, emails, and exception processing; and super-happy merchants who sell more product, all within the parameters that they want to set. And we even threw in something for the fulfillment team – merchants can allow their Members to activate early when they customize their orders, so that when the remaining orders auto-activate, they’re left only with orders that will pack the same. I’d call that a win-win-win-win!

Member Choice Clubs are easy to set up, and Member Choice orders are simple to create, modify, and process. They serve the best interests and desires of Club Members and Merchants alike, which of course will increase club sign-ups and average rates of member retention. And by making add-ons so incredibly easy, Member Choice Clubs may well raise revenue immediately on each shipment from an existing club membership.

For more information, please contact the Nexternal account manager dedicated to your account, and if you’re not yet a Nexternal customer, please give us a shout to see how you can serve your customers their way!

Pamela is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal and works in the Napa Valley office. She is passionate about helping her clients succeed. With 20 years' experience in the wine industry spearheading business development and marketing for various wineries including her own, plus previous years practicing general business law, Pamela is well qualified to provide the service and guidance to her clients that sets Nexternal apart from other eCommerce providers.