How to Leverage Membership and Subscription to Boost Revenue For Your Brick and Mortar store

August 5, 2022
Clara Holz

Membership and Subscription models have been around for a while. So, why the sudden boom?

Shoppers' attitudes to retail have undergone a significant shift, and this is likely to continue for some time. Customers are sticking with brands that have successfully implemented strategies to boost customer loyalty and offer secure means for clients to keep interacting with them.

And beyond just a location to stop and shop, retail businesses are now using membership and subscription models to retain more customers than ever and generate recurring revenue. But before we dive deeper, let's draw the thin line between membership and subscription.

Difference between membership and subscription model

Although Membership and Subscription Models are similar in the way they provide recurring revenue for businesses, they can be used independently of each other and differ in what they offer to the customer.

Membership offers a customer the status of a member of the company or organization, entitling them to all membership benefits and privileges attached.

Subscription on the other hand offers access to a product or resource for a predetermined length of time.

I call the difference between membership and subscription a thin line because they offer a pretty similar value but in different ways. But whether you use either or both is dependent on your industry and how you plan to provide value to your customers.

Why you need Customer Loyalty programs for your business

It's easy to attract people when your brick-and-mortar business has an experience feel and your company is known for providing fantastic products that are undoubtedly the best around the block. However, all the efforts you put into the aesthetics of your store won't amount to much if people come in to make purchases and you never see them again.

You need to consider more than just your first client acquisition expenditures when changing the way you approach your business. You must pay attention to your customer retention rate in order to make sure the time and money you invest in gaining customers aren't wasted. In addition to wowing potential customers, you also need to maintain the loyalty of your current clientele.

This is why adopting experiential retail alone won't be sufficient; you also need to develop consumer loyalty using techniques that enable customers to connect with your brand without having to shell out extra money for advertising.

The good news is that earning a customer's loyalty pays off after you have it. Marketing to returning consumers has a success rate of between 60% and 70%. Additionally, returning clients are more likely to recommend your business to others, giving you the word-of-mouth credibility that influences between 20 to 50% of consumer purchasing decisions.

Offering a Membership or selling a subscription means you’ve automated customer return and given one-time customers the opportunity to return. And selling memberships that make customers feel valued gives them a connection to your brand. Building loyalty through these relationships is a surefire way to increase retail sales. Several studies have revealed that companies with strong customer loyalty grow revenue twice as fast as others in their industry.

How to generate revenue using membership and subscription billing.

Now that I’ve explained why increased retail sales goes beyond a good product and an aesthetically pleasing store, there is still a need to turn every first-time buyer into a returning customer. And one certain way of ensuring you remain in the minds of your customers is by selling a relationship-based experience through membership and subscription programs.

I’ll be sharing four strategies to help you get started with selling recurring subscriptions or memberships.  if you've never sold subscriptions and this is all new to you, Chargezen has helped many businesses launch and scale subscriptions.

Offer your customers discounts when they subscribe

Giving people the option to subscribe and save at your store anytime they want to shop will encourage them to keep returning. People will choose to shop with you if you help them save some money while they're at it.

You could also provide subscription clients with a special promo code. Customers will still receive value from their subscriptions and you will continue to promote your business even if your store is closed.

Organize and sell courses through subscription billing

A great way to build a relationship with your customers as an expert and thought leader in your industry is to offer tutorials and masterclasses. This may be done in-person or virtually, whichever works better for you and your customers. All you have to do is think of an area of expertise in your field and let them know ahead of time. By doing this, customers will most likely prioritize your products if they now consider you as a pundit in your industry.

And if you decide to get your customers to pay for these courses perhaps at discounted rates if they purchase a product, set it up as a subscription billing and they will be billed automatically. This will allow you to concentrate on the class itself rather than spending hours managing monthly fees, allowing you to scale up your lessons to fit as many interested clients as you have time slots for while being certain that your customers will be billed automatically.

Offer Product Rental Services

This is a good way to sell products that customers are not willing to own by a one-off purchase. Baking pans, pots, and casseroles for a culinary supply store or speakers, microphones, and other musical instruments for a store selling musical instruments are some examples of rental products.

You could use any of the three broad categories of product rentals while offering subscription billing; transactional, relationship, and rent-to-own.

Transactional rentals are the standard rent-and-return kind, in which a consumer rents a product for a certain period of time and then returns it.

Relationship rentals allow the customer to subscribe and have access to a set inventory so long as they remain subscribed.

Rent-to-own allows the customer to continue paying for a rented item until it is returned for another customer to rent or their payment becomes equivalent to the value needed to own the item.

VIP Memberships

This approach combines elements of the others to give clients a VIP membership experience.

For example, you might combine rent-to-own subscriptions on an item purchased with continuous training sessions on the use and maintenance of the item. Alternately, you may entice them to join by offering them special deals, individualized services, and freebies.

When considering what extras to offer your VIP Members, you can explore and do what works best for your business as long as you are giving a good enough value to your members.

And since the billing process is automated, you'll need less hands-on management.


Going beyond selling fantastic products, being a part of your customer's lives, and gaining their loyalty will improve overall sales and boost your monthly revenue. Which of these tactics will you implement for your company?

If you have questions or are not sure if membership or subscription is right for your business, you can get more help by writing to

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