Membership Revisited

snapster went on a bit of a rant said
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After selling Woot to Amazon, I made it a priority to defend what made Woot, Woot. While I expected to find what we had done for 6 years was largely intuitive, I did not expect our decisions to be so counterintuitive to Amazon. My attempts to defend them made us look like annoying rebels (at best) within Amazon. Much of this was our own fault; we lacked metrics that would have helped define and track fan loyalty to the Woot experience. In Amazon’s culture you’re nothing without metrics.

After all that went down, our plan for Meh was to not only rewind back to a “classic woot” model but to also develop metrics to explain our decision making (even if it was to ourselves). Measuring Loyalty was a big area. Our Very Mediocre Person (VMP) Membership was to be both a customer benefit and a health metric for us. By tracking growth of loyal monthly members, we would be more likely to keep the business healthy long term. Pleasing true fans.

What played out over the first few years was on one hand amazing and on the other, sobering. Thousands of core fans had followed us to Mediocre but hundreds of thousands of casual customers had not heard. The Walled Garden internet era had monetized and stalled word spreading of our reboot. We required more firepower! As a percentage of our customer base, VMP membership was essentially driving us towards being a Members-Only style club whether we wanted it or not. Without freight-paying customers to help subsidize the freight cost, it was harder to surprise and please our loyal VMPs than we anticipated. Free freight in a pricing environment where no one paid freight was meaningless.

So we killed it. At least for new members. We grandfathered in those who were already members while we focused on other means to subsidize them. We wanted a system of ever-increasing value for members, not diminishing returns.

It’s been a long year but we’re ready to say we’ve finally cracked it. If we could not bring in the casual customer to Meh, we would double down on other stores. And double down we have. We have aggressively grown our other businesses until we are balanced as a whole. Casual customers can again subsidize freight costs for loyal members!

The combination of Meh, MorningSave, Casemates, and our experimentations with Checkout.org (like our 6 month test at TMZ) present us with the economy of scale and future balance of customers to resume the VMP style membership we had over a year ago.

In fact, we can offer benefits on all stores at an even cheaper price!

Announcing $4.99/month Membership!

Starting very soon you can join our new membership program. Unlimited (free?) shipping works across our set of three (and slowly expanding) stores. And it’s 1 cent cheaper than before!

One-click cancel, anytime without hassle. If you cancel, we end your benefits and waive your current month partial fees (you are billed in arrears). You can join again for $4.99 when you place your next order.

What about VMP? We’re not ending service to our grandfathered-in VMPs. As new stores were launched, they became eligible and we’ll continue to do that sort of thing. VMPs will have all of the benefits of Membership with a bonus of paying us 1 cent more per month. Maybe there’s a couple extra VMP-only features we’ll continue as well.

Questions? Let us know here.