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Is Brand Membership the Way Forward?

April 17, 2022
Author: Jasmine Waters

Purpose-driven brands are the name of the game—those who don’t fall into that category are at risk of losing their business. While many in the fashion industry are aware of this, the new challenge emerging is one of how to provide solutions to ongoing problems. In a bid to both become circular and increase brand revenue, some companies are turning to versions of memberships and subscription services to engineer an entirely new sense of purpose. What do memberships include, and are they the way forward?

What are brand memberships?

It no longer seems like a daring proposition to ask consumers to sign up to a subscription service, thanks to the likes of Spotify and Netflix. In their shadow, brands are beginning to give their consumers a subtle ultimatum—pay an annual fee or premium prices for selected items. The general idea is to leverage engagement and the every-increasing benefits of collecting data while blending that with the tried and tested loyalty scheme. If the service and solve sustainability issues along the way, even better. In early predictions, brands already implementing the strategy have states the ability to reduce overproduction, incentivising consumers and keeping products in longer periods of circulation.

Will this help fashion business to become circular?

If any fashion business is looking to replicate the same effect, the goal will need to be solving pain points that make fashion more effortlessly circular, alongside giving back older products to be recycled. There ongoing tension between fashion sales and curbing environmental impact, prompting a need for business models that sell a core kit of timeless products. This hyper-specialisation is what a membership package could feed into, ensuring it can effectively meet consumers’ needs. Trading in used products to resell and recycle would also be a key element of an annual subscription.

As of right now, there’s only a handful of brands steaming ahead with a sustainability-driven membership service at its core. While retail is more broadly looking for drastic means to change, said models are attracting fresh attention from consumers and investors alike. Creating product hype without giving into overproduction, there’s still uncertainty over whether customers really want more expenses to add to their bill, ultimately doing retail more harm than good. Even so, the need to present something more than just a product is still there, arguably enriching the consumer in a wider cultural experience.

Image source: https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-clothing-subscriptions-boxes-ncna1194636


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