How Associations can thrive in an age of “Me-Commerce”

Lynne Newbury - Online Marketing Manager

Personaliation is the Key

Trends are changing, demographics are shifting, and the tech revolution and consumer demand for increased personalisation of services are present, varying the customer decision roadmap.

These are all current changes amongst the 21st century consumer, highlighted via McKinsey & Company through statistics and an [infographic] expressing the future of retail. These fundamental aspects can also be applied within the association and NFP space.  

Why Me-Commerce?

“Me-Commerce” and the future of retail success today encompasses the development of tech tools and information relevant to the individual consumer. The world of ‘Me-Commerce’ is all about meeting the ever-changing demanding habits of consumers. The way these changes are being met is through a shift towards digital-enabled shopping which has put pressure on more traditional retail techniques. Big retail giants in the US such as Amazon and Walmart have the funds and size to more easily and quickly change to adopt digital processes than smaller retailers, and as a result, have driven smaller retailers to cut their cost base by up to 33%.

Embracing the Me-Commerce opportunity will not only allow retailers to succeed but also open up significant rewards. Personalisation, which is the foundation of Me-Commerce, can deliver up to five and eight times the ROI on marketing spend, lifting sales 10% or more.

Some retailers have innovated and experimented to adapt to the rising demands, however, too many of these changes have been marginal rather than fundamental. These marginal changes will not be enough to survive as economic pressures increase.

Adopting technology will also allow operations to run more efficiently, along with the capabilities required to use big data and touch points to drive sales and growth as well as reduce costs. Real time data mining will also have a large impact.

Association and Retail Similarities

Consumers in retail and associations have strong similarities and association members want the same kind of personalisation available to them.

How well do you really know your members?

The habits of members and consumers are constantly changing along with today’s decision process. Members want to experience a seamless user journey throughout an association website and receive updates that are of specific interest to them, all in a central location (member portal). In order to capture the insights of members and web users’ tools, social media tracking intelligence running in real time is required.

Are you a publisher?

For an association to stay relevant it needs to be able to build trust and capture the audience. To do so, associations need to be publishers. Member relationships are now two-way as they constantly want to be up to date with fresh and relevant content. Often you can get members to contribute content, which will help your staff, and show you what's important to them.

Have you got the technology?

Associations need to be tech-savvy to produce the best outcomes for their members and sponsors. To achieve great results associations need to have an integrated member management system and forward-thinking CRM system to manage and retain members. Acquiring the right technology company is necessary as you will get results faster. Research shows that companies who use this process outpace their peers.

To be a forward-thinking association adapting new technologies, you need the mindset that embraces innovation, and you need to test and learn. Through embracing new technologies your association will provide a better user experience for members as well as better reporting and automated systems.

How associations respond to these changes will determine who will be prospering within the next few years, along with happy members and high retention rates.