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Generate More Non-Dues Revenue with Ecommerce in Your Community

Generate more non-dues revenue to improve the financial position of your association and create great experiences for your members by setting up an online ecommerce store within your community.

For most associations, keeping the organization fiscally healthy means looking beyond revenue generated by membership dues. The more diversified an association’s revenue streams, the better resourced it is to support the staffing and features that drive the best membership experiences possible.

Non-dues revenue becomes even more vital in environments of economic uncertainty, helping provide a firmer foundation and stronger defenses against downturns that could cause other, less prepared associations to have to reduce member offerings and quality (which, in turn, threatens member engagement and retention, making the financial challenges even worse).

It’s smart for any association to explore a variety of revenue generating activities. One underutilized method is having an online shop.

Five Reasons to Set Up an Association Store

Setting up an ecommerce store for your association should be carefully considered to ensure favorable ROI, but there are many obvious benefits.

1. Physical and Digital Product Sales

When you think of an online ecommerce store, you might automatically think about physical objects you can sell. Associations can absolutely offer swag items like hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, pens, notebooks, mugs, etc., or run their branded bookstore through the online store. But you can also sell digital products like reports, exclusive executive POVs, e-books, audiobooks, technical spec manuals, infographics, or webinar recordings.

2. Sell Sponsorships and Advertising

If you’re considering selling sponsorship, advertising, and partnership opportunities, your ecommerce site can be a great place to process those transactions. You’ll want to make sure to thoroughly explain the sponsorships and ads being offered, perhaps on a landing page, but once you’ve made that value proposition clear, you can funnel potential sponsors/partners to order advertising via your online store, saving you the time of manually creating invoices.

3. Connect Members Tighter to the Brand

Members likely became members because they strongly identify with both the industry and your community. Offering creative, desirable merchandise that taps into that passion and fosters that self-identification element lets members express themselves and tie themselves even closer to the association. An online store also serves as another motivator for members to spend more time on your site, driving member engagement and the “stickiness” of your association.

4. Merchandise Turns into Marketing

Members don’t buy merchandise to throw in a closet and keep secret. They wear or use branded merchandise to share their enthusiasm for their role and their affiliations. In effect, they become walking billboards for your association. Others see the brand and ask what it is, leading to conversations that could generate member prospects.

5. It Generates Revenue the Association Would Not Otherwise Have Gotten

Quite simply, if you have an idea for a product your members will buy, having a store within your community enables you to capitalize on that revenue. The store’s location within your community also ensures that it’s front and center when members log in, and you can even offer members special pricing tiers that align with their membership level.

Setting Up an Association Online Store the Easy Way

Member Engagement and Shopping in One Place

Once you’ve decided there are plenty of reasons to set up an online store for your association, the question comes, “How do we do it?”. For many associations, cost and ease of use are the top priorities – you need something that doesn’t overtax busy staff and tight budgets.

Higher Logic Thrive Commerce, powered by Shopify, is designed to help associations affordably and easily maintain an online shopping cart with checkout functionality, all from within their community.

The Ease of Shopify Combined with Higher Logic’s Member Experience Expertise

Shopify is a well-known ecommerce platform that offers ease of use and affordability. Combining those benefits with Higher Logic Thrive Community’s existing reach and engagement tools means simple storefronts can be set up and easily managed. Your members can shop for and buy products right in the same place where they engage with all your other association offerings. And having your storefront within your community ensures that members stay within the community environment.

Plus, by leveraging your member data in Higher Logic Thrive, you can set up personalized pricing based on specific member levels and types.

More Non-Dues Revenue, Just by Giving Members What They Want

If generating more non-dues revenue to better the financial position of your association and creating great experiences for your members are two of your top priorities, setting up an online ecommerce store within your community is a strong way to act on both those priorities.

Give members access to products they want, keep them on the site and engaged longer, and enjoy the additional non-dues revenue that comes from your ecommerce store’s sales 24/7.


Want to add E-Commerce to Your Portfolio?

Learn how Higher Logic Thrive Commerce can help your association.

Ryan Casey