Associations: Ready to Jump into the eCommerce Trend?
Circa 1998, we were admonished, “Don’t get in strangers' cars, especially if you met them on the internet.”
Today, “Did you order an Uber?”
Technology hasn’t just changed how we find taxis. It’s changed how we interact with our associations.
Why not make an eCommerce store the next technological trend your association conquers?
An eCommerce store provides new value for your members by offering:
- Self-directed learning products.
- Frictionless purchasing options.
- Curated resources.
Check out the tips and tricks below to get your association’s eCommerce store up and running!
How to Configure Your eCommerce Store
First, you’ll have to decide which learning products to monetize. You probably have lots of options available. You’ve probably been developing and sharing industry expertise with your members for years.
Different types of learning products associations can offer:
- Continuing education resources
- Microcredentials on cutting edge topics
- Subscription access to daily microlearning modules, discussion boards, and more.
- Test prep products for major certifications.
You can decide to categorize these resources by type or topic. Then, you’ll need to develop a product page for each resource. At this point, you can add any search-engine-optimization (SEO) keywords. You can include keywords in your urls, navigation links, and metadata in your product page.
Here are a few other key features to consider adding to your product page:
- Why your members need to learn this information.
- Course description, syllabus, and number of continuing education hours.
- Sample pages or video of the product.
- Any special features included (access to an expert, discussion boards, etc.)
- Information on the experts involved in course development.
Other Configurations and Testing
You’re almost done with the basics of setting up your store. There’s just a few more steps left until you’re ready to launch.
- Link payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, etc.). Also, add any additional currencies.
- Set up taxation procedures.
- Test your eCommerce store to make sure everything is working properly.
How to Increase Non-dues Revenue with Your eCommerce Store
Associations often worry virtual options will hurt in-person attendance. Luckily, one study proved this fear to be a myth. It found virtual attendees represented a different market completely.
Your eCommerce store represents a similar opportunity. Offering online education does not mean your in-person learning events will suffer. The truth is that they'll be more likely to attend in-person — after they’ve had a taste of your amazing online content.
Plus, Covid-19 taught us all how easily face-to-face events can be disrupted. An eCommerce store provides another non-dues revenue stream and protection against future closures. Plus, it’s another way to improve the return-on-investment (ROI) of your association LMS.
🔎Check out how ASCM increased non-dues revenue: Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) Nearly Triples Goal for eLearning Seats Sold in First Year with BenchPrep
eCommerce Best Practices for Associations
- Connect an email account to your eCommerce store to grow your membership.
- Highlight the professional value of your products.
- Offer a subscription service for access to all of your resources.
Consumers of your eLearning products present an opportunity to recruit new members. You can set up trigger emails to send customers a welcome email or offer them discounted memberships.
Your members often come to you to fulfill continuing education hours requirements. If so, consider categorizing your products by the number of continuing education hours. Professionals also want to highlight their learning to their organizations. Your micro credentials or certificates may be the perfect fit. In fact, you may want to develop a cutting edge certificate for this market.
Subscription services may also attract younger members. Millennials are more likely to have subscription services than older generations. But subscriptions services are difficult to launch and maintain. Access to your complete online resource collection is an easy place to start. Then, you don't need to worry about updating content. You can add other perks like "Ask an Expert" or subscriber-only discussion boards as your service grows.
🔎 For more non-dues revenue generating ideas, read our ebook, Dreaming of Recurring Revenue? Engage Learners Continuously.
How to Scale Your eCommerce Store
The joy of an eCommerce store is that you can start small and adjust later. At the start, it might just provide another way for you to monetize your existing learning products.
But you’ll soon see how easy it is to scale your eCommerce store.
Your learning management system (LMS) comes with a built-in eCommerce functionality. This means that your eCommerce store and your LMS will both generate data reports. You’ll be able to see popular course content, drop-out points in courses, and geographic user data.
With this data, you’ll be able to market more effectively to your members. Even more importantly, you’ll know what type of content to create to help them succeed.
It’s truly a win-win. Your eCommerce store generates non-dues revenue. But it also fulfills your mission by offering education to your members on important issues.
Without continuous education, how will they continue to succeed?
Schedule a demo today to find out how BenchPrep’s cloud, configurable LMS can help you launch an eCommerce store for your learning offerings.