Making it easier to become a member

Last week we announced we’ve reached the 500,000 new member mark since we launched our new Membership in September last year.  

Earlier this year we also said that we want a million new members in 2017 and with that in mind, it’s really important that first-time users can register as easily as possible. That’s why, in our last sprint, the Membership website team focused on improving the user journey and reducing drop-outs.

Completing the online registration

To get an online member account you have to register on the Membership site. If you’re already a member then it’s a case of registering your card (or temporary card) you bought in store.

When we looked at data, only 34% of people who started to sign up as new members, ie those who hadn’t got any kind of membership card from were completing the journey.

Improving things for this user group is key to achieving our target of a million new members this year. Someone signing up here is potentially a new member that we might never see again if they leave the site at this point.

Something didn’t quite add up

Google Analytics told us that we were losing a significant number of people at the point where we asked new members to pay £1. At first we assumed that paying £1 was too much for some customers. But the 34% successful sign up rate didn’t match well with what we were hearing from users we’d talked to. We found that although some people questioned why we charge £1, their reactions didn’t indicate that a massive 2 out of every 3 of them would be put off by it.

From this, we hypothesised that the poor conversion rate might be down to people who were already members arriving at the £1 payment page. They would have already paid to join, so they could be the ones leaving at this point.

There are over a quarter of a million members with temporary cards who haven’t registered them yet. We know that after 28 days the chances of a card being registered falls dramatically so designing a user journey that helps temporary card holders succeed first time and become ‘active’ is vital.

How we improved the user journey

To solve this we added in another step into the process for anyone wanting to join as a new member. The important interaction change we made was to ask the customer if they had a Co-op card, rather than asking them to remember if they were already members.

screen shot of the 'check if you're a member' page showing the three types of membership card
We included images of the old ‘honeycomb’ card, the new blue card as well as an image of a temporary card as visual prompts. From there, if they have a card we take their membership number and direct them to sign in or register. Now, they don’t see a screen asking them for another £1. We only let people who say they don’t have a card progress further.

It’s working

Our latest data shows that 58% people who are routed to join follow this journey successfully: they pay £1 and become members. That’s a significant increase. Those we now redirect automatically to register are completing their journeys successfully too – which in its own way is important.

As an aside we’ve also reduced the risk of members duplicating their membership by joining online when they already have a membership number. This reduces the burden on our call centre, which currently is the only way members can link their accounts if they have more than one.

What we’ll be working on next

Our next improvement is looking at the sign in journey.

So if you haven’t done it yet it’s now even easier to join us!

Derek Harvie
Product manager

4 thoughts on “Making it easier to become a member

  1. Saleem February 10, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Simple but brilliant, well done!


  2. barbara holligan February 13, 2017 / 11:35 pm

    Hi Coop National Council members are really concerned at the poor conversion rate of temporary cards sold for £1 in stores, to membership cards. What is the successful conversion rate now, when someone goes online to register a temporary card, and how does that compare to what has it been in the last 6 months ?
    It is important not to call people with temporary cards ‘members’, because they have no membership rights – eg voting – until they have signed up as a member. We don’t even know their name if they only have a temporary card.


  3. Frank Nelson February 14, 2017 / 12:06 am

    My name is Frank Nelson… an elected individual member of the National Members’ Council directed by email to this page by Barbara H.
    Having purchased a temporary card a few weeks ago and used it once (on day of purchase) and on a second occasion (in a different store), it would really help me understand and evaluate the remainder of my “shopper to registered member” experience, if you could let me know
    a) whether 34% and 58% are good/bad or acceptable/unacceptable conversion rates relative to the conversion rates that are achieved by our competitors/peers’ e.g. nectar whose plastic cards I regularly take from the garage* but have not yet ever got round to registering personal details
    b) what steps, if any, have been installed into POS systems and CSA processes to.prompt the temporary cardholders – when using their temporary card for the second or third time in store i.e. knowing this will help when I road test my temporary card again
    I have left my email details (below) and look forward to hearing from you.


  4. june February 14, 2017 / 11:33 am

    Why not introduce a procedure similar to the original procedure and deduct the £1 from the 5% amassed on spend. This should allay the fears of those reluctant to pay the £1 for a card.

    It would also be much more successful if they could register in store. Surely with the amount invested in Digital this functionality could be developed..

    I’m puzzled by ‘Those we now redirect automatically to register’ – if they are existing members why do they have to register and if they are not what is automatic?


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