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 coop.co.uk/membership 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

22 thoughts on “Making it easier to become a member

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

    Simple but brilliant, well done!

    Like

  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.

    Like

    • Mike Ingham March 8, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      Hi Barbara

      Apologies for the delay in responding. My name is Mike and I’m a new product manager working on the membership team.

      To answer your question, since launch the conversion rate of temporary card holders to members is 41% and in the most recent week the conversion rate was 47%.

      We agree that the conversion of temporary card holders to members isn’t what we would expect and we will shortly be starting a piece of work with the aim of improving this.

      you are correct in saying that temporary card holders aren’t members and when we do talk about membership numbers temporary card holders are never included.

      Im happy to answer any further question that you may have my email address is mike.ingham@coopdigital.com

      Thanks, Mike.

      Like

      • barbara holligan March 8, 2017 / 8:38 pm

        Hi Mike
        very interested in this piece of work and I will email you, perhaps you could keep me and Frank updated together to save yourself time.
        I think June has a good point – having been in store several times ‘selling’ temporary cards, I can see that even with improvements to digital conversion like you suggest, we are still going to have problems with ”conversions’. I saw a 95 year old sold a card, who didn’t use the phone or a computer ! And the CTM who sold it her spent a lot of time explaining etc – and we offered to phone for her in store once she had ‘bought’ it – but she was by now anxious and refused.
        My point is that a) the concept of selling a temporary card and expecting conversions has serious flaws and 2) that there are huge training and time management issues around selling them at POS.
        But I am glad to see you tidying up the digital journey for those prepared to take it.

        Like

      • Frank Nelson March 8, 2017 / 9:22 pm

        Barbara
        Recognising the low tech profile of some temporary cardholders and holding one myself, perhaps the appropriate vehicle for getting what’s needed for a temporary cardholder to progress through to membership – when using their temporary card for a second or third time – would be to ask them to complete a postcard membership data and permissions gathering form that colleagues in store or funeral home can then forward to the centre for processing?
        I appreciate this is a “non digital-non telephony” method/process but perhaps the only way some of our shoppers might be able to make progress on their journey to membership?
        Frank

        Like

      • barbara holligan March 8, 2017 / 8:44 pm

        Hi Mike
        sadly my email to you keeps being returned undeliverable . Please can you email me direct thanks Barbara

        Like

    • Mike Ingham March 9, 2017 / 8:41 am

      Hi Barbara

      Apologies there was a slight type in my email address, it should be Mike.ingham@coopdigital.co.uk. I cant actually see your email address from the blog post.

      If you did want to email me and like you suggested I can reply copying in Frank also.

      Thanks very much and apologies for the typo.

      Mike.

      Like

    • Mike Ingham March 10, 2017 / 11:07 am

      Hi Barbara

      I just wanted to follow up on your comments, I completely agree that the journey for temporary card users can not just be solved by improving the digital journey alone and we will be looking at elements in store as well.

      Im happy to arrange a conference or video call if you would like to discuss this further

      Thanks, Mike.

      Like

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

    Derek,
    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.
    Regards.
    Frank

    Like

    • Mike Ingham March 8, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      Hi Frank,

      Apologies for the delay in responding. My name is Mike and I’m a new product manager working on the membership team.

      We don’t feel like we can compare the conversion rate of membership to other free loyalty schemes as membership has a different offering, and also costs £1.00 where as schemes like Nectar points are free to join. We are happy with 58% conversion rate at present as the data doesn’t show any major drop off points on the website.

      We haven’t taken any steps to change the POS at present and we will be shortly undertaking some work to make improvements in this area.

      Im happy to answer any further question that you may have my email address is mike.ingham@coopdigital.com

      Thanks, Mike.

      Like

      • Frank Nelson March 8, 2017 / 7:57 pm

        Mike
        Re conversion rates…. I obviously accept our Co-op membership is very different to other retailer loyalty schemes but would suggest that does not invalidate comparisons of conversion and drop out rates with other schemes.
        Can you provide any comparative data albeit limited in direct comparison?
        Re POS system, process and scripts…. would very be interested to know what is being planned. My temporary membership card has a number and, presumably, a live unregistered record on your system…. suggesting that a prompt could be given to the colleague at the trading outlet when unregistered temporary cardholders next proffer their card.
        Is that the sort of system/process change being considered?
        Happy to continue the dialogue by email at frank291250@hotmail.co.uk if that is more convenient for you?
        Regards
        Frank

        Like

      • Mike Ingham March 13, 2017 / 4:42 pm

        Hi Frank,

        I have spoken to Barbara via email and we will arrange a suitable time for a telephone conference call so we can discuss the issues in more detail, I’m obviously happy to work around yours and Barbara’s availability, so hopefully we will talk soon.

        Thanks, Mike.

        Like

    • Mike Ingham March 10, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Hi Frank,

      We are still in the process of compiling all of the data from other similar schemes so as soon as I have this I will share it.

      we are certainly looking at all elements of temporary cards not just the digital journey, but are in the very early stages of looking at what that work will look like.

      Im happy to set up a conference or video call so that we can discuss this in more detail if you would like.

      Thanks mike

      Like

      • Frank Nelson March 10, 2017 / 1:46 pm

        Mike
        Happy to participate in a telephone conference, my lack of digital skills makes video conferencing not possible, but would suggest that you invite Barbara and June to join us.
        Look forward to hearing from you.
        Have a nice weekend.
        Frank

        Like

  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?

    Like

  5. Frank Nelson March 9, 2017 / 9:12 am

    June
    I can see the sense in what you are suggesting here – in that we would remove the barrier to joining of not having to pay up front – but, personally, I am very supportive of asking shoppers to pay £1 to start the “journey/pilgrimage” to becoming a fully participative member-owner.
    Firstly, having to pay £1 up front differentiates our membership proposition from those run by other retailers (Nectar, Tesco, M&S etc.)
    Secondly and very importantly (for me anyway) it also provides an opportunity – upfront at the very start of the Member “journey/pilgrimage” experience – to give solid expression to the concept of owner-membership i.e. the £1 buys you a share in our Co-op*.
    Having struggled for many years to find a way of giving meaningful expression to the member owner proposition – particularly since CWS closed down the Member Shares & Loans function under pressure from the regulator concerned at the prospects for money laundering through those accounts – I was pleased to see the member share feature in the new recruitment/enrolment material.
    Perhaps the choice of words used in the recruitment material might be improved… as referring to the £1 being used to buy “a share” gives the impression one can “buy more than one share”?
    Perhaps, in that context and for the avoidance of doubt, the text string “a share” should be replaced with “your share” to align to the second co-op principle and the “equal voice” theme expressed therein.
    Does any of this persuade you into a different view on the £1?
    Regards
    Frank

    Like

    • june March 10, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Frank

      I understand and sympathise with what you are saying but how many of our members view their membership as a ‘pilgrimage’? It is my belief that members join for economic reasons. The poor voting figures at the AGM supports this view. If we limit membership to committed and driven co-operators then the target will never be achieved. However your answer does make me want an answer to the question ‘Why are we having a membership drive?’ – the cynic in me thinks it is to raise £1 million

      Like

      • Frank Nelson March 12, 2017 / 2:24 pm

        June
        Apologies for the use of the word “pilgrimage”…. it was (what I thought… obviously wrongly) a clever aside to that word being suggested at the Council Renewal session last Saturday where “pilgrimage” was offered as a replacement for “journey” in the context of the “shopper to engaged member journey”.
        ——–
        Regarding your second point…. while I agree that the major motivation for a shopper to become a member is economic (i.e. to get through to the 5%:1% they are, initially, willing to pay £1 and later register their personal details)… there are many subsequent steps that members can take to progress along the engaged membership journey/spectrum short of voting at an AGM. For example;
        a minority of members will opt in to receiving marketing/community messages (my preference would be they opt out not in)
        a reasonable proportion of members will regularly proffer their membership card for swiping (important that temporary card use is used at Point of Payment as a trigger for a conversation) and
        a smaller but still significant number of members will want to choose which local cause they want to receive their 1% (to accommodate the very many members without a PC, iPad or smartphone I cannot understand why choosing cannot be done by phone)
        Regarding your final point: based on all I’ve heard an seen at Council, Co-op Blogs etc., I’m very confident – personally – that recruiting 1m members in 2017 is motivated for commercial reasons (consumers who trade and then become members are more likely to trade with us more), co-operative reasons (the more members we have the stronger our co-op) and community reasons (the more members we have the deeper our relationship with the communities in which we trade) all of which make us a more successful and sustainable co-op.
        As for the £1 million proceeds raised… it is not being done to raise either revenue or capital.
        The £1s paid across by members joining in 2017 who then go on either not to register or register and do no further trade over a period of 3 years will, as signalled in the membership enrolment material, have their £1s shared with charitable causes.
        ——–
        Hope this helps?
        Frank

        Like

      • juniemo March 12, 2017 / 3:56 pm

        Thanks, Frank. I didn’t know the £1s were being shared with charitable causes and I am glad to hear this. Do we know which causes and when?
        June

        Like

      • Frank Nelson March 12, 2017 / 4:13 pm

        June
        I assume that decision will be made cSeptember 2020 in the run up to the Third Anniversary of the launch of the new membership scheme when the first unregistered and never active membership records will be deleted from the membership database/member register and their associated £1s distributed to good charitable causes.
        I expect the £1s held in respect of members on the register who are active will be treated in the same way as the £1s retained under the previous scheme and held alongside legacy loan and share capital*
        Regards
        Frank
        *Of which I think there is still c£25 held in my name since 1974 from my time as a member of Liverpool Co-op which merged with CRS in the early 80s which itself merged with CWS in 2000 to form tCG.

        Like

  6. juniemo March 13, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Frank, I think I may have misunderstood your reply. Presumably only the £1 not converted into membership is the money which will go to charity. Therefore if there are a million new members this becomes a £1 million of capital. My understanding is that this money can be used commercially and will be accounted as share capital. June

    Like

    • Frank Nelson March 13, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      June
      Yes… my understanding is
      “One pounds” collected from members who fail to register gets distributed to charity after 3 years.
      “One pounds” collected from members who register will be treated as capital.
      As my understanding is based on past practice….if you want certainty… send a question to the Council Secretary or ask Mike when we teleconference.
      Cheers
      Frank

      Like

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