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Are Private Digital Sales The Future of Customer Experience Bliss?

A recent Forbes article explored this and last year’s challenges pertaining to inventory stock levels and availability. In case you forgot, last year and the previous year offered tough times for retailers, as the pandemic increased the time it takes to get products from overseas, thus providing a below-average customer experience for folks looking to purchase products either in-store or digitally.  

This issue isn’t going anywhere, and that is exactly what the article explores. Retailers are making holiday purchases now for later this year. While this sounds good in theory, it still presents potential issues for retailers and their customers. 

Where will retailers and their suppliers hold all this extra inventory? Will the inventory they order be enough for the holiday season or will they run out? What happens if retailers don’t sell all this inventory?  

While these are all important questions to ask, there is no authentic way to predict what will happen later this year. But I believe that retailers that adopt this into their commerce strategy could improve their inventory forecasting and profitability:   

Introduce exclusive sales through digitally-enabled experiences.  

Now I know you might be thinking, “There’s no way this will work!” or “I have a hard enough time competing on price, so why would my customer base pay more for private sales when they could receive it elsewhere without paying extra?” 

Well, digital retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart have already proved that these exclusive clubs work. Amazon Prime and Wal-Mart Plus both have significant members who are paying extra out-of-pocket costs to have access to additional benefits and delivery services.  

So, now that we know customers are willing to pay extra, let’s explore three key areas where offering private membership clubs will benefit your business and your customers.  

Guaranteed Early Access
If you can guarantee customers will have access to high-demand products through private sales, then you can bet they will pay extra to ensure they have access to their desired product. Creating additional value by giving them first access provides incentive and a sense of urgency to purchase with your brand rather than a competitor.  

Higher Profitability
Customers almost expect to pay extra if you give them early access to special products and services. With fees and new charges to access these private sales, you’ll be able to increase revenue to your bottom line and generate new revenue streams for customers. You also can charge more for the products you are offering early access to. After all, it is an exclusive sale that your customers are lucky to join. 

Perks, Perks, and Perks
Look to offer more than just access to this private sale with additional value add-ons and services. Is your business leveraging an order management system (OMS)? If so, offer flexible delivery options for your customers, such as home delivery, curbside, in-store, and same day. If you want to reward your customers for their loyalty, then give them cashback dollars to use on future purchases with your brand. All of these may seem small, but they help keep customers coming back and create tangible value you’ll need for them to continue to subscribe to your private sale.  

But wait, what happens if you’re sitting on a ton of inventory that hasn’t sold after all of this? Well, that is where a marketplace model may come in – but that topic is for a different blog.  

Invest in Your Customers’ Experience 

Jeff Bezos once said, “We want Prime to be such a good value you’d be irresponsible not to be a member.” As you look to add value and create exceptional customer experiences for your customers this year and holiday season, you might want to add some exclusivity and early access to your business model. Not only will it increase your profitability, but it will also help your customers feel inspired to keep coming back to purchase repeatedly.  

For any other questions on investing in your business’s customer experience when it comes to your digital sales, then contact our commerce experts today.


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Justin Racine

Justin Racine is a Director and Lead Strategist with Perficient, and he works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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