If you’re one of the 54 million Amazon Prime or 40 million Netflix members in the United States, then you probably like to get things really, really fast at an easy-to-swallow price. Members of Amazon’s membership program, Amazon Prime, can get most items delivered within 2 days and Netflix subscribers can watch available movies and TV shows instantly. According to Deloitte’s 2015 holiday survey, 96% of online shoppers consider same-day delivery to be fast while 82% consider 5- to 7-day shipping to be slow. For an e-commerce company like Amazon, speed is the biggest draw for its membership program.
Instant gratification has become the norm for companies in service industries, which tout speed very highly as the main benefit of their membership programs. While speed is an enticing member benefit for Amazon and Netflix, does it work for a company like JustAnswer?
A Look at Netflix
Netflix is synonymous with unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows for a flat-fee. But when Netflix first started, the movie rental business was driven by the likes of Blockbuster with strict due dates and late fees. In 2000, Netflix introduced its flat-fee membership program that included unlimited rentals with no due dates or late fees. It disrupted the whole movie rental industry.
In 2007, Netflix made speed the main attraction of its membership program by introducing instant streaming. Netflix subscribers could now watch available content instantly rather than wait for DVDs to come in the mail. Today, Netflix’s unlimited streaming model has become the norm for the online content space.
A Look at Amazon
Amazon Prime was started back in 2005 and offers free 1- and 2-day shipping for $99 per year. Prior to Amazon Prime, most online shoppers often expected their online purchases to arrive within 2-4 weeks. The success of Amazon Prime can be demonstrated by statistics from a survey by RBC Capital Markets: the number of Prime members grew from 25 percent in 2013 to 40 percent today; these members spend approximately 68 percent more than non-members; the longer they remain members, the more they spend.
To fulfill on its speed promise, Amazon obtained a patent for what they refer to as “anticipatory package shipping.” Using this new technology, the company could intelligently predict what the user is likely to buy next and ship it close to his home a long time before he or she actually make the purchase.
Would this work for JustAnswer?
Although JustAnswer does not offer streaming content like Netflix or deliver tangible goods like Amazon, speed is still a crucial advantage for the online professional Q&A site. When customers get faster responses from verified professionals on JustAnswer, they are more likely to be happy with their experience and return.
JustAnswer introduced its membership program in 2009 that gave members the ability to ask unlimited questions, similar to Netflix’s original membership program. In 2015, JustAnswer added the promise of under-30 minute response as one of the main member benefits; the Amazon membership model. With a membership program that includes both unlimited questions and fast responses, JustAnswer grew the number of members by 800% by the end of 2015.
According to a recent survey with JustAnswer members, 21% said that they became members because they can get their answers faster and 38% joined because they can ask multiple questions over time for a flat amount. Ally K., a member of JustAnswer, shares, “This site makes it easy for me to find any kind of doctor I need. It's fast, simple, and accurate. It saves time and money.”
And it’s not just members who are benefiting. Experts on JustAnswer are also seeing results from this growth: members rate their Experts positively at 20% higher than non-members; members ask 1.5x more questions than non-members; 23% of members are more likely than non-members to refer an Expert to friends and family; and members are much more likely to give a positive rating when they get a response within the first 10 minutes, as shown below. Dr. Rick, a Medical Expert on JustAnswer, agrees, “I do believe that members give positive ratings more often than non-members. I think they usually understand how the system works.”
Netflix, Amazon, and JustAnswer serve different consumer segments, but they satisfy the same instant gratification appetite with their membership programs. It’s no accident that the number of membership services has grown exponentially since the start of the 21st century. We’re now living in an instant gratification economy and consumers are ready to become members if they can get something really, really fast at an easy-to-swallow price.
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