Three months after the initial announcement, the tutoring-giant-turned-livestream-retailer Oriental Selection has launched paid membership costing 199 RMB (27 USD) each year on its app.
Members will enjoy 12% off on Oriental Selection’s own brand items, monthly vouchers and a 66 RMB (9 USD) coupon on joining. With other exclusive rights, the company estimates a paid member can save up to 12,000 RMB (1640 USD) per year.
The move is often described as Oriental Selection trying to become the ‘Sam’s Club of livestream’. Sam’s Club is an American members-only warehouse club chain. One of the reasons is that like Sam’s Club, the Oriental Selection membership fee is higher than those of Taobao or JD.com, enabling the company to target those who are less price-sensitive. However, the retailer does promise to partially refund the membership fee to members who save less than 199 RMB a year.
Oriental Selection specialises in farm produce and food, but also branches out to apparel, skincare and books. Since last year, the company has been building 20 warehouses and a sausage factory, to bolster its own-brand production and distribution. After launching its own app in July, Oriental Selection expanded their ecommerce presence from exclusively on Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, and joined both Taobao and WeChat mini program platforms.
The opening of paid membership comes soon after Oriental Selection’s record-breaking first Taobao livestream in late August, grossing 175 million RMB (24 million USD). In fact, there was a considerable decline in viewership after the inaugural Taobao livestream, dropping from over 10 million on August 29th to just 4.87 million on the 4th September. Starting the membership plans now is a way for Oriental Selection to secure customers and boost sales in face of a slumping audience number.