Disney's Early Merchandise Access Program Could Influence Other Businesses, Too
Disney+ bet on subscribers using the platform directly to buy branded merchandise, integrating QR codes and in-app capabilities for customers to buy products relating to its intellectual properties and shows. This had been in the works for a while, but Disney tried an exclusive promotion for subscribers only, giving them early access to things, and it paid off.
The streaming platform wasn't the first to come up with this idea of in-app stores, with other social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram trying similar things, but Disney is getting the result it wanted, and might be proving to others that this sort of branded merchandise platform is not only sustainable, but preferable to a lot of customers and subscribers.
This week, Disney launched a test program where subscribers could access products like apparel and collectibles for "Black Panther," "Lightyear" and "Frozen" before others. The products already sold out, according to CNBC, including some of the big-ticket items like a pair of lightsabers costing around $400 a piece, and $50 dolls.
Disney+ Subscribers Will Get Early Access to Select Merchandise in U.S. Test https://t.co/9qOoIAJ9WT
— Variety (@Variety) November 1, 2022
""Special access to this curated collection of merchandise for the upcoming holiday season is the latest example of the many ways we experiment with how to improve the user experience on Disney+, which includes enhancing the benefits of being a subscriber," Disney+ president Alisa Bowen said in a statement to Reuters.
Given Disney's popularity worldwide, this doesn't come as a huge surprise, and might not mean that every streaming service will have the same results as a company so well-known and beloved by so many. But, it does still indicate that other companies can succeed with exclusive, member-only merchandise drops or early access, and that they'll want to get to those e-commerce stores directly from the app, rather than responding to an email or looking for a code on social media.
The concept could translate over to other businesses, like restaurants with rewards programs. A sushi chain just used a collaboration with Tetris to give members exclusive access to co-branded T-shirts. Things like incentive programs could create access to exclusive branded products that we know people want (just look at Whataburger for evidence).