I'm talking about using a membership to help lower overall prices of your products - which members are buying. Has this ever been applied online? Does it work?
Amazon Prime, Netflix, Pandora - while the last two are different, they are applicable. WalMart tried an Amazon Prime-type program called ShippingPass and killed it fairly quickly.
Thrive Market uses that exact model and has done very well.
Amazon Prime works just fine.
It's been tried before with jet.com. Their original model was to be the costco of online world. They had to eventually drop their membership fees. Boxed.com operates in this space, but again no membership fees.
There are companies that sells stuff online based on a monthly subscriber business model so even though it's not the same as Costco you do have to sign up as a member first.