Exclusive: Flipkart begins testing loyalty programme Flipkart First at Rs 500

Flipkart

Online retail major Flipkart is testing a subscription-based loyalty programme Flipkart First. While searching Flipkart First on Google, Entrackr found the already-live Flipkart First page.

At first attempt, when tried to log in to avail the service, it took us through the OTP-based mobile verification process. However, when we tried to log in from other accounts, it didn’t proceed further.

According to the Flipkart First page, the loyalty programme includes free shipping (without minimum order cap), within a day delivery, discounted same day delivery and priority customer service. The company is charging Rs 500 (see screenshot) for a yearly subscription.

 

Earlier today, The ken has reported that Flipkart is in talks with MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow, Hotstar, Gaana and Ola for partnership. Flipkart First members will have access to Makemytrip’s DoubleBlack—a membership scheme which gives free cancellation on domestic flights and hotels.

The report added that the Bengaluru-based company is also engaged in preliminary discussion with food delivery platform Swiggy. The loyalty programme is also expected to give 50% discount on premium (ad-free) membership of Gaana and Hotstar.

Flipkart’s rival Amazon had launched its loyalty programme Amazon Prime in July last year. The one and a half years old service has received an overwhelming response from the customers. About one-third of its volume hail from subscribed customers.

This is the second coming for Flipkart First. In 2014, the company had introduced it to ensure faster delivery and offer attractive discounts. However, it didn’t work out and the Softbank-backed company had to shut down its loyalty programme.

Taking a leaf out of Amazon Prime, Flipkart had launched Flyte, a DRM free MP3 and e-book store in 2012. However, the company pulled the plug from Flyte as it failed to attract substantial users.

Flipkart-owned fashion retailer Myntra is also working to launch its own loyalty programme. Soon-to-be-launched loyalty programme will be Fashion-specific and different from existing programmes in the market.

Why is Flipkart launching loyalty programme?

Experts opine that gaining loyalty in e-commerce segment is really hard in India as people here care much about discount and deals.

When Amazon launched its loyalty programme last year, Flipkart executives believed that it won’t be successful as people were unlikely to pay for delivery, convenience, and premium content.

Nevertheless, Amazon proved it wrong. The company’s loyalty programme has become a choice for regular shoppers. At present, rough estimates suggest that Amazon has about 4 million Prime subscribers.

Flush with funds, Flipkart sees a good time to grow and build a base of loyal customers through Flipkart First. This year Flipkart has been laying emphasis on private labels and its recently announced brand Billion.

The online retailer eyes to snap-up high margin through a clutch of labels and in-house brand. It’s likely that Flipkart will push them through its loyalty programme.

Meanwhile, Flipkart is also building a ‘super app’ (by aggregating several services), based on WeChat model to boost customer loyalty while also monetising the huge volumes of customer data it has access to and adding channels of revenue.

Importantly, Flipkart wants to fuel usage of PhonePe’s wallet and it can be done by pushing loyal customers base to transact frequently through the upcoming super app and on platforms like MakMyTrip, Swiggy, BookMyShow and others.

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