Flipkart has launched a new loyalty programme called Flipkart Plus, which will be a no-fee programme allowing members to get free and quicker delivery, early access sales on the marketplace, and priority customer support. It will be a point-based programme, where customers will earn ‘plus coins’ with each order. With these points, they will be able to “unlock benefits across shopping, travel, and content”, the company said. It largely implies that with enough points, the users will be able to unlock subscription of its partners like Hotstar.

Note that this is not the first time Flipkart has launched a membership programme. Back in 2014, it had launched an annual subscription service called Flipkart First, and offered same day delivery, free shipping, 60-day replacement guarantee, apart from priority customer service. However, that didn’t take off; in an interview with Livemint, an executive of Flipkart’s said that it is different from the earlier initiative, and “like with every initiative, we have certain learnings.”

Other loyalty and subscription services

Flipkart is clearly trying to take on its rival Amazon’s Prime services, which offers a buffet of services — movie streaming, music streaming, priority delivery, exclusive deals, etc., at Rs 129 a month, or Rs 999 a year.

Besides the two e-commerce giants in India, other platforms and aggregators also offer a slate of membership and loyalty programmes to incentivise more user to join and remain on their platform, in an environment which is increasingly seeing more players and competition.

Food delivery space:  A day before , food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy launched its membership program ‘Swiggy SUPER’, with one-month and three-month subscription plans, costing between Rs 99 – Rs 149 per month. The programme will allow users to get unlimited free deliveries irrespective of the distance or time of day. In addition, the membership program will also offer benefits such as no surge fee and quicker issue resolution through a dedicated customer care team.

Swiggy’s rival Zomato also has a similar service in place, Zomato launched its loyalty reward points program Piggybank early in July for its food delivery segment. Piggybank allows users to earn and use points for ordering food via the platform. Zomato recently claimed that it crossed 200,000 member sign-ups within 48 hours of its launch. Besides this, for its restaurant listing business, Zomato also has its subcription–based service, Zomato Gold which offers 1+1 food and drinks at the time of dining.

Cab aggregators: Ola started selling its loyalty program Ola Select memberships in 2016, which offers features like no peak pricing at any time, priority booking, Prime cabs at Mini fares, free WiFi, priority support, airport lounge access, top drivers and cars, Ola events like concerts and matches and offers from brands it has partnered with. Uber too started a loyalty programme last year, however, it does not seem to be active currently.

Telco: Telcos like Jio also offer Prime memberships, under which it offers bouquet of services such as access to a digital content library, and exclusive sports content for Jio users on the JioTV streaming app, offers on music streaming, etc. Other telcos responded with similar offers to retain their users.