After having received official approval from the Competition Commission on India (CCI) for the Walmart-Flipkart deal, Flipkart has finally launched its customer loyalty programme Flipkart Plus.
As Inc42 reported earlier, Flipkart was set to launch Flipkart Plus on August 15, on the occasion of Independence Day.
For the uninitiated, Flipkart Plus, is a no-fee membership programme. It will enable all Flipkart customers to earn ‘Plus Coins’ with each order, which can later be redeemed to avail of benefits across shopping, travel, and content on the platform.
Also, Flipkart marked the first anniversary of its Perfect Buy Store launched in August last year. In the latest company blog post that appeared on August 16, Flipkart also highlighted its Perfect Buy Store, as a one-stop shopping destination for big appliances, thereby helping it build a dominant position against its arch rivals in the industry.
Flipkart Plus: Company’s Second Bet On Loyalty Programmes
Earlier, in 2014, Flipkart had launched and then rolled back its loyalty programme due to lukewarm response, while its arch-rival Amazon continued to increase the customer base of its subscription-based Prime service, which offers fast and one-day delivery, among other benefits.
With Flipkart Plus, the Walmart backed company is again attempting to ace its rival Amazon’s Prime programme in the country.
At present Amazon Prime is offering benefits like fast and free delivery and other rewards for INR 499/ year. Most recently, Amazon India also announced its plans to leverage its hyperlocal app – Prime Now – in the top four Indian cities to offer ultra-fast two-hour deliveries to customers across categories, including smartphones and consumer electronics.
“At Flipkart, we deeply understand the Indian customer and solve for them meaningfully. This means that everything we do is not just limited to a particular section of the society but appeals to a wider audience. With that in mind, we have crafted Flipkart Plus as India’s most inclusive customer benefits programme and we’re extremely thrilled to launch it this Independence Day,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart in an earlier media statement.
Flipkart’s Another Bet: The Perfect Buy Store
Flipkart Perfect Buy Store was launched in August 2017, as a new online experience for customers buying big home appliances like TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and more.
It offers product descriptions to give comprehensive information and gives an in-depth look at all the specifications and key features. Moreover, it spotlights technology and tells how features are beneficial for the consumers.
Flipkart Perfect Buy even provides free installation and demo apart from delivering top-notch service at your home. Flipkart also offers next-day, damage-free delivery, and installation in 13 Indian cities for leading brands with Flipkart’s in-house service partner, Jeeves.
Another unique feature is the Experience video which helps users walk through the features of the store to improve familiarity.
Arindam Mukherjee, senior director- user experience & growth, said in the blog post, “Before we launched the Perfect Buy store, we tried to understand two things: On an offline platform, what does a salesman explain about a product to a customer. And what are the questions that customers are asking while buying these products. Our goal was to marry these two factors.”
Flipkart is further working to help consumers in getting rid of their old appliances and plans to expand its already existing exchange policy.
“Another thing we will focus on is since large appliances have a long purchase cycle, how do we ensure that a customer is engaged? Can we recommend better? We’d like to make sure that it is made clear to the users our convenience and affordability policies to keep them coming back and help them make the right decision,” added Arindam.
Payments, Grocery, And Sellers: The 3 Pillars Flipkart Is Focusing On
Flipkart has been looking to expand in the areas of payments, grocery, and online-selling even after failing to stand the competition in the online grocery market as it competes with BigBasket, Grofers, and Amazon Pantry.
Flipkart is planning to expand its online grocery arms Supermart in cities such as Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, and Pune, and is planning to invest $264 Mn in it in the coming years.
It has already invested over $184.1 Mn in its digital payments arm, PhonePe, which is currently expanding on both the online and offline fronts.
Taking note of the online selling, Flipkart has also reduced the commission rates on average selling price items such as laptop bags and mobile holders. It had earlier reduced its commission rates in March 2018 on items of fashion & books, and logistics fee.
After having received the green signal from CCI for the Walmart-Flipkart deal, Walmart is being expected to close the deal within a week or a fortnight at the most. It will have to approach the IT department for withholding tax determination under Section 197 of the IT Act, regarding the deal.