As the world’s center of retail growth and innovation, Dubai’s conglomerate loyalty landscape is developing in a robust manner across sectors. Rethinking the post-pandemic customer experience altogether – large corporations with multiple brands are luxuriantly rewarding existing customers to, ultimately, include them within the conglomerates’ ecosystem. By highlighting real value for customers over mere discounts, conglomerate loyalty programs in the MENA region, at large, are crafted to meet the changing customer expectations. They are determined by selecting the right technology partner to enable digital transformation, before activating loyalty programs that reduce acquisition costs and increase footfalls through a seamless shopping experience.

A key feature of a conglomerate loyalty program is that it enables transferable rewards for multiple brands across the different services offered by the corporation, at once, under a singular program.

Let’s look at some of the emerging insights that are redefining conglomerate loyalty in Dubai:

1. Redeeming Points Across Brands at Participating Stores

Al Tayer Group’s loyalty program Amber enables this at ease. Shopping at any participating Amber store enables earning Amber points which can be redeemed on one’s most loved brands. This purchase can be made both in-store and online, if the retailer owns an e-commerce storefront.

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Making every experience unique with its sophisticated capabilities and resources, Amber has successfully refined customer experiences by enabling customers to shape their own rewards. Classic cardholders earn 1 Point on every AED1 spent. Accumulated points can be redeemed while shopping at participating outlets after 10,000 Amber Points. The card is free to apply for and there your membership upgrades from Classic to Select to Plus the more points you accumulate. Points expire only two years from the date of purchase. The points you earn depend on the type of purchase you make within the Al Tayer Group in the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain and whether you are a Classic, Select or Plus cardholder.

The same concept is adopted by Wafi Group’s Malls where across varied stores the points earned can be gathered for long-term loyalty towards Wafi retail outlets all over the country. Frequency points get added if more purchases are made at selected stores that favor higher spending.

2. Claiming Automatic Cashbacks

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The same principle of redeem-across-stores applies to Landmark Group’s highly popular program Shukran Rewards, with the key difference being the option of availing instant cashbacks. When you shop at any of Landmark Group’s UAE or even GCC outlets, points can be exchanged for cash and there are absolutely charges for membership or renewal. This program is truly rewarding as it builds on the promise of instant gratification over delayed rewards. Customers need a minimum of 500 Shukrahn points to redeem them, and it is equivalent to AED25. The amount earned varies depending on where the customer shops. An AED2000 purchase at Babyshop, for example, will earn 2000 Points, while the same at Fun City gives him double or 400 Points.

3. Personalized Coupons with Attractive Discounts

Online grocery shopping became one of the most essential D2C activations at scale during the pandemic. The French multinational corporation – the world’s eighth-largest retailer – Carrefour basically offers all things fresh and wholesome for the kitchen at their retail stores/supermarket. They became extremely popular during lockdowns for hyperlocal delivery when people were cooking more than ever. The Carrefour rewards ecosystem MyCLUB was, then,  initiated to make the essential shopping experience as gratifying as possible. Upon earning just 500 points through in-store or online purchase, an AED50 Carrefour loyalty voucher can be earned and the membership for a card is absolutely free. Bonus points can be collected for free food and a total of 4 vouchers can be utilized at one time. 

carrefour-rewards-conglomerate-loyalty-dubaiWhat’s notable is that the loyalty card tracks personal shopping preferences and offers personalized discounts accordingly that don’t expire, and this keeps the shopping experience as flexible as possible for consumers.

A similar program is offered by Union Coop – the largest consumer cooperative in the UAE as it operates 23 branches and four malls (Al Barsha Mall, Etihad Mall, Al Warqa City Mall and Al Barsha South). As part of their Tamayaz program, one point is earned for every AED1 spent. On accumulating 3,000 points, only cardholders get a personalized AED50 voucher, which can be used against a shopping bill. This can be used against the next purchase in stores and at the brand’s web store. While having a card is mandatory, it is absolutely free and offers great benefits over time. Vouchers are customized to offer instant discounts on selected products as well.

4. Exchanging Air Miles for Other Services

Whether for flights or accommodation, Air Miles offers transferable rewards based on the miles earned through online purchase. Customers can earn up to 3 Air Miles for just AED1. This is a card-based program wherein the spends can be in conjunction further with HSBC to earn additional points. Other partners include  Spinneys, Sharaf DG, Damas, Chilli’s, African and Eastern, and others. While booking flights is a key function of the card, the benefits are utilized while shopping at all partner outlets and online. This long-standing rewards program is global, but sees the highest popularity in the UAE. It was created by Sir Keith Mills, and began in the UK in November 1988. British Loyalty Management Group (LMG) operated it first, and later licensed the rights to other operators. LMG was later acquired by Canadian firm Groupe Aeroplan, now Aimia, which retains the Air Miles name and logo internationally. Aimia is the majority stakeholder in the Air Miles program in Dubai which is run by its subsidiary called Rewards Management Middle East.  

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5. Rewards as Experiential Treasures 

Time Out Dubai’s City Card loyalty program is aimed at unlocking experiential marvels across traveling, dining as well as hotel accommodation. Customers don’t earn points on this card, they just have to look for recent discounts and receive them by simply showing their cards. Anyone can register and the City Card is absolutely free with discounts available at all times for the aforementioned experiences to be as unique as possible. For this, the partner retailers are chosen with the experiential objective in mind across restaurants, shops, leisure activities and luxury hotels. The idea is to ensure that customers are enjoying the Dubai experience, at large, while utilizing the discounts offered by the advertisers. These partnerships are beneficial to both parties involved equally.

Dubai is, therefore, taking necessary steps to encourage shopping experiences like no other. Loyalty programs are driven by sophistication and the desire for a constant upgrade. Customers are ultimately looking for high quality over quantity and will pay more for benefits that are designed for comfort and maximum luxury. This is what defines the culture in the country, for there are high expectations that are held from brands that need to deliver on their promises.

Anupama Basu
Passionate about evolving marketing technologies, Anupama is a seasoned professional by day and writer by night. She has worked for the world's leading brands in the advertising and marketing industry for a while now, and won recognition for her projects. She hopes to deepen her sense of purpose by always offering the most relevant insights to her readers.