Intense competition, reduction in profit margins, and the wave of digitization have posed challenges for the brands to win loyal customers. The struggle of maintaining this streak for any brand is more critical than getting first-time shoppers. Price fluctuations always make a difference in customers’ shopping patterns, but loyal customers make their way to the brands regardless of price differences. More than profits, loyal customers contribute to the branding. That’s why, maintaining customer relationships are crucial for brands. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit & economic slowdown had brands think about ways to sustain long-term customer relationships. With the evolved customer preferences now, they more likely want to be valued rather than just rewarded. For this reason, businesses are turning more aggressive in their approach to relationship management strategies driven by range of loyalty programs. In this blog, you will learn about the need for Indian businesses to redesign their loyalty programs & the best practices of some of the known brands in India. 

Why do Indian businesses need to revive their loyalty programs? 

When Indian businesses constantly struggle with their competitors, now is the time to shift from traditional loyalty strategies to digitized ones. Customer preferences have evolved as they rely on emotions for their decisions. With advanced technology solutions, they need to build a better connection with customers by empathizing with them, educating them, and standing for core business values.  

Indian customers are less likely brand fans & more an experimental lot in terms of shopping. When you want to strengthen your customer relationships in India, you need to widen the scope of your loyalty programs. An ecosystem loyalty approach can give you more reach and help you enhance your overall customer experience. There’s no single success mantra for gaining loyal customers for all the brands. Hence, here we will be sharing the best practices adapted by successful loyalty programs in India. 

Best Practices of Popular Indian Loyalty Programs 

1. Subscription Loyalty Program 

Subscription loyalty program - Amazon Prime & Swiggy

Often known as paid, premium, or subscription loyalty programs, this reward system involves a one-time/recurring payment from customers to acclaim member benefits. And the two loyalty programs that stand out here are: 

  • Amazon Prime – Amazon already has a huge fanbase of its shoppers & users of Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s been just 5 years to Amazon Prime’s launch in India, then too it’s second market leader with its 22.3 million subscribers in 2022. 
      • By subscribing to Amazon Prime monthly, quarterly or annually, users can unlock the benefits of expedited deliveries, unlock advanced eligibility to discount deals 24-48 hours prior, can do unlimited video streaming, check award-winning Amazon originals, stream TV shows, enjoy music, & download Kindle ebooks for free.   
      • The joy of receiving orders same day, or just within 24 hours is one of the crucial prime benefits that customers cherish.
      • After its video streaming & free music services, we believe there is hardly anyone untouched from Amazon Prime membership, especially post-pandemic. 
  • Swiggy One – Swiggy’s one membership loyalty program – Swiggy One unlocks plenty of benefits like unlimited free deliveries, discounts at restaurants, access to Swiggy Genie & meat shops, and Swiggy Instamart across 500 locations
    • Profile of Swiggy Super membership users was automatically upgraded to Swiggy One & other members of Swiggy’s previous loyalty programs can opt for upgrade distinctly. 
    • Swiggy One is definitely a best bet for younger population living in rental accommodation or often order groceries & food online. Those who are in dilemma can subscribe with quarterly plan & upgrade to annual membership later. 

2. Experiential Loyalty Program 

Experiential Loyalty Program - Club Vistara

Make your customers feel delighted offering them memorable experiences. Make them crave for such once-in-a-lifetime movements with experiential loyalty rewards. Hospitality & wellness businesses can count on such loyalty program strategies. 

  • Club Vistara: It is India’s fastest rewarding Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) which follows the tier model. The more you fly, the more you unlock elite tier benefits & claim experiential rewards. 
    • Club Vistara has 4 tiers – Base, Silver, Gold, Platinum based on your score of CV points. Club Vistara members earn Tier Points and CV Points per INR 100 as per their tier status on the base fare of Vistara flights.
    • Flyers can earn CV points traveling with Vistara’s airline partners & shopping from their non-airline partners. They can get access to Vistara’s lounge before boarding on flights, opt for free/discounted car rentals. 
    • With elite tiers, flyers can claim for flight privileges, fee waivers, airport privileges, partner privileges, & get complimentary vouchers. They can do point transfers within family or to their referrals. 
    • Flyers can book for their accommodations, visit to some exotic places, plan their journeys, and get the best dine-in experiences with Vistara’s partners. 

Likewise, your brand can enrich customer experiences by creating lifetime memories with them. 

3. Value-based Loyalty Program

Value-based loyalty program - Shiksha by P&G

Integrate human values to your brand and build a deeper connect with your customers. Your loyalty program can support to a global or local cause & that exhibits your brand’s initiatives for social responsibility. Such loyalty programs intensifies your company’s values, ethics & associate emotional inclination of customers to your brand. 

  • Shiksha: The success of a CSR initiative by P&G ensures that earning loyal customers is not mere points earning. It focuses on the mission of spreading education in India with meagre yet accumulated donation of its customers. 
    • This global philanthropic program was started with the motto of Live, Learn, and Thrive. Since its inception, it has accumulated for the noble cause of making education accessible with the donation of INR 22 crores. 
    • Shiksha has an e-store on Amazon, through which customers can shop P&G products and support such global & social causes.
    • Such programs gives you & your customers ownership of helping in the social causes. Also, it clarifies you don’t need huge contributions to make a difference. 

4. Coalition Loyalty Program 

Coalition Loyalty Program

Due to the popularity of ecosystem loyalty programs, brands are partnering with other businesses to extend reward options for customers. It will help you build new relationships & prosper further your customer base. 

  • PAYBACK – It is a multi-brand loyalty program that lets customers earn points shopping for daily activities like shopping, payments, grocery, fuel, & more. 
    • Whether shopping online or in-store, customers can earn PAYBACK points for their spending. Like 4 points for every 100Rs spent on shopping from online stores & 2 points for every 200 Rs spent while shopping from Future Group formats like Brand Factory, Central, etc. 
    • Customers can review products or publications & earn PAYBACK rewards for non-transaction behaviors as well. 
    • Multi-brand earnings fasten the chances of point accumulation. Further, shoppers can redeem these points to claim discounts or avail offers when shopping next time across any of the brands.

 

5. Ecosystem Loyalty Program

Ecosystem Loyalty Programs - Tata Neu, SBI Card

With increasing disposable income & shift in lifestyle preferences, individuals are looking for premium experiences. To succeed, brands are partnering with other brands regardless of their domains to offer dynamic & personalized experiences to customers. 

  • Tata Neu – A superapp from the Tata group has several trusted brands (Tata CLIQ, Westside, Croma, Bigbasket, AirAsia India, Tata 1mg, IHCL, Qmin etc.) of Tata group integrated into the single app. It offers exclusive privileges & benefits to its users across categories. 
    • From lifestyle to grocery order & travel to luxurious stays, enjoy cross-category shopping experiences. Earn 1 NeuCoin every spends worth ₹1 on Tata Neu App & use it to claim other rewards. 
    • Tata Neu allows lets you to manage your financials like personal loans & credit lines. You can multiply your wealth with Tata Capital, opt for custom insurance plans, pay bills, & link your bank accounts for easy payment using Tata Pay UPI. 
    • For unique privileges on Tata brands, Tata Neu is soon launching a subscriber program by which members can get a minimum of 5% additional NeuCoins on every purchase over the app. 
  • Nature’s Basket SBI Card – Extending its foray of services, SBI in March 2022 partnered with Nature’s Basket – a premium grocery store brand. 
    • Customers can use their new SBI card to earn upto 20 reward points on every Rs 200 spent at Nature’s basket stores, and 10 points for every Rs 100 spent on dining, movies, & international travel. 
    • Users can unlock complimentary benefits with BookMyShow movie tickets, welcome gift vouchers, access to higher tiers of Nature’s Basket loyalty program, get Taj gift vouchers, etc. 
    • Additionally, they can opt for online doctor consultations, gift deliveries, and flower deliveries at discounted rates. 
    • With the exclusive benefits, the SBI card is likely to get more loyal customers in the longer run. 

Several banks, airlines & even hoteliers are relying on ecosystem loyalty programs for premium customer experiences. 

Your go-to Mantra to shape your loyalty program for the Indian market 

There is only one rule that can make your customer loyalty program a success – knowing your customers and timely evaluating customer journeys. 

Customer loyalty programs have been ruling in India since 1995. However, with changing customer demographics loyalty programs are also evolving. Analyze the success of your loyalty programs & upgrade them as per changing customer preferences. If you want to dive deeper,  connect with our experts today and know how you can deploy one for your business. 

Aprajeeta Singh
Writer by profession & an artist by passion. Aprajeeta spends most of her days writing the tales of brands and those of her imagination. In odd hours you find her reading literature & diving deeper into ecommerce sciences. Art fuels her creativity & she adores experimenting with it.