Encapsulating value, convenience and privilege with higher customer retention and stakeholder return, multi-brand conglomerate loyalty programs are thriving in the here-and-now.

At the outset, it’s interesting to note that the potent value proposition of conglomerate loyalty is a direct outcome of the rampant digital transformation of all major retail conglomerates during the pandemic. Their businesses came together in offering their most valued customers better incentives on every purchase. According to the Global Worldpay (FIS), 80% of customers now favor signing up for programs that allow for point redemption across major retailers at once. Enabling rewards for different categories and brands under a singular sign-up, individual businesses made higher profits even as brand loyalty decreased. Moreover, the teaming up of complementary brands meant envisioning new customer engagement strategies that revived the conglomerate loyalty program like never before. 

Single hub, multi-brand loyalty for maximum value 

Customer satisfaction grew most with increasing cart size and order value across those brands, in particular,  that prioritized personalizing their communication through efficient CRM and analytics frameworks. They acted upon centralizing rich customer data towards a singular source of truth before setting up sophisticated tech stacks that could cater to customizing rewards. As a result, businesses within the conglomerate were able to better connect with customers who showed high affinity towards multiple brands, at once, over individual purchaseS. Thus, while brand loyalty suffered from consumers’ fickle-mindedness, conglomerate loyalty improved overall. In fact, with the growing preference for cutting down on retail expenditure in the aftermath of the lockdown’s spending reprioritization, this trend thereby became the most profitable for large corporations in 2022. 

This is only the beginning. It is expected that, over the next three years, conglomerate loyalty programs will redefine the CRM ecosystem by optimizing both topline and bottom line effectiveness for disparate business divisions at once. A good example of innovation powering growth within the conglomerate loyalty sphere is Wipro’s single hub loyalty program in their largest serviceable market, the Middle East. Designed in 2021, Wipro, the retail giant, successfully managed to bring all its businesses within one unique umbrella of rewards and recognition. They implemented the tech solution of automating personalized promotional campaign creation, execution, and management for a massive customer base of 100K+ generating a total annual revenue of ~$9 Bn in the region. Initially, their key challenge was that each business within the conglomerate ran its loyalty programs in silos, making them less impactful on the whole. Moreover, with no customer profiling, testing and optimization, the company was sending out confusing communication that saw a fair bit of duplication. 

Wipro’s decision to, then, orchestrate a common loyalty program completely changed the game in terms of unifying and optimizing their campaign strategies and budgets for all stakeholders involved. 

They deployed SAP Hybris and Oracle Eloqua to implement the centralized CRM framework that built loyalty up to 100% higher in terms of business impact. The biggest advantage of Wipro’s conglomerate loyalty program, however, is the reduction in real-time campaign setup and personalized content creation time from 24 to 2 hours. This is essentially what led to the program’s success and escalation to other markets this year. 

Redefining CRM through effective program management

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Streamlining CRM through messaging that avoids duplication in favor of serving unique customer needs is the high point of any well-designed conglomerate loyalty program. It ensures that varied demographic, as well as psychographic or behavioral attributes, are factored in while designing a common set of rewards and recognition for multiple brands. In doing so, the customer is reassured that her preferences are taken care of without having to opt for multiple different programs with their time-consuming sign-ups and monitoring of points earned over time. Effective program management is an essential part of this process for the conglomerate that spontaneously fulfills customer expectations as they change. The data sources that, therefore, merged into one from across brands to make sure that customer profiles get richer.

Thailand’s Central Holding Group – a well-known conglomerate spread across merchandising, hospitality, restaurants and retail – facilitated a 1Card loyalty program. It allowed varied corporations under their investment to benefit equitably from reduced customer churn. Sales increased significantly by 20% for the Group, as nearly 7.2Mn customers were able to redeem coupons and discount codes across many brands at once. 

One-to-one marketing communication was the winning CRM strategy as high-paying, high-value customers were delighted by personalized offers they could not resist over time. 

The accumulation of points from across services acts as a lever with which to entice buyers in the long haul with birthday messages and refer a friend add-ons. The flexibility of, then, significantly lowering the overall purchase amount for many different products through high points redemption is one that is sustainable to build equity. Moreover, Central Group’s 1Card members receive rewards after every purchase that they could use on the very next one, increasing affinity for the brands. A great user experience aided the conversions as is always the case with any successful conglomerate loyalty program. 

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Taking other markets by storm… 

Similarly in other major markets, conglomerates are launching unique loyalty programs tailored to the cultural and personal needs of their customers. In India, the landscape is reaching a mature stage with JIO, ABFRL and other leading groups investing heavily into singular programs for their diverse retail offerings. In Vietnam, Capillary Technologies came together with one of the largest investment groups to launch innovative new features for the nation’s largest and most successful coalition loyalty program that saw revenue growth of over 53% during COVID. This winning strategy is a breakthrough even for markets that are in a fairly nascent stage in their digital transformation journeys such as Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Single technology accelerators are at the very heart of ensuring that the customer experience offered by conglomerate loyalty programs optimizes omnichannel value for all parties involved. Ultimately, however, it is the customer that is benefitting the most from reaping the highest value rewards for everything that they desire from the conglomerate’s e-commerce offerings at one go. The ease of a single sign-up and the customization of rewards is the best, so far, in terms of multi-brand loyalty but the sky’s the limit for tech and marketing teams to come together in mapping the road ahead in 2022 and beyond.

Aditi Jindal
Writer, traveler, and a cold coffee addict, precisely in that order, Aditi Jindal is a storyteller. Whether it is slicing brands and their content marketing strategies or dabbling different genres of book writing; her keen interest in finding the unique idea for brands to deliver compelling stories keeps her on her toes.