Casual users of Flipkart’s website could be forgiven for not noticing the e-commerce giant’s loyalty programme. To be fair, the programme, Flipkart Plus, is given prime real estate—appearing just below the company logo. However, it’s easy to miss given the array of categories and products that occupy the vast majority of the screen and draw eyeballs more readily.

Despite this discrepancy, Flipkart is more bullish than ever about the programme and its importance to the platform moving forward. During Walmart’s earnings call in February, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy announced that 2021 would be a big year for Flipkart Plus. It was even mentioned ahead of groceries—a category that has gained prominence since Walmart’s acquisition of the platform in 2018, and which the company is pushing heavily this year.

Flipkart Plus, which is a very uniquely local loyalty programme, is one very big priority. Second, grocery as a category is something where we want to strengthen our value proposition, especially partnering with the roughly million kirana partners we already have in our ecosystem,” said Krishnamurthy.

The import with which Flipkart views the programme has only grown since the introduction of Amazon Prime, its arch-rival’s own loyalty offering. An annual subscription, Prime offers customers free and fast shipping as well as access to Amazon’s multimedia streaming services. In addition, Prime users also gain early access to Amazon’s annual flagship sale, Prime Day. As of August 2020, Prime was estimated to have 10 million users in the country. According to a report from data research firm Kalagato, on average an Amazon customer orders 30% more frequently than a Flipkart customer in 2020.

Unlike a Prime subscription, though, one doesn’t simply buy Flipkart Plus. Instead, it is an earned loyalty programme. Every Rs 100 ($1.3) spent on Flipkart earns users two Supercoins—the central element of the scheme. Once you accumulate 200 Supercoins, you qualify as a Plus member, availing Prime-like benefits. “You earn more Supercoins as you make more purchases, and then it would be redeemable to get more discounts and so on,” explained a former Flipkart executive. Supercoins can even be redeemed at a number of offline partners—including apparel brands like Woodlands and Allen Solly—across the country.

Flipkart Plus has undergone many iterations over the years. In its current avatar, the company told The Ken that the programme has racked up 20 million Plus customers—twice the Prime user base—and these members account for 30% of its monthly active user base. According to the company, Plus members transact 5X more and spend 7X more than the rest of the user base. With a billion Supercoins issued each month, Flipkart believes that Plus is one of the most successful loyalty programmes in the country.

Apart from keeping Amazon in check, Plus is key to dispelling the perception that Flipkart is more of a bargain-hunting platform, attracting users for one-off deals rather than repeat purchases.

AUTHOR

Pranav Balakrishnan

Pranav writes about the business of moving people and things around, i.e, mobility and e-commerce. Over the past two years, he has written about Ola, Tesla, Flipkart, Amazon, and the increasing role played by Reliance Industries in the Indian technology story. Pranav joined The Ken from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, specialising in business journalism.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?

MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500

Subscribe
MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20

Subscribe

Questions?

What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at support@the-ken.com detailing the error or queries.