Online retailing giant Flipkart has launched an annual membership fee-based service for its customers.
Flipkart First is aimed at rewarding registered shoppers, which the company claims are about 18 million for the portal, as well as getting new ones on board.
With the USD 3 billion Indian e-commerce market poised to register double digit growth, analysts are of the view that companies are looking at innovative ways of not just adding new users from smaller parts of the country but also retaining existing shoppers.
"Our growth is, partly, due to our innovations. In the past few years, we have led the supply-chain innovation and today's launch is a part of this journey. We are also looking at those Internet users who hit e-commerce portals often to shop," Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal told PTI.
While the company did not disclose the subscription fee, it will offer the service free to 75,000 randomly selected customers for a period of three months.
Bansal, who is also the COO at Flipkart, said customers in India are maturing and looking at value over cost and such services will push the ecosystem to another level.
"We are the first in India to offer such a service. Members will be entitled to a host of exclusive benefits as well as priority service. They will always come first," he added.
The services include free shipping for all orders, free 'In-a-Day Guarantee Delivery', same day guarantee delivery at a discounted price, 60-day replacement policy, priority service from customer support and a host of other benefits to be added soon, Flipkart VP (Marketing) Ravi Vora said.
"If we look at online shopping in the last 12 months, about 16-20 million users have shopped online. Of this, while regular shoppers are about 20-30 per cent, the remaining are still experimenting with this medium," Vora added.