Online retailing giant Flipkart has launched Flipkart First, an annual fee-based service for its customers, aimed at rewarding registered member-shoppers.
According to the company, it has 18 million shoppers, even as it is adding new ones.
With the $3-billion Indian e-commerce market on track to achieve double-digit growth, analysts take the view that companies were looking at innovative ways of not just adding new users from smaller parts of the country but also retaining existing shoppers.
Flipkart co-founder and COO Binny Bansal told PTI that the company's growth was, partly, due to its innovations. He added, in the past few years, the company had led the supply-chain innovation and the launch today was a part of this journey.
He added, the company was also looking at those internet users who hit e-commerce portals often to shop.
While the subscription fee was not disclosed by the company, it would offer the service free to 75,000 randomly selected customers for a three-months period.
According to Bansal, customers in India were maturing and looking at value over cost and such services would push the ecosystem to another level.
He added, the company was the first in the country to offer a service of the kind.
According to the e-commerce giant, the Flipkart First annual subscription service would offer customers unlimited access to In-a-Day Guarantee delivery; free standard delivery with no minimum purchase price; Same-day Guaranteed delivery at a discounted price, and a bonus 60-day replacement guarantee, rather than the usual 30-day period.
Also, the Flipkart First annual subscription service would offer customers' access to priority customer service with minimal waiting period.
As against this, the Amazon prime service offered customers in the US a free two-day shipping on orders with no minimum order size. It also offered access to unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video (available in US) and also offered free books every month via Kindle First and the Kindle owners' lending library.
Amazon Prime annual subscription service was being offered for $99 (Rs 6,000 approximately) for one year.
Flipkart as a promotional offer was giving 75,000 customers, who will be selected randomly on 20 May, a free 3-month subscription to the service.
According to the official Flipkart First page, the benefits on the annual subscription were only applicable for purchases from WS Retail, as of now.