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Boundless loyalty

Boundless loyalty
India continues to be the magnet and springboard for global businesses with the second half of 2016 witnessing numerous ventures coming up alongside local ones in capturing the minds and consumer advantage of the world’s second biggest, over one-billion-strong population. Canada-based Aimia Inc., recently launched an E-commerce loyalty program in India that is expected to benefit over 50 million online and mobile shoppers in the country. Modelled on the online loyalty component of Nectar, the UK’s largest loyalty program, it enables shoppers to search, compare products and prices, and buy from a multitude of leading E-commerce portals including Flipkart, Amazon, ShopClues, Jabong, Snapdeal, while also acting like a rewarding shopping assistant, with shoppers earning Nectar loyalty points, rewards and special offers, every time they buy online. 

Aimia India, is part of Aimia Inc., a top global loyalty management company headquartered in Montreal, Canada and operating in over 20 countries with $2 billion in revenues. “With over $20 billion of ecommerce spend in India growing exponentially and global retail market to be $1.2 trillion by 2020 with 20 per cent yearly growth, we believe Nectar will revolutionise online and mobile shopping here, where Indians specially like entertainment and food, and 52 per cent look for digital offers,” Vikas Choudhury, Managing Director, Aimia India said. He also added that Aimia India partnered with Infosys to create an E-commerce platform for Nectar members in India. “We are putting loyalty at the heart of E-commerce in India where consumers are increasingly living around their mobile phones,” Jan-Pieter Lips, President, International Coalitions, Aimia, said while pointing out that the UK consumers saved their loyalty points for use during christmas, and Canadians chose to spend it on air travel. “Over half of the UK households have a Nectar card with more than £2 billion worth of rewards given back to them since the program’s launch 15 years ago. Nectar UK was launched as a program for physical stores before embracing online which now includes more than 500 retailers,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Italian cruising company Costa Cruises announced Mumbai Port as its “home port”, while showcasing its cruise liner ‘Costa neoClassica’ for weekly sailings from December 16, 2016 to March 18, 2017 from Mumbai to the Maldives via Goa, Cochin and Colombo. Highlighting Costa Cruises as the largest cruise company in the world with 15 ships in service and two next-generation cruise ships (powered by LNG) to be delivered in 2019 and 2021, Kelvin Wong, Vice-President of Costa Cruises, Asia (Commercial) said “Costa neoClassica” will be the very ‘first large cruise ship’ that cruises between Mumbai and the Maldives, while two other new ships will be delivered to us in 2019 and 2020 to be deployed in Asia.” The cruise line offered Italy’s finest cruise vacations through 137 different itineraries, 261 destinations and 60 embarkation ports, Wong said, adding that the company also supported Carnival Cruise lines and India – with its massive population – remained a key source of cruise tourism support for Costa Cruises.

Welcoming the Costa Cruises decision of ‘Home Porting’ its ‘Costa neoClassica’ ship in Mumbai port, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port, said this port has long been the “principal gateway” to India while playing a crucial role in sea trade and development of the national economy, trade and commerce, and prosperity of Mumbai city. Describing tourism as one of the “pivotal” sectors for both the Central and State Governments which had identified various sectors like adventure, medical, cruises as being the main attractions, Maharashtra Government’s Principal Tourism Secretary Valsa Nair Singh also highlighted Mumbai’s film industry with “Nothing sells like Bollywood for tourism.  You have a Bollywood song sequence shot aboard the ship and see your sales soar. One cruise liner did this and their sales shot up 400 per cent.”

Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (GSA of Costa Cruises, India) said the modern Indian traveller is now seeking a different kind of thrill and cruise holidays are now featuring on the Indian traveller’s  “must-experience” list. “The fact that Indians can now embark directly from Mumbai not only makes the process hassle-free and visa-free, but also saves costs and time for the travellers including MICE groups and even religious groups,” she said, adding that bookings had already begun with about 10,000 passengers confirmed – including a yoga group – on the ‘Costa neoClassica’ ship which is equipped with a casino, theatre, disco, ballroom, grand bar, pools, shopping centre and library, besides an outdoor jogging track and gym for its passengers.  

Axis Bank and Indian air carrier Vistara launched their co-branded Visa credit card in three variants – Infinite, Signature and Basic – while also being the first card offering complimentary Business Class to its top tier cardholders. Describing travel as a key spend category for credit cards, Rajiv Anand, Executive Director, Axis Bank, said “This card will help further strengthen our travel product suite as it addresses both business and leisure traveller segments. While this sector is witnessing significant growth and catalysing economic transformation in India, India’s airlines sector has the potential to become the third largest in the world by 2020 and also major part of the $250 billion global sector by 2025.”

Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, Vistara, said “This credit card will help accelerate our endeavour to provide premium services for loyal customers using our air network covering 18 India-wide destinations. We are attracting certain demographics – including lifestyle seekers – and want to become an international and domestic carrier with both long-haul and short-haul routes carrier. Easing 520 is welcome and we are working on our international plans to fructify with global routes that are within 3.5 hours of India with Delhi as our hub – from where our economy class is always 90 per cent full and is the highest such figure in this industry.”

Once known as the ordinary water tap, but today bearing a fancy name, ‘faucets’ have become a 
fashion globally – where the fabulously wealthy prefer gold bathroom fittings to bathe in – and one company from India has taken its product into global jewellery mode. Jaquar Group, which is headquartered in Manesar, Haryana and presently operating in over 30 countries including Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and Africa, brought in renowned international designer Michael Foley to design and then launched under its luxury Artize brand an exquisite designer faucet named ‘Tiaara’ – which resembles an extravagant jewellery with “echoing ovals of abstracting functionality into a simple act of elevating conventional usage into an exquisite experience.”

Succesful Indian loyalty programmes

  Future Group offers a mix of rewards to its loyalty programme customers that include free parking, a separate cash counter, free home delivery, no fee on exchange offers, premiere passes 
for films, etc.

  Shoppers Stop, one of the oldest retail brands in India, which began offering its popular First Citizen Loyalty Programme card to customers 18 years ago, has a total of 2.6 million members to vouch for its success.

  Other retailers like Lifestyle (the Inner Circle Loyalty Programme) and Reliance Retail also have loyalty programs offering discounts to customer on mass purchases.

  Jet Airways’ programme allowed for a unique ‘Dynamic Tier Review System’, which allowed customers to get benefits according to travel plans. An easy online system to earn miles even after the air travel was completed

  Maruti Suzuki Auto Card, launched in association with Citibank  and Indian Oil had 370,000 cardholders in October 2008

  Kingfisher Airlines FFP King Club had 2 million members in October 2010, offering rebates and discounts on ticket fares.

VOICES

"With over $20 billion of Ecommerce spending in India growing exponentially and global retail market to be $1.2 trillion by 2020 with 20 per cent yearly growth, Nectar will revolutionise online and mobile 
shopping in the country-  Vikas Choudhury, MD, Aimia India

"Costa neoClassica, offering Italy’s finest cruise vacations, will be the very “first large cruise ship” that cruises between Mumbai and the Maldives, while two other new ships will be delivered to us in 2019 and 2020 to be deployed in Asia- Kelvin Wong, VP, Costa Cruises - ASIA 

"Nothing sells like Bollywood for tourism in India. You have a Bollywood song sequence shot aboard the ship and see your sales soar. I remember that a cruise liner did this and their sales shot up by 400 per cent in a few days- Valsa Nair Singh, Principal - Tourism
 
 
Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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