Is Scale the Enemy of Greatness?

Editor’s Be aware: The creator is a part of the workforce at Strategic Caravan, a strategic advisory agency based mostly in Mumbai, India and specializing in buyer loyalty and profitability. Aparna is a member of the CLMP™ neighborhood and not too long ago hosted and took part within the Loyalty Academy™ public workshop in Bengaluru, India throughout August 2023. On this article, Aparna shares insights into the Indian loyalty market.

Is greater at all times higher with regards to loyalty applications, or might the pursuit of scale be the very factor that stifles their potential for greatness?

On this planet of enterprise, the idea of “larger is healthier” usually reigns supreme. Corporations try for fast development, expanded buyer bases, and bigger market shares. Whereas development and scale are actually important for achievement, there’s a vital caveat to remember the fact that strikes a stability in opposition to the “larger is healthier” thought. That’s – “Scale is the enemy of nice.”

On this article, we’ll discover the concept that in loyalty applications, chasing scale with out sustaining a give attention to high quality can undermine the very greatness that these applications are supposed to obtain.

The Essence of Loyalty Applications

Loyalty applications are designed to domesticate and keep robust relationships between companies and their clients. These applications incentivize repeat purchases, foster model loyalty, and create a way of belonging amongst clients. When executed successfully, loyalty applications can result in elevated buyer retention, greater spending, and constructive word-of-mouth advertising and marketing.

On the coronary heart of any nice loyalty program is the flexibility to supply customized, significant experiences to clients. The rewards and advantages ought to resonate with every particular person, creating a way of exclusivity and real appreciation. Nonetheless, the pursuit of scale can typically lead companies to lose sight of this significant ingredient.

In a rustic with a inhabitants of over a billion, India’s loyalty program panorama is nothing in need of colossal. From telecom giants to e-commerce powerhouses, loyalty applications have turn into an integral a part of the buyer expertise within the subcontinent. With hundreds of thousands of members and an ever-expanding array of advantages, these loyalty applications have reached a scale that’s nothing in need of astounding. Let us take a look at the dimensions of a number of the largest loyalty applications in India:

Tata Neu

Tata Neu is a comparatively new digital platform and app launched by the Tata Group in India. The platform goals to supply a unified interface for numerous companies and choices from Tata Group firms, which span a variety of industries, together with retail, telecommunications, finance, and extra. Tata Neu has 75 million members reflecting the huge buyer base of this platform.

Flipkart Plus

Flipkart, a number one e-commerce platform in India, launched its Flipkart Plus loyalty program. This program is reported to have 20 million members.

Airtel Thanks

Bharti Airtel, a outstanding telecom operator, launched its Airtel Thanks loyalty program. Airtel is considered one of India’s largest telecom firms, and its loyalty program has hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

The Pitfalls of Scaling Up Loyalty Applications

Whereas development is a pure objective, it may possibly turn into the enemy of greatness if not executed thoughtfully. Throughout the area of loyalty applications, the place high quality and buyer expertise are paramount, scaling up comes with its personal set of dangers and challenges that, if not navigated with care, can result in disillusioned clients and diminished returns.

  1. Dilution of Worth: As a loyalty program expands to accommodate a bigger buyer base, there is a danger that the worth of rewards and advantages could also be diluted. Generic gives or rewards that apply to a broad viewers might lack the private contact that makes loyalty applications nice.
  2. Generic Gives: When applications develop too giant, the flexibility to tailor rewards and experiences to particular person clients can turn into difficult. Personalization is among the cornerstones of an efficient loyalty program and, when it is compromised in favour of scale, this system’s effectiveness wanes.
  3. Overwhelming Buyer Service: A sudden inflow of recent members can pressure customer support assets. If assist turns into overburdened and response occasions lengthen, it may possibly result in a lower in total buyer satisfaction and engagement.
  4. Inconsistent High quality: Sustaining constant high quality throughout a large-scale loyalty program is usually a vital problem. Clients who’ve been with this system for some time might discover discrepancies of their experiences, resulting in dissatisfaction.
  5. Lack of Model Identification: A loyalty program ought to replicate and improve the model’s identification. When scale is the first objective, this system can turn into indifferent from the model’s core values and customer-centric focus, resulting in a lack of uniqueness and authenticity.

The trail to scaling up within the realm of loyalty applications is fraught with complexities, and even a number of the most recognizable names within the Indian market haven’t been immune to those challenges.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples within the Indian context:

Airtel’s Reward Program

Bharti Airtel confronted backlash when it launched its Airtel Thanks rewards program. Whereas this system aimed to reward clients with numerous advantages, together with streaming companies and reductions, many shoppers discovered it troublesome to redeem rewards resulting from complicated phrases and situations.

This system’s fast enlargement and sophisticated construction confused customers and resulted in a poor consumer expertise, which led to buyer dissatisfaction.

Paytm First

Paytm, a well-liked cell pockets and e-commerce platform in India, launched “Paytm First,” a loyalty program providing a spread of advantages resembling cashback on film tickets, flight bookings, and different companies.

Paytm First confronted criticism for sure restrictions on cashback redemption and a few customers felt that this system’s worth was not commensurate with the subscription charge. This system underwent changes to reinforce its worth proposition and tackle consumer considerations.

Reliance Digital’s My JioMart

Reliance Retail launched its loyalty program known as “My JioMart” for its on-line grocery and retail platform. This program was a part of the bigger Jio ecosystem. Whereas this system aimed to supply advantages to clients, it confronted points with buyer complaints concerning the unavailability of sure rewards and reductions. Clients reported difficulties in redeeming rewards. The fast enlargement of the JioMart platform might have contributed to those challenges.

In these circumstances, the frenzy to increase and purchase a big buyer base usually led to points associated to program high quality, buyer communication, and success of rewards. Corporations might have underestimated the significance of sustaining a excessive normal of service and communication with their clients during times of fast enlargement.

Balancing Scale and Greatness

Whereas it is essential for companies to realize scale of their loyalty applications, it mustn’t come on the expense of greatness. Listed here are some methods to strike a stability:

  1. Give attention to High quality: Prioritize the standard of the loyalty program over its sheer measurement. Be sure that the rewards and advantages proceed to be related and customized to the client.
  2. Tiering & Segmentation: Capacity to evolve with rising calls for and expectations, with extra tiers/advantages.
  3. Put money into Know-how: Leverage know-how and information analytics to take care of personalization as this system scales. Put money into analyses and perception to create extra related gives and experiences.
  4. Keep Consistency: Set up clear pointers and high quality management measures to make sure that this system maintains a constant degree of excellence because it grows.
  5. Common Analysis: Regularly assess this system’s efficiency and collect suggestions from clients. Use this info to make crucial changes to take care of or improve this system’s greatness.
  6. Talk Values: Be sure that the loyalty program displays the model’s core values and reinforces its identification. Clients ought to really feel that this system is an integral a part of their total model expertise.


Within the realm of loyalty applications, “scale is the enemy of nice” serves as a precious reminder that prioritizing measurement and fast enlargement mustn’t come on the expense of high quality and personalization. An incredible loyalty program delights clients, retains them engaged, and fosters a deep sense of loyalty.

When a loyalty program loses its private contact and turns into too targeted on development, it may possibly undermine the very objectives it was meant to realize. Placing a stability between scale and greatness is the important thing to constructing a loyalty program that stands the check of time and actually advantages each the enterprise and its loyal clients.

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