This year, the iconic Kiwi programme Flybuys celebrates its 25th anniversary and the continued success of its long-standing business journey, attracting new members and offering new rewards along the way.
Interwoven into the fabric of New Zealand society, Flybuys has a special place in the heart of many Kiwis. With over 300 million Flybuys points redeemed every year, the programme has allowed countless New Zealanders to treat themselves to purchases they otherwise may have had to go without. In the past 12 months alone, a staggering 1.4 million items have been purchased through the Flybuys store, giving a massive $65 million worth of value back to members.
Loyalty New Zealand’s Chief Customer Officer, Bridget Lamont, acknowledges that consumer demands and expectations are constantly transforming, and their challenge is to ensure Flybuys reflects this.
“Adapting to rapidly changing trends, behaviours and interests have been vital to ensuring we’re continuously providing value to Kiwis – something we take immense pride in,” says Lamont.
“Following the relaunch of Flybuys last year, members now have the option to be rewarded in three different ways – either with Flybuys Points to spend at the Flybuys store, on New World Dollars which members can spend at New World supermarkets, or on Z & Caltex Fuel Discounts which can be used to save on fuel at Z or Caltex service stations throughout New Zealand.”
Nearly half a million New Zealanders have chosen their preferred Flybuys currency since the relaunch, and as a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of Kiwis being rewarded by Flybuys every month. As the business continues to evolve and shift with the times, it’s seen an incredible rise in younger members signing up – 40% of all members who have used Flybuys for the first time in the past 12 months are under 29 years old.
“This shifting demographic is, in part, thanks to the launch of Flybuys Extras earlier this year. Flybuys Extras provides members with access to discounts, bonus offers, and deals in categories such as domestic tourism, food and beverage and hospitality, and high street retail. This marks another evolution for Flybuys as members don’t have to use any of their hard-earned Flybuys points to reap the benefits of these sorts of rewards,” says Lamont.
“These combined transformations to the Flybuys programme have seen Flybuys continue to be seen as being woven into the fabric of Kiwi society,” continues Lamont. “Today we have almost three million members. To put this into perspective, that’s at least one Flybuys card in every single New Zealand household.”
Flybuys members are in it for the long haul, with half of all active accounts have been with the programme for 15 years or more.
This is something that Adam Posner, Sydney-based Customer Loyalty Specialist and CEO of The Point of Loyalty who commissioned the 2021 ‘For Love or Money 2021™ research study, attributes back to staying resilient and relevant while listening closely to members.
“A loyalty programme that has managed to evolve over 25 years and still remain meaningful and desirable to a changing member base is proof of its resilience and relevance. The voice of the member is perhaps the most powerful testimonial for a programme, with our research revealing that Flybuys members comment on how easy it is to engage with the programme, with more ways to earn rewards and the value Flybuys delivers,” says Posner.
“With the world in such constant flux, Flybuys continues to adapt the member experience and deliver more and more value to its members across all generational cohorts. It’s not surprising that it has been a part of Kiwi lives for so long and will continue to be for decades to come.”
Flybuys was first launched in September 1996 as a travel reward offering – inviting customers to ‘fly through their shopping’ with flights via Air New Zealand and Ansett. Two years later its reward catalogue grew to include movie passes, magazine subscriptions, CDs and cordless phones, providing more options for members.
As the Flybuys business model has evolved, so too has its consumer offering. Fast forward to today, and the Flybuys Store now has over 6,000 products that are regularly refreshed.
“The type of products Kiwi families redeem their points for has changed dramatically over the years,” says Lamont. “The late noughties [2000-2010] saw plenty of slow cookers and cordless phones, then came the mixers, toasters, and kettles.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, more recent years have seen the rise of technology such as Google Chromecasts, wearable fitness devices, Airpods and iPhones.
If the past 25 years are anything to go by, the future of the Flybuys is bright; with the introduction of more reward offerings, new digital capabilities, treats, deals and discounts from Flybuys Extras and a whole new generation of members, the business is poised to evolve into its next quarter-century of success.