After fashion e-tailer Myntra’s shift to the app-only model, parent company Flipkart has also decided to go app-only from September, as reported by the Economic Times. The company’s chief product officer Punit Soni informed employees at a town hall meeting last week that Flipkart will operate with only a mobile app.
The company said, “India is gradually transitioning from a mobile-first to a mobile-only country. At Flipkart, we have been following a mobile-first approach and 70-75 per cent of our total traffic is already coming from our mobile app. We are constantly experimenting with various aspects of our service to create the best shopping experience for our users on our app. Meanwhile, we continue to offer both desktop as well as mobile options for our customers.”
This move by Flipkart to go app-only will help in saving the operational cost of running separate platforms and drive more consumers towards using smartphones for shopping.
Should Flipkart go the Myntra way?
In May, Myntra which was acquired by Flipkart, announced its transition to an app-only platform, marking the end of desktop and browser-based shopping. It seemed like a logical move for Myntra that had close to 95 per cent of its traffic coming through mobile devices, and over 70 per cent of sales via mobile. However, the company witnessed a 10 per cent decline in sales immediately after going app-only.
The app-only strategy saw mixed reactions from the industry. Some experts believed that it’s ahead of time and customers want to compare and buy fashion-related products which the app cannot cater to. Push notifications from the app can be intrusive at times and may force users to uninstall the app. Payment failure rates are significantly higher on the mobile because of the slow Internet speed. Low memory space in mobile phones due to several apps is also a major concern.
While, others believed that consumers give a lot of information on the app such as contact, location, etc. which can be used to deliver a personalised experience. The advantages for a customer can range from personalised offerings and discounts to quicker purchase options. However, the decision to go for an app-only model depends on the business model, customer outreach and the go-to-market strategy for any startup.
It might be a bold move for Flipkart, but the company truly believes in the rapid development of mobile-based commerce and aims to capture users’ lifestyle and context in a personalised manner.