Much has been written about Myntra’s decision to become an app-only store from 15th May. The talks were on from quite some time, but many wondered will the fashion etailer actually take this big move. To everyone’s surprise, they did. And that too with great conviction. In one of the interviews, Myntra’s CEO Mukesh Bansal said with an air of confidence, “India is not just a mobile first country, but a mobile only country and every trend we noticed said this.”
Eyes on other ecommerce biggies
With drastic rise in smartphone users across the country, all big ecommerce players are tilting towards app centric strategy. Since it’s not only feasible money wise but ensures larger reach as rural or urban consumers now have smartphones & access to mobile internet.
But it’s only Myntra that has gone all out with app-only strategy. Rest of the etailers are still resorting to ‘app-also’ strategy. For now at least.
Flipkart inching closer to become app-only
In April, Flipkart had announced ‘we’re going to be only mobile’ in a year or so followed by Myntra. Since then there have been series of developments to strengthen their mobile presence, whether it was buying Adiquity, phasing out desktop ads or acquiring Appiterate. And latest on that front is: Flipkart is looking to acquire more mobile-centric companies so as to beat their competition and remain a dominant player.
Head of Flipkart’s commerce platform, Mukesh Bansal said, “Overall, we feel that the startup ecosystem is growing very rapidly and most innovation is on the mobile platform, so we are very actively looking at every opportunity for talent purposes.”
Jabong not in the mood to go app-only
Their competitor, Myntra is all set to make the switch but fashion etailer, Jabong is in no mood to follow the same path. Praveen Sinha, Jabong Co-founder said in an interview that they will continue to run their desktop site along with their mobile app. He said, “We strongly believe customers should have the choice to buy either on his smartphone or on the computer.” He also added that app-only platform comes with limitations in terms of price comparison and product visibility. Sounds wise and fair.
Jabong’s co-founder has a point. In the current scenario, apps are the future or focal point of ecommerce companies’ strategies. But shutting down desktop sites in not sensible. Customers should have the option to choose from all the available platforms as opposed to being forced to buy from only one. Shutting down mobile/desktop sites will only give rise to resistance from customers for being ‘forced’.
Gauging a product’s actual dimension has always been a challenge, especially in the absence of ‘touch and feel’ factor. It will be even more challenging on small screens of mobile phones, especially in case of large appliances, furniture & fashion products. Price & product comparison will be another crucial challenge on mobile as it easier to open multiple tabs on desktop and scroll through thousands of products. And what about bad mobile internet connectivity, lack of memory space and non-smartphone users? Will restricting freedom of shopping pay off?