The hyperlink which we’ve given for Myntra may not work on your desktop from May 1 as the online fashion retailer is looking to pivot to an app-only model and close its desktop website. The Economic Times reports citing sources said that the desktop website was supposed to be phased out during the year but has advanced its plans. Flipkart, which acquired Myntra in July 2014, may soon follow suit if the experiment goes well.
Note both Flipkart and Myntra have shut down their mobile websites and users are now redirected to Google’s Play Store and iOS’ App Store to download the application. However it is interesting to note that the mobile website is active on the Symbian operating system for older Nokias. MediaNama had reached out to Flipkart about the push to an app-only with the following questions then:
- What is Flipkart’s rationale behind this?
- Could we get a breakup of Flipkart’s mobile users? How many are on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Symbian and mobile web?
- Could we get a breakup of how much people are spending on the above operating systems?
- What has been Flipkart’s mobile application adoption since launch?
Flipkart later replied with the following response:
We are constantly experimenting with various aspects of our service to create the best shopping options and experience for our users. This initiative happens to be one such experiment.
Mint had reported that Myntra already generates more than 90% of its traffic and 70% of its orders from its mobile app. However, We Are Social’s report had some interesting statistics on desktop usage too and points out that almost 13% of the Indian population use PC/Laptops to research on eCommerce site, while 14% actually purchase via desktops/laptops.
We’ve already said that moving to an app-only model would limit a user’s ability to compare prices on other competitors websites: something that won’t go down well in a price-sensitive market such as India. The shift to an app-only model also has implications on search. As Karthik Srinivasan points out :
For example, if a user is going to use Siri, or its Android and Windows equivalents, I’m assuming they return results from respective search engines, right? If leading e-commerce stores hide behind their app gates, where does that leave them with search results? Or, is search not important for them at all and they want people to (!) only come to app with or without an intent and look up? That would be like me entering a mall (with multiple stores) with nothing specific in mind and start to window shop and end up buying something.
The sheer benefit of things going online is choice. Offline comes with its riders and constraints – in terms of space and cost. Online is seemingly endless. If online is going to force users to do things the shop’s way (“You can shop only from that store of ours; other stores won’t have stock”), aren’t we going back to replicating the offline constraints-loaded model online too.