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LocalOye ditches app only model, resumes some services on desktop

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Services marketplace LocalOye, which went mobile only back in April, seems to have changed its mind and is available on desktop again. The company had previously said that around half of its 20,000 customers came from the mobile app, although it did not advertise the app. However, it looks like the startup underestimated the influence web/desktop users had on its traffic, and has now reinstated its desktop website.

Interestingly, the roll out isn’t a complete roll out as such. Not all services that are bookable via its app can be booked on the website. As of now, the website offers 13 services, including AC repair, fridge repair, pest control, tiffin services, beauty at home etc., while the app features an additional 30 services. The app also lets users track a hired expert’s status in real time, support via chat, and check an expert’s detailed profiles.

Note that, when we spoke with LocalOye the last time, the company mentioned that 28% of its mobile users were recurring customers, while only 8% of its desktop website customers were recurring. It pointed out then that the user experience on the app was also better, as it would enable features like chat for users and calendering and invoicing for merchants. Given the change of heart, we asked LocalOye about why it decided to return to desktop, and will update the post as we hear back.

MediaNama’s take: As we have pointed out before, when Myntra went app only, web based channels of promotion largely end up being about customer acquisition for each transaction. Unless users signup and login (not something users actually like doing), there’s really no means of reaching out to them, and driving repeat usage.

With an app only approach, much of the communication involves driving app installs, which could potentially lead to many transactions, and hence potentially reduce the cost per transaction. With the user always signed in, companies can personalize promotions because they have access to the user’s location, and more importantly, their phone book.

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However, there are risks to taking such an approach, because the number of apps that people keep on their mobile is limited, given that the space available for handsets, and the way the cache tends to fill up, is also limited. There is a significant propensity to uninstall apps. While the smartphone penetration in India is increasing rapidly, as is the mobile Internet penetration, majority of the devices are still low end and with limited space.

Operating out of Bangalore, LocalOye claims to offer services in over 250 categories, including education (e.g. tutors), home services (e.g. appliance repairs), wellness (e.g. yoga, fitness) and events (e.g. photographers) etc. In April the platform had raised $5 million in a series A round of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management. The company had said then it would use the funds to scale its business to other cities including Bangalore, Delhi NCR and Noida and expand to more service categories.

Also read: The Switch To Mobile

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