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Flipkart takes certain items app only; the writing’s on the wall?

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It seems that Flipkart is accelerating its app only model; we’ve seen the signs but now it seems to have become a reality. The ecommerce giant, it appears, is making certain items on its platform available only on the app. The Flipkart website displays a message which states that “Some products on this page are available only on the Flipkart App. Open page in app”. (h/t: Shashikant Kore)

An NDTV report from July quoted Flipkart’s recently appointed chief product officer Punit Soni as stating that Flipkart would operate mobile app only from September. We’re not sure where the overall app only model is going, honestly. In May, Flipkart claimed that 95% of its traffic and 70% of its transactions were coming via mobile. 

Mobile web shut down
Early in March, Flipkart and Myntra shut down their mobile websites, redirecting users to the Google Play Store and iOS App Store to download the app. A part of its larger strategy to go app only, Myntra shut down its web-commerce completely and switched to the app only model sometime in May. Myntra was reportedly generating over 90% of its traffic and 70% of its orders from the mobile app.

Is it too early?
At Myntra’s app only event in May, Sachin Bansal, co-Founder & CEO of Flipkart had declined to comment on the impact on margins for going app only, saying it was too early to conclude how the margins would settle. We’d pointed out at the time that it is probably too early given the fact that the mobile internet penetration, coupled with low end devices and limited space are still considered as roadblocks in India, despite its growing smartphone penetration.

Sachin Bansal added that the mobile web experience wasn’t as good and that made their decision to switch from mobile web to app easier. He said that the overall bounce rates, user repeat rates and user satisfaction were bad on mobile web.

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Why the offline centres for product pick up?
Less than 3 weeks ago, Flipkart launched 20 centres across 10 cities in India, in conjunction with its logistics partner Ekart, where users could pick up their products from. Flipkart said that it ventured into supply chain because of delivery issues. It plans to offer value added services at these centres. We don’t know the reason behind this move or its investment in the retail centres.

Other players going app only:

– Late last month, online cab aggregator Ola claimed that it was going app only from this month across its 100 cities of operation. The app will reportedly allow users to save on their data usage and work even in areas of poor connectivity. Ola claimed that 99% of its bookings (over 95% in smaller cities) came through the app, as compared to 20% at the time of launch in 2011.

– In April, after raising $5 million in Series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management, services marketplace LocalOye said that it was going to go app only then. It said that 28% of its mobile users were recurring customers while only 8% of its desktop website users were recurring, and that half of its monthly customers came from mobile. However, this move backfired 4 months later, as it reinstated some of the services on desktop last month.

Also read: Another reason why you shouldn’t go app only

Our Flipkart coverage here.

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Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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