Flipkart Embraces App-Only Mode; Will Stop Selling Via Website From September Onwards
It’s finally, official now.Flipkart is ditching their website and embracing app-only shopping experience for their customers.
Flipkart’s Chief Product Office Punit Soni, in a recent meeting with employees, declared that from September onwards, Flipkart will only sell via mobile app and their website would stop functioning.
This marks a historical moment in the nascent Indian ecommerce industry, considering that no other ecommerce player anywhere in the world has previously done this. After Flipkart acquired Myntra, they enforced this app-only mode after closing down Myntra’s website. Apprehensions were rife that Flipkart will also adapt a similar model, but how soon, nobody was aware.
With this announcement, Ecommerce veterans are wondering if this decision can be the Waterloo moment for Flipkart?
In a statement, Flipkart 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% of our total traffic is already coming from our mobile app.”
Major competitors of Flipkart: Amazon, Snapdeal and Ebay would be closely watching this development. Just last month, Amazon India had overtaken Flipkart to become the most visited ecommerce site in India.
All major ecommerce players including Amazon, Snapdeal, Ebay, Jabong and more have repeatedly assured that they have no plans to enforce app-only diktat on their customers. As per them, customers should have the right to choose the platform on which they wish to make the purchase.
While comparing traffic from mobile and website, it seems Flipkart had ignored the fact that majority of price comparison and product research happens on a website as its time consuming and tedious to do so on a mobile app.
Further, the action to ‘make payment’ for a product on an app is only the last step in the whole chain of ecommerce buying process; in case the price sensitive Indian customer is not able to do a research for the product specifications and the pros and cons of the product, then it can become really difficult to make the purchasing decision.
We had even shared some comments received from Flipkart and Myntra’s customers, wherein they have expressed their anger and frustration on this decision.
Even the Industry experts in opine that this may not be a right move. Kunal Shah, Founder and CEO of Freecharge questioned the App-Only strategy in his Facebook status update (without naming Flipkart):
Interestingly, Myntra reported a decline in 10% of sales immediately after they went mobile only earlier this year; despite the fact that prior to shutting down their website, they had reported 90% of traffic and 70% of sales from mobile.
As of now, Flipkart registers 10 million hits a day from 45 million registered users. This year, they plan to double their GMV to $8 billion. But using only a mobile app only mode, will they be able to achieve this?
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