In the 1980s, early 90s, when Bollywood filmmakers were accused of churning out B-grade, low quality soft-porn movies, then they justified their creations by telling that “This is what the audience wants”. The same time, cinema lovers screamed that if there is no other movie running in theaters, what options do they have? It was a kind of infinite loop which almost ruined our cinema industry.
Something similar is happening with Indian ecommerce companies and their role in promoting app downloads using ‘app-only’ sales festival.
Recently, at an event where MakeMyTrip marketing head and other dignitaries were present, they said that app-only route is not an option now but a necessity; as the “users are demanding it”. The users can say the same thing as cinema lovers said in 1980s: If the discounts are only available on app, then what options do they actually have?
MakeMyTrip’s App Only Festival
After Flipkart, India’s biggest travel portal MakeMyTrip has now launched an app-only shopping festival which started on October 27th, and will end of November 2nd. Termed as #AppFest, MakeMyTrip is offering cashbacks upto Rs 1500 on domestic flights and more.
As per reports, MakeMyTrip is expecting a 5x jump in total number of transactions and booking during this app-only festive sale; and 15x jump during the peak hours. They have already crossed 12 million downloads of their apps; and witnessed 1.2 million downloads in the month of September, 2015.
As per some sources, MakeMyTrip’s traffic from mobile apps has increased by 250-300% in the last year.
MakeMyTrip.com co-founder and CEO India Rajesh Magow said, “We strongly believe that the future of travel buying experience is on the ‘Mobile’ platform -the shift is already underway. We are strongly focused on strengthening our mobile technology,”.
App only traffic on MakeMyTrip was 20% in 2013; increased to 33% in 2014 and is expected to become 50% in 2015. In the statement, MakeMyTrip said that 25% of all domestic bookings and 50% of overall domestic hotel bookings on their platform happen on mobile.
But App Doesn’t Translate To Innovation
Having a mobile centric approach is good, but the way ecommerce portals are making it compulsory is actually alarming. Innovation in product, designing new interfaces, and new programs should be the focus, rather than forcing or luring customers into their app.
Out of 12 million app users, it would be really interesting to observe how many customers removed their app after availing an app-only discount or offer. The problem with apps is that, only a limited number of them can be accommodated in a smartphone, and if Flipkart, Myntra and MakeMyTrip forces the users to download and install their app, then it actually leave very little room for others.
But maybe the numbers are more important for our ecommerce portals, rather than convenience or a freedom of choice for customers.
When Flipkart and Myntra decided to ditch their mobile websites and forced users to download their apps, we had received hundreds of comments from our readers, who were dead against this new strategy of forceful decisions.
Myntra’s app only candies were ruthlessly rejected by those, who loved to compare and check their products on the desktop/laptop before ordering them. No wonder they still haven’t shared the actual loss in getting repeated orders after their decision to ditch desktop version.
Recently during Big Billion Sales, Amazon refused to follow the trend, and launched their own sales festival on both the platforms; and the results weren’t too disappointing for them. Their festival sales numbers have actually increased 4 times this year!
Thankfully, besides Amazon, Snapdeal and Jabong have also refused to follow the app-only route to force their customers into downloading their app; and in July this year, LocalOye decided to get back into desktop mode after loss in traffic from app-only decision.
Mobile app is a convenience; not a necessity. We hope that better sense prevails among Indian ecommerce portals, and they respect the choices and decisions of their customers. Maybe it’s time to think beyond valuations and ‘Unicorns’.
Do share your opinion on MakeMyTrip’s decision to launch app-only sales festival – Will you download their app just for a one time discount? Or download it, use the discount and then uninstall the app?"MakeMyTrip Jumps Into App-Only Bandwagon; Launches Exclusive Sale For App Users",