Biggest Ecommerce Gamble Ever: Flipkart To Shut Down Website, Go Full Throttle on Mobile


Flipkart Mobile App

Although global ecommerce industry is relatively new, with few major players, this is something which no other major portal has ever done: Flipkart is going to shut down their desktop website and sell only via mobile apps.

Is this the biggest ever gamble which an upcoming ecommerce portal is taking a chance at?

Michael Adnani, who is the Vice-President of retail and Head of brand alliances at Flipkart said, “Last year, we had more on the app, but still did our web and desktop. In the next year or so, we’re going to be only mobile,”

Justifying their move, he further shared some traffic data on their portal: “A year ago, 6% of our traffic was coming from mobile. In less than 18 months, that traffic is 10-fold. That shows the significance of what a mobile phone is doing for the consumers and consequently doing for us”

Although he didn’t shared the exact number of transactions which happen on their mobile app, he shared that right now around 80 lakh transactions happen on their platform, out of which around 50 lakh or 2/3rd of all transactions originate from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Considering that almost 90% of this traffic comes from mobile, Adnani has tried hard to justify their decision of going full throttle on mobile app only mode of ecommerce business.

In the last few weeks, some major announcements in this direction has rattled the desktop users of these websites. Last month, Myntra and Flipkart, both ditched their mobile websites and forced the users to install their applications for purchasing any product.

And recently, Myntra decided to shut down their desktop website as well, and adapt to app-only platform from May 1st, 2015.

What Users Say?

Ecommerce users, atleast those who read this blog, are not happy at all. Checkout some of the reactions to this decision of shutting down mobile website and forcing app install:

Flipkart Mobile User CommentsFlipkart Mobile User Comments1Flipkart Mobile User Comments2Flipkart Mobile User Comments3Flipkart Mobile User Comments4Flipkart Mobile User Comments5

As you can read, besides terming this decision as ‘disgusting’ and ‘ridiculous’, users and shoppers are also asking whether Flipkart hasn’t enough money to run their desktop and mobile websites now?

Some of the major issues which have been shared by users related with this ‘autocratic’ and ‘dominating’ decision are:

  • Mobile apps can’t give that experience which desktop sites do, which includes ease of navigation and product display
  • What if the user decides to uninstall the application owning to low memory or slow speed? He or she won’t be able to shop any product?
  • Push notifications are irritating and several users uninstall the apps solely due to this reason
  • Several long time users of Internet are complaining that this decision seems like they are forcing them to download apps, and this is not going down well with them

Mobile usage is no doubt exploding at a phenomenal rate, which has even surprised the decision makers of telecom industry. But the user experience of a desktop version cannot be compared with that of mobile app. Being into digital marketing industry,

I have observed several instances when a user checks out the product on desktop version and then waits for discount or coupon. In case any such offers comes along, he purchases it via mobile app to save time. But it doesn’t mean that desktop version is now completely out of fashion.

As we had shared earlier, almost every major ecommerce portal in the world such as Alibaba, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Ebay, Overstock, BestBuy among others are maintaining their desktop, as well as mobile websites along with mobile app.

It seems that this decision by Flipkart and Myntra to shut down their websites and convert to app-only model is not going well with their fans and followers. Are they hurrying up with this decision? Shouldn’t they hear what their customers are saying?

Do share your views by commenting right here: Will you shop from Flipkart or Myntra after they shut down their websites?

  1. Pranay Kothari says

    This is really a stupid. It seems like they are paving way for other e-commerce giants like amazon. I really used to like the very well organized and beautiful website of flipkart which they are just going to dump now. I am atleast not going to buy from an app and similarly there are many who won’t. I just can’t understand that why are they closing it?
    1. Some says it prevents users from comparing. (So users won’t use it at all, ofcourse).
    2. Some says it will exploit vulnerabilities in mobile.
    3. Flipkart says 75% sales is from app (which is a big lie).
    There has to be something else which is being kept secret.

  2. Arvind S says

    What a dumb decision by Flipkart and Myntra.

    The day, Myntra stopped its websites, I have forgotten that there is any e-commerce company like myntra.
    Already mobile apps of Filpkart and Myntra are slower and sending unnecessary push messages which is really frustrating. Now on the top of that, they are shutting down their desktop websites. Its plain stupidity and dictatorship.

    I am pretty much sure that Amazon, Snapdeal and Jabong would be laughing at this stupid and dumb decision.

    No Mobile App can give the feel and look of desktop website. Mobile App is only good for transaction. But viewing the product, reviews, specifications and comparing it with other products, is best done on desktop website.

  3. Shad says

    Lost people really dictating in free world. I don’t understand their problem. One thing is very clear they don’t want us to compare they same product on other site. But it might be possible. Flipkart and Myntra want this to be shutdown. After all somebody else has invested on their company. They earned enough to take next move by letting old ship down. Conspiracy! I just take another point of view. Such people used to do such things. They are highly ambitious and highly immoral.

  4. Flora says

    Are they kidding? They’re already doing badly against other companies and now want to reduce their customer base even further by this ill-thought of move?? We’ve bought goods worth thousands from them… but I’m damned if I’m going to search for stuff on a small mobile screen app!! We’ve recently started buying from Snapdeal and Amazon as Flipkart’s prices seem to be significantly higher on every item we checked. I’m sure both Snapdeal and Amazon are laughing all the way to the bank. What a poor business decision from Flipkart and Myntra!

  5. Paul says

    A retailer should not dictate how the customers should do their purchase. It is such a ridiculous move. I wouldn’t mind spending more elsewhere to buy my product on my own terms rather than buying from flipkart who forces me to shop the way they want. I was really irritated when they were forcing to install app when I tried to access their mobile site from my tab. I later decided to shop from amazon :)

  6. Tasneem says

    I dont have an smart phone and i cannot shop at myntra.but i do have an desktop and if filipkart also stops its website then i will shop at amazon.Now iam shopping at jabong.

  7. saravana ssk says

    Installing an App just to buy a product online? does flipkart n myntra think that every consumer buys a product daily???? consumers purchase a product only when they need.. and not all consumers have “smart” phones. Wrong decision, probably the worst decision by the E-com giants. thank god we have few other players of E-com to hear from us.. GUI between desktop Vs Mobile App is greatly varied.. already smart phones dont come with gud battery backup either.. will usage such apps dont reduce the ‘life” of today’s smart phones ???

  8. Reggie Fernandes says

    The very reasons I did not install the App is listed in various posts here. I am sure Snapdeal and Shopclues and other E Com Sites are smiling at his dumb decision of FK. Tried to log on to the website from my PC today and could not. FRUSTRATI. Time to bid goodbye to FlipKart and now do GoodBuy from the other sites.

  9. Avinash says

    It can be a marketing stunt by flipkart.

  10. Rachel Gupta says

    Particularly I think that it is not just a gamble,it will lead them to shut down their company if they don’t make active their desktop and mobile site,because now the flipkart is not the daddy of Indian e-commerce ,amazon is here and it is already leaving no stone unturned to make better the user experience and plus it is trying its level best so that not even a single user goes away from their hands,so that it can increase it share of a sweat pie.By doing this havoc flipkart is surely going to lose its customers as no one will install an app just to browse a product ,and that too when amazon is giving way better deals than flipkart on mostly every product

  11. Sreekanth Yelicherla says

    The reason behind mobile apps is NOT just market share but to stop the customers from comparing prices. While you shop on an app, you can not compare the price of the product on other shopping sites. It is painful to open all the apps (when there are no websites) and compare. Also, copying the product title, opening a browser on mobile and then comparing the prices, this is all not possible if there are no websites. This must be the reason why the companies are providing incentives to customers by offering Rs. 50 discount for mobile purchases. If I have to buy a Tshirt under Men’s category and a price limit of Rs. 1000 there will be more than 500 products. And in my 4.3″ mobile, how much time it takes for me to browse through all. So, simply, if Myntra and Flipkart have no websites I don’t even care to waste my time and bandwidth but happily buy from other sites which offer websites like Amazon and Jabong. In fact, I don’t mind even paying Rs. 50 extra for convenience than by scrolling through the thousands of products and waste time on their mobile apps. As a user rightly said above, when you open a product on the app, you can not easily go back to the list, you can not compare side by side all the products. So, I’m sure this will prove suicidal over a period of time. I repeat, the reaso behind dumping websites is just to ensure there is no price comparisons!

  12. Ashok says

    I don’t know what non sense is this. Even worlds biggest players never did this. There are lots of ecommerce sites in India and everyone has mobile app, if everyone shut their site and ask people to buy from Mobile, think what happens to our mobile? This is bull shit.

    They should learn that even 10% of desktop customer are customer and service them.

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