Tuesday 25 August 2015

Flipkart has put its ‘app-only’ dreams on hold! Know why

Flipkart, the eCommerce portal biggie, which was planning to go 'app only' from September this year, has now put its plans on hold. As per a report published in Economic Times, the move came because the company is yet to assess the impact this move will have on sales in big-ticket categories like large appliances and furniture.

According to company insiders, "Major sellers who retail white goods, electronics and large appliances are not convinced about the move. Flipkart might pick up the project (to go app-only) soon but as of now things have been stalled and September looks unlikely."

We haven't received any conformation from the company on this front yet. When an email was sent to company's Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, who leads the firm's 'Project Shaw' initiative to go mobile-first, to seek some clarification, he opted to stay mum on the queries.

The company is constantly experimenting with various aspects of their services to create the best shopping experience for users on their app, and will continue to offer both desktop as well as mobile options, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Flipkart's mobile app accounts for 70-75% of the total traffic. Besides the fact that a majority of Indians use smartphones to access the Internet, eCommerce players push mobile applications because apps provide more data on each user, and hence, allow firms to personalize user experiences based on interests and requirements gathered from users' buying and browsing history.

The sellers of high-value goods on Flipkart also seemed dubious on the company's move to go app-only. According to industry insiders and sellers, such a move would cripple auser's ability to research products effectively before deciding to buy.

"Some categories are better viewed on a bigger screen," said Sujayath Ali, CEO and cofounder of mobile app based fashion retailer Voonik. "Also, going app-only will affect people browsing from office as well as price or value comparison," he said. 

Flipkart-owned fashion retailer Myntra went app-only in May. Nearly 95% of Myntra's traffic and 70% of its sales were already coming from mobile by then. Bansal, who founded Myntra, was not available for comment. Ali of Voonik said the market is much larger for mobile than desktop and it's growing faster.

According to Internet & Mobile Association of India and KPMG, India is projected to have 236 million mobile Internet users by 2016.

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