How could you feel if you come to know that the place you have been shopping throughout the day, the addiction of shopping from the desktop is become the fashion in this tech savvy world, we do not want to go out searching for the goods in the marketplace as the market is come to our own doorstep and in India Flipkart has lions share in the online shopping business. Over the last few months, if there was any e-commerce website that was all in the headlines it was India’s biggest online retailer, Flipkart.com. Now, in what could be a shocking decision, reports have emerged that Flipkart is planning shut down its website in less than a year from now.
Well, before you draw any conclusions let me tell you that Flipkart is shutting down only its desktop website and will reportedly focus only on the mobile platform. Earlier, Myntra.com, now owned by Flipkart, shut down its desktop website and is only doing business on its mobile app. Now it looks like that Flipkart also now wants to implement something similar like that with Flipkart.com
“Last year, we had move on the app, but still did our web and desktop. In the next year or so, we’re going to be only mobile,” said Michael Adnani, vice-president, retail and head of brand alliances, Flipkart. “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,” he told to the media.
Surprisingly the India is one of the biggest market for the online retailers. The internet usage of India with an expected active users of 243 million users is 3rd largest in the world. Based on the studies of the market trends in India it is expected that around 80% of Indians will access internet through their smartphones. Hence, this could probably justify the strategic decision taken by Flipkart. With the whopping 8 million orders in a month of which majority of the traffic comes from small 3 tier cities. Flipkart’s plan towards moving to a app-only approach would find greater significance in places like these where the availability of desktop computers with broadband access is limited.
According to the information provided by Mr. Adnani to the media “Flipkart has more than 40 million registered users and has about 30,000 merchants selling over 20 million products on this platform.” Adnani said Myntra’s growth on the app was higher than that of Flipkart, which led the online fashion retailer to decide to shut down its website and move all operations to its app starting May 1. Flipkart had acquired Myntra last year for Rs 2,000 crore.
The decision of Flipkart to shut down its website and switch it on to App only platform has its significance as the app is easier to access compared to the desktop According to a Flipkart spokesperson, “The app has gained relevance because it allows the users to stay logged in all the time and also the shopping is quicker with faster checkouts as compared to the website.”
As one may have noticed over the last couple of months, Flipkart and Myntra both have announced lots of app-only discount sale days. This is clearly a move to test the waters and it seems like the numbers are talking. According to Prasad Kompalli, head of Myntra ecommerce platform, around 90% of traffic and 70% of orders on Myntra are from its mobile app. No wonder, Myntra is pondering migrating to a mobile app platform only. No such numbers were available for Flipkart.
While seamless shopping experience is one aspect of a mobile e-commerce app, the other advantage is saving on costs. Maintaining a website, advertising and reaching out to consumers on the web platform is a tedious process whereas on an app-platform, things are relatively more focused. Collecting relevant user data and targeted marketing is easier on the app than on the website according to people familiar with the matter. According to Kompalli, Myntra will be launching new innovations on the app in the future to make shopping a more seamless and personalized experience. He said that the rate at which Indian consumers are adopting shopping on the app, is faster than even the US and China.
Just like Flipkart its rivals Snapdeal and Amazon too have apps, but none of them have spoken about switching to an app only platform. It seems like Flipkart wants to make a start in that direction. Whether that will be a smart choice is anyone’s guess. At the moment, it seems too early for Flipkart to get rid of its website. As lot of users still access or shop on e-commerce websites only via the web platform. The reasons can range from slower data connectivity on phones to hesitation with using your debit card/credit card information on your mobile phone. Flipkart’s absence from the desktop may also give that share of the market to its rivals.