We’ve heard about Flipkart and Myntra’s move to go app only for a long time now. Over the past year, the thought behind an app only strategy has been weighed both from a business as well as consumer’s point of view.
Mostly, it is agreed that a business needs to be where consumers are. This seems to have been evident with the app exclusive sales that have happened during the festive season. While Flipkart decided to go app only, its competitor Amazon went with a mixed strategy between its website as well as app.
Sure the app only strategy cannot completely be ridiculed as having no basis, considering that a significantly high percentage of users are transacting via smartphones. While we have posed these questions in the past when Myntra decided to shut its website, what did stand out is the fact that a business was pushing its way on to consumers rather than give consumers the option to choose which platform suits them the best.
It turns out, Flipkart and Google are working together to create a new mobile optimised website that would aid smartphone users to continue shopping on the ecommerce platform without having to install an application. Moreover, users on platforms other than Android, or iOS could also transact via a mobile browser.
It appears that through the whole controversy around its app only strategy, Flipkart had lost out on an opportunity to convey to its user base that it really cared for its customers and would go the extra mile to ensure that they could continue to shop on the platform of their choice where they were most comfortable.
According to Recode, the launch of the Flipkart mobile site is also a win for Google. The rise of mobile apps effectively means the whole shopping experience is beyond the purview of Google’s search and advertising business which generates the most significant percentage of its revenue.
The Recode piece quotes Peeyush Ranjan, VP of Engineering at Flipkart who said that apps have the advantages of a cleaner interface and the advantage to stay offline. He added that despite these advantages, one significant challenge is that most users access the service via low-end smartphones that aren’t updated regularly. In stark contrast, to stay updated on a browser, a user simply needs to hit Refresh!
What’s interesting is that the partnership between Flipkart and Google to create Flipkart Lite has begun after ex-Googler Ranjan took over as the VP of Engineering at Flipkart.
We believe this move is a positive step and indicates that sense has finally prevailed at Flipkart. For consumers, this also indicates that shopping won’t necessarily mean installing another app, but could be a matter of choice between an app or the good old browser.