Flipkart has launched Ping, a service that will allow buyers to interact with each other while they are shopping. Shoppers can now share product images, wishlists, carts, and even chat with each other while they are shopping. The service is currently invite-only.
The basic idea behind the app is to add a dash of social networking to the whole concept of buying products online. Users will be able to discuss with their friends as they shop for products online. The service automatically adds your friends by accessing your phonebook, and when you invite a friend, they will receive an SMS. In case a friend doesn’t have the app, they will be asked to install the application if they wish to use it.
According to Punit Soni, Chief Product Officer at Flipkart, “Shopping in real life terms is a fun experience. But online shopping till now was an isolating experience which we are trying to change with this new chat feature.” He also said to the Economic Times, “Since 2007, we have seen a fundamental shift in the way users use internet. About 41 per cent of India's ecommerce happens on mobile. There are more people buying low cost android devices and when they buy that, messaging and buying are the prime things they do.”
Mr. Soni also said that Ping is designed from the ground up, and has been optimized for Indian audiences by taking into account slow networks and low-cost smartphones. The update will make the app size go up by about 2MB, and has been developed to consume less data and be more power efficient as well. It is also compatible with any smartphone running Android v2.1 and above. At the moment, Ping will only let users chat with their friends, but future versions will allow people to connect with sellers, customer service as well as other stakeholders along the e-commerce chain.
The service has been launched with an invite model, which means only those who have received an invite will be allowed to use the new service. Everyone who gets invited will get 10 more invites that they can share with their friends.