Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce platform, has decided to postpone its plans to shut down its website and go app-only from September, as reported previously. It is yet to assess how the move is going to affect sales in categories such as large appliances and furniture. Major sellers in such categories have voiced their doubts about the feasibility of the move.
According to a company insider, there is a possibility of Flipkart going app-only on a later date, but as of now, the plan has been put on hold and is unlikely to take effect from September. "We are constantly experimenting with various aspects of our service to create the best shopping experience for our users on our app. Meanwhile, we continue to offer both desktop as well as mobile option for our customers”, a company spokesperson said.
According to Flipkart, mobile app users account for 70-75% of their net traffic, due to the fact that a majority of Indians access the internet through their smartphones. After Myntra went the app-only way in May this year despite customers requesting otherwise, Flipkart, its parent company, was mulling a similar step. Among other things, smartphone apps allow companies to personalise the user experience by gathering data about individual usage patterns and browsing history.
Flipkart’s app-only move is primarily being hindered by the reservations that sellers of high-value goods have about the implications that going app-only will have on their sales. Unlike Myntra, a considerable sales volume of Flipkart is driven by large appliances and furnitures. According to sellers, consumers prefer to do some research before placing their orders in such categories. Some products are also better viewed on a large screen. “Going app-only will affect people browsing from office as well as price or value comparison”, said Sujayath Ali, CEO of app-based fashion retailer Voonik. Many are of the opinion that such a move will take away a choice of customers. Popular search engines are generally unable to index mobile app data, which takes away a customer’s option of comparing prices across e-commerce platforms.
Many have voiced their displeasure when reports first emerged that Flipkart had decided to shut their website down and go app-only from September. As of now, the Flipkart website seems to have survived.