Myntra has announced to its customers that the website is shutting down from May 15 and will move to an app-only mode. In an email to its customers, Myntra wrote, “This May 15th, 2015, Myntra is taking the first step towards the future of fashion shopping – we move on from the desktop to being exclusively available on the App. We believe fashion is a very personal experience. Your sense of style, the brands you wear, the trends you choose to follow are unique to you. What inspires you to Look Good changes and evolves every day. The best fashion experience therefore, is a truly personalised and engaging one that is only possible through the device that is closest to you. A device that understands you – your mobile.”
Flipkart, which owns Myntra, has also indicated that it plans to move to an app-only mode. Senior Flipkart executive Michael Adani was quoted by the Economic Times as saying, “Last year, we had more on the app, but still did our Web and desktop. In the next year or so, we’re going to be only mobile.” Adani added that the sites mobile traffic had increased “10-fold” in the last 18 months and this tremendous growth had prompted this ‘mobile-only’ shift.
Flipkart has already shut down the mobile site. Searching for Flipkart on mobile browsers now redirects users to the respective app stores (Apple App Store or Google Play Store) in case they don’t have the app on their device.
According to an earlier Mint report, Myntra already generates more than “90 per cent of its traffic and 70 per cent of its orders from its mobile app”, which explains the logic behind the move. Where the Myntra app is concerned, on Google Play Store it has around 5 million to 10 million installs which is a fairly high number. The reviews of the app are also fairly positive with the app getting an average rating of 4.0.
But Myntra and Flipkart’s app-only move comes with its own risks and caveats. While India is the third largest smartphone market in the world after China and the United States and mobile Internet being touted as the next thing, Internet speeds are still a matter of concern.
Mobile Internet speeds matter the most when making monetary transactions on smartphones and apps. As a recent Ericsson report showcased in India a lot of users still do not see much difference between 2G and 3G speeds. The report titled, “The Changing Mobile Broadband Landscape” had noted that 48 percent of users do not see any difference between 2G and 3G speeds. With many users still finding 3G and mobile data too expensive, Myntra and other app-only sites risk losing customers who are not on data-heavy plans.
Additionally making payments on a slow internet connection can be a task and errors like ‘Page time-out’ are not what impatient shoppers might be keen on seeing. Also with shopping websites, one of the most important factors is how the images look on the app. On a low-resolution device, users might not always get a sense of what the product really looks like.
While technical issues will be raised, e-commerce websites should take heart from the Ericsson study which also notes that 58 percent of users who were surveyed and were currently not using e-commerce services on their smartphones, stated that they would start doing so in the next 6 months. In such a scenario, Flipkart and Myntra’s app only strategy appears to be the right one and it could just pay off.