December 14, 2015

Why Flipkart & Myntra Shutting down Mobile Websites & Moving towards App-Only Platform?

Internet users have been increasing rapidly with the increase of smartphone users in India. As the cost of owning a smartphone with 3G and 4G data options and free Wi-Fi access all around us is being diminishing drastically, most of the mobile users are completely depending on E-commerce websites to purchase any small item. Billions of people visit online in order to get best shopping experience by means of a smartphone which they carry in their pocket. This aspect of changing technology is becoming a great opportunity for the retail brands to expand their sales by customizing and personalizing the user experience.

Flipkart and Myntra - app-only platform

As we all know, Flipkart is India’s largest E-commerce firm and Myntra was merged with Flipkart so as to compete against other E-commerce websites like Amazon, Snapdeal, Ebay and offline retailers like Reliance, Aditya Birla Group, etc. Flipkart and Myntra have suspended their mobile websites and decided to embrace mobile app-only shopping platform. All their sales on desktop-based websites have entirely moved towards mobile app. Even, they are driving the customers to install the mobile application for doing online shopping. Let us find out the reason behind this move and is there any benefit for the companies or the customers with this change over?

Flipkart & Myntra – Forcing Visitors to Install Mobile App

Flipkart and its acquisition, Myntra are ditching their websites and embracing app-only shopping experience for their customers. Flipkart has mobile apps on all major platforms such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The visitors need to download an app in order to shop on its website. The app-only strategy let e-tailers create personalized shopping experiences for consumers through their location, preferences, and purchase patterns. This might not be possible to do to the same extent on the web.

Flipkart and Myntra - Mobile app platform

From the product’s brand point of view, it allows the brand to accumulate user-specific data like the span of browsing, recurring purchases, preferred platform, etc. Most of the companies are trying to build their own data analytics competencies to assist its customers in the best way and eventually supporting their own marketing functions. If you visit or Myntra from your browser, you will get a homepage on which these portals provides a link to their app prompting its customers to install the app.

Flipkart - Go to App

Push Notifications to Customers

Most of the E-commerce websites are preferring to send push notifications to its customers rather than sending E-mails. As there is a huge response from the consumers through push notifications compared to emails, all these portals are targeting users with push notifications. This not only enhanced the user response rates but also helps to improve the shopping experience for the customer.

Here is a great example of how Flipkart sends notifications and helps to personalize the shopping experience of the users. One day, I browsed Flipkart to purchase a branded bed sheet. But, I didn’t buy it at that point. The very next day, I got a notification as there is an amazing offer available on cotton bedsheets. But, I just ignored that notification.

Flipkart sends Push Notifications

Again, on the next day, another notification that says there are best sellers of bed sheet in New York. Even then, I didn’t visit the website to purchase a new bed sheet. Few days later, Flipkart sent me another notification with some recommendations in order to remind me about the purchase. This way, Flipkart is providing a chance to build customisation, personalisation and brand identity.

Reasons Behind Moving Towards App-Only Platform

Flipkart, Myntra and some of the giant E-commerce sites are moving towards app-only platform by ditching its websites. There are quite many reasons for this move towards the App-only platform. Here is the list of reasons for embracing app-only shopping experience for their customers. Have a look!

1. Personalize

With this drastic change towards the app-only platform, Flipkart, and other companies are aiming to provide better personalization options to its customers. They have a different view that a mobile app can bring an ability to personalize what a customer looks for once after opening the app. By tracking the customer’s preferences and the number of searches for a particular product and many more, the app provides relevant products, offers on desired categories bring up recommendations for the consumer for which they are likely to shop.

2. Push Notification

Notifications can remind the customers about their desire to purchase a particular product and alluring them with exclusive offers on various products. Obviously, Push notification is one of the main reasons to get more engagements to the website. If any customer is likely to get notified with latest offers, recommendations and exclusive deals on a website, they will definitely turn on notifications and expect to get something. It is not possible to carry a desktop or laptop every time.

push notifications

Mobile is a handy device which always remains in your pocket and that is the reason all the companies are aiming at the mobile users by sending push notifications to mobiles instead of sending Emails. Through this user can be notified about their product in the wishlist.

3. Data Mining

As we all know, Flipkart is the largest E-commerce site in India. Flipkart has targeted the smartphone users and that’s the reason behind this move towards the app-only platform. The absolute amount of data that Flipkart can get from its customers downloading its app is tremendous. They use the data for the customer segmentation like dividing the customers based on their preferences and locations. By this, they segregate the type of users and send recommendations and suggestions accordingly.

4. Engagement

With constant interaction with the consumers, the firm providing app acts as a powerful medium to show relevant products to the customers and thereby enhancing the engagement.

Engagements - Flipkart - Ebay

By mapping open rates, activity patterns and study interactions over time, the company gains the highest engagement that leads to the growth of the company. Whenever the brand of a company gets a place on the customer’s phone, it is pretty easy to rise exponentially.

5. Location

Usually, at the time of purchase, the user is asked to fill the address to deliver the purchased product. If the user is asked for permission to access their location, it will help the website to pre-fill the user addresses for delivery. It can also help you customise your notifications, for e.g. at 1 p.m. you can send a geo-targeted notification to everyone who is within a 5 mile radius of a particular McDonald’s informing them of a special lunch coupon code to be redeemed in-store. The app could also notify a user of the arrival of their delivery package and check the delivery boy’s location as well as share yours with him.

6. Offering Offline Functionality

Sometimes, it happens that people end up in dead spots with no internet connectivity. The app will be loaded on the customer’s phone so that he/she can add her items to cart and prepare an order. It provides the customer to Ping her to process the order and pay once their phone regains internet connectivity.

7. Language Packs

This app-only platform provides customer delight so the customer acquires an ability to use the app in their own language. Apps allow users to build language packs into their app so that they can use the app in a language that is native to them.

8. Automated Delivery

Suppose a customer frequently visits a website to purchase a household item, the provider will know how often the customer asks for the product. So, it takes a chance to automate the user orders, which is nothing but automated delivery. It can also notify or remind the customer about the purchase of that particular product. This way the E-commerce websites are providing benefits for the users.

Here ends the list of reasons for most of the E-Commerce companies to move towards the app-only platform by ditching its websites. By downloading these shopping apps, a user can get faster, seamless and personalised shopping experience.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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