App-only, a strategy not compatible for eCommerce horizon in India

The Bengaluru-based online marketplace for fashion and casual lifestyle products, has now decided to re-launch its mobile website.
Myntra

Nine months were enough for Myntra to understand that app-only model is not feasible for an online fashion portal in the country, at least for now! The Bengaluru-based online marketplace for fashion and casual lifestyle products, has now decided to re-launch its mobile website and offer services to customers who don’t like having many apps in their phones.

Justifying the recent move to an extent, Ambarish Kenghe, Head of Products, Myntra said, “The company will stick to a mobile only strategy and has no plans to re-launch its desktop site.”

In May 2015, the Flipkart-owned firm decided to shut down its eCommerce website and chose to sell products only through its mobile apps. This move elicited a discussion within the eRetail industry creating a mCommerce scenario in the online space. This was for the first time an online marketplace with such large user-base ditched the regular marketplace model and chose app-only strategy.

“We are still focused on our mobile strategy and want to get the consumer experience right. They (consumers) will now have the option of buying on the mobile site but we will keep nudging the consumer to download the app,” Kenghe said.

The re-launch of Myntra.com is a result of the ongoing trend as today there are hundreds of shopping website with nice deals and discounts and consumers are averse towards downloading all these apps in their smartphone as it hampers phone’s memory. Also consumers from tier II and III cities of the country, prefer browsing a product online rather than downloading the app.

As of now, consumers who do not have Myntra’s mobile application were redirected to a link to download it in order to shop. This has dipped a high amount of customer traction as large chunk of people preferred not to download the app.

Myntra’s app-only strategy has always been a hotbed of debates in favour and also against the app only decision. Justifying the app-only move, Myntra earlier said that more than 90% of its internet traffic came from the app and 70% of its sales came through smartphones. However, the company never spoke on the comparison between traffic coming from its mobile site and the app.    

The decision of re-launching the mobile site comes soon after Myntra missed its target of achieving $1 billion annual gross merchandise value this financial year and has extended it for the next fiscal. 6 months after shutting down its website, the company saw a huge dip in its traffic and sales which boomerang the mobile site.

When asked if the launch of site-browse feature saw less mobile app downloads, Kenghe said, “But we had a bunch of consumers who took an extra step to download the app.”

The move clearly indicates that online shopaholics will not bluntly abandon shopping from their PCs or mobile sites. App-only strategy, keeping in mind country’s instable mobile network, is something the country is not yet ready for. With constant investor’s pressure to sum up their balance sheet and turn into profitability, Myntra is now leaving no stone unturned to pace up its journey towards being an ultimate online shopping destination of the country and with this re-launch the online portal can now expect some better numbers.

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