Flipkart is set to switch to an app-only platform this September. It’s a brave move, considering that all of Flipkart’s competitors have decided to stick to both the web and mobile app platforms for the time being. People from the industry are divided over the smartness of this move, with the majority saying it’s unnecessary. However, the facts seem to be smiling on Flipkart, who is likely to win big in the long-term.
Increase in mobile internet users
Earlier this year, the report, ‘Internet in India 2014‘, published jointly by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, confirmed what we already know: the number of mobile internet users in the country is rising every year.
As many as over 150 million people began using mobile internet in the last three years. That’s a staggering rate of growth for mobile internet users in India, and there’s no reason to believe that this number will dip.
This key finding aligns with Flipkart’s view of the future of mobile Internet in India.
“India is gradually transitioning from a mobile-first to a mobile-only country. At Flipkart, we have been following a mobile-first approach and 70-75% of our total traffic is already coming from our mobile app.”
Even when Flipkart decided to make Myntra an app-only platform, they knew what they were getting into. Because till then, the Myntra app alone had been accounting for 95% of their internet traffic and 70% of their sales.
These numbers clearly indicate that a large chunk of e-commerce shopping is happening over the mobile phone, not the PC or laptop.
Easy access to smartphones with internet
Feature-rich smartphones are way more affordable than PCs and laptops, making them the simplest way to access the internet. This allows anyone who can’t afford a PC or laptop to shop online using the mobile app.
Additionally, the subsequent generations are most likely to get exposed to the internet first through a smartphone, not a PC or laptop. That’s the kind of future we’re headed towards, and Flipkart is wisely making the switch well before that time’s here.
Personalized experience with a mobile app
Flipkart can significantly improve the shopping experience for its users by only operating through a mobile app. They could get in touch with their users via push notifications, to inform them on aspects like the availability of products, product recommendations based on searches, discounts and offers, billing history, product delivery tracking, and a lot more.
Since the users will stay logged into the app at all times, Flipkart will have a record of user behavior on the app. They can use this to provide personalized services to their users.
More money for new app features
Maintaining a website and, therefore, marketing themselves on the web requires heavy expenditure on the company’s part. Flipkart can cut down on these costs and instead use some of it to introduce innovative features that make shopping a smooth and personalized experience — a big draw, especially for an avid consumer.
Easy to make purchases on the mobile phone
E-commerce app data has shown that conversion rates on mobile phones are higher than on websites. People usually visit the website only as a means to discover new and interesting products and not necessarily to make a purchase. But those who use an app tend to look at various products and then make immediate purchases. So, with just an app, Flipkart’s sales could benefit greatly in this way.
Flipkart as a one-stop shop
We’ve all been there when shopping for things online — switching between multiple tabs, making product and price comparisons by looking at several e-commerce websites. With just an app, Flipkart would become a one-stop shop for its users. Anyone looking for a particular product on Flipkart will view different models before making a purchase decision. The habit of checking several different websites before buying a product will fade away.