Myntra, your one stop shop for all things fashionable, brings to you its blog ‘Freshly Mynted’. Get front row access to everything behind-the-scenes at Myntra. Read about the exciting things we’re planning and fun stuff we’re doing, from adding cool brands on our app to creating memories with people – Freshly Mynted off our press. In May 2014, Myntra merged with Flipkart to compete against Amazon which entered the Indian market in June 2013 and other established offline retailers like Future Group, Aditya Birla Group and Reliance Retail.
Myntra the Flipkart’s parent, the online fashion portal that went app-only this May, has re-launched its mobile site but without the ability to make purchases, for which customers still need the app. Popular categories like Shirts, Shoes, Dresses, Sarees and Bags are live on the mobile website, so that Myntra will add to the catalogues in these sections often.
Customers who type myntra.com/shirts can see the catalogue with different brands available on myntra, but to make the purchase of any product they need to open the app in mobile. The myntra’s spokesperson has refused to comment on any development or changes. The desktop website is just a banner page pointing to the app for any purchases.
Myntra’s “App u-turn” came soon after Flipkart, the parent company which too re-launched its own mobile website recently. It was reported that Flipkart planned to go the app-only route this year as well, as we know that.
Flipkart owned fashion e-tailer Myntra is re-launching its mobile website, six months after it went app-only. However, only parts of the mobile site were functional and a user could access only select product categories and unable to make any purchases on website, everything was set for App Only. But E-commerce giant Flipkart to have done a U-turn on its app-only strategy last month when it re-introduced its mobile website called Flipkart Lite.
It had discontinued its mobile website version in March. Flipkart had been mulling about adopting an app-only model and phasing out its desktop presence, unveiling mobile-only offers in a bid to nudge customers to download the mobile app.
As we all know Myntra had shut down its mobile website and gone app-only on May 15, betting high on the growth of mobile based m-commerce as the future of online shopping. At that point of time, Myntra accumulated 9 million people had downloaded Myntra app, and it was targeting five million more downloads in the next three to four months. Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Flipkart, had said that close to 95 per cent of traffic and 70 per cent of sales come through mobile devices. Mukesh Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Myntra Designs Pvt Ltd, which runs Myntra, had then said he would not expect to lose customers due to this shift in its sales strategy. “We expect our market share to go up in the next six months”, he had said.
But it was bit difficult; ET news reported a week later that Myntra saw a 10 per cent decline in sales after it went app-only, even though Myntra officials refuted/refused the claim.
But the fact is real; it appears that Myntra’s strategy of going app-only has backfired.
Overview of App-only Strategy
This strategy helps the e-commerce player to concentrate on building up the mobile ecosystem which is expected to see an avalanche of customers given increasing smartphone penetration. However, as entry-level smartphones offer limited storage space for apps, there is a tendency to uninstall apps which are not frequently used. More importantly, media reports say Google has revamped its search algorithm with a penalty on App Install Interstitial, and that could have played a part in Flipkart’s u-turn.
This strategy of Flipkart and Myntra had received mixed responses. Flipkart’s competitor Snapdeal had recently said that it will continue with mobile and desktop versions for the time-being. In an interview with TOI, Bahl said Myntra’s move to morph into an app-only player was the “dumbest” and the “most consumer-unfriendly idea”. Bahl added that 80 per cent of Snapdeal’s users said in a recent survey that they wanted the PC site to remain.
Myntra, which got acquired by Flipkart last year in a $370 million deal, competes with e-tailers such as Jabong, Koovs, Amazon and Snapdeal.
App-only strategy comes with its own risks. At the point of time when Myntra shut down its desktop site, we had seen the outraged customers and many users said they will stop buying too. For many users with small screens or mobile app-only shopping was never the best experience as it does not give a complete picture about the dresses or clothing which they plan to order or buy. Then of course the government norms, RBI’s two-step verification compulsory, online payment is a fragmented experience and on an app this can be even harder than we expect and even users who don’t have good connectivity (Internet) might face issues while confirming an order.
But there is no one to deny that mobile browsing is increasing rapidly in e-commerce, Indian e-commerce websites like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon are closing to 65 to 70 per cent of their business order from Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) through smartphones/mobiles, than e-commerce giants from China like Alibaba.com.
Now let’s watch out Myntra move, weather they go to mobile website or they will be back on the desktop site.
Image Credits: Myntra and Flipkart