India’s largest online fashion retailer Myntra will become a mobile app-only shopping platform starting 15 May, confirming months of speculation about the company’s expected move.
Myntra and its parent Flipkart both shut their mobile websites in their first big move towards becoming mobile app-only shopping platforms.
According to Myntra, They generate more than 90% of its traffic and 70% of its orders from its mobile app.
“We believe fashion is a very personal experience. The best fashion experience, therefore, is a truly personalized and engaging one that is only possible through the device that is closest to you (mobile phone),” Myntra said in an email to customers on Saturday.
The moves by Myntra and Flipkart toward mobile app-only stores are intended to accelerate a consumer shift towards using smartphones as the preferred medium of shopping online, save costs and reduce dependence on the likes of Google Inc for luring new customers.
India shoppers have been the fastest adopters of mobile shopping; large mobile-only shops abroad are rare.
The number of mobile Internet users in India is expected to reach 213 million by June, according to a 2014 report by lobby group Internet and Mobile Association of India and market researcher IMRB International. Another report, a joint effort by Google and A.T. Kearney, predicts that by 2017, India will have 480 million mobile Internet users.
However, Myntra and Flipkart are taking a big risk by shutting their other platforms.
The online retailers are involved in an intense battle with Snapdeal and Amazon India for dominance of India’s e-commerce market and may not be in a position to lose out on any sales to these rivals, analysts said.
And even though Amazon and Snapdeal get a large part of their traffic from mobile, these firms aren’t shutting their other platforms.
Apart from competitive pressures, infrastructure issues that are entirely beyond Flipkart’s control may put at risk any potential efforts by the company and Myntra to become app-only.
Payment failure rates are significantly higher on the mobile because of inconsistencies in mobile Internet speed, which also hurts the user experience on the mobile. Then, there are questions about whether mobile operating systems on low-cost smartphones will be able to support apps such as Flipkart’s and others in a seamless manner.