Smartphones are at all time low, mobile internet growth has seen an upsurge in India. A recent study revealed that by the end of year 2017, there would be 314 million users in India. Many budding entrepreneurs and startups were quick enough to capture this trend and cashed the opportunity. Many startups went ahead with app-only strategy, ignoring the importance of websites. It was being speculated in the market that E-commerce giant Flipkart would go app-only by the end of this year, but this plan was shelved later on by the company.
The ‘app-only’ strategy rocked at the beginning as it was comparatively a new concept for users and moreover, they were being incentivized for downloading the app in the form of discounts and offers. But, as each and every product has a life cycle, this strategy seems to be losing its value gradually. Issues such as low memory storage on smartphones, high attrition rate after the initial buzz are taking a toll on businesses and multi-channel is trending again.
Snapdeal recently announced the launch of ‘Snap Lite’ which is nothing but a lite version of their mobile website. The CPO of of the company claimed on Twitter that this new version would enhance the browsing experience by 85%.
Yesterday, a well known shopping app for women Voonik, announced the launch of its new desktop experience. The startup was founded by Sujayath Ali and Navanetha Krishnan in the year 2013 and it has grown by leaps and bounds since then. The company states that they are now planning to expand further, and with multi-channel approach, they would be able to target larger customer base.
Voonik claims that their app records the highest engagement in the e-commerce industry. The company boasts of selling more than 15 lakh products on their app, whereas, most of its competitors don’t have even 2 lakh products. When asked about what is their thought process behind starting the website, Voonik CEO Sujayath, said,
“Voonik is now doing 10,000 orders a day and this will increase to 15,000 in a month after our desktop launch. We are aiming for 20,000 daily orders by January. While the other e-commerce companies are switching to an app-only strategy, we think we are moving closer to our user base by providing them access to a personalized store across multiple platforms.” – Your Story
As per Google India research, every third shopping search from India is fashion related. Besides fashion, searches for style, beauty, and wellness tips are growing exponentially as well. Women’s fashion segment has gathered a lot of interest recently and big investors like Seqouia Capital and Tiger Global have made their investments in these firms.
Voonik further stated that as per the estimates, there are about 40 million women internet audience and the total women smartphone users are 21 million. As per Sujayath, the company has crossed the figure of 3.5 billion app downloads and the next phase of expansion would be to adopt the multi-channel approach across web and mobile.
If we go a few months back, app-only strategy attracted many new startups and they did considerably well. But, the power and magnitude of a website can’t be ignored. There is still a huge segment of people, who prefer to shop through big screens. This is evident from the fact that Snapdeal receives about 70% of their orders from their app and still it is showing interest in website too. The growing volume of mobile apps on the App stores has made the e-commerce players to go beyond their app only strategy.
Experts hold a strong view that customers should be given a vast array of options rather than restricting them to app only. Businesses should not deviate from the fact that ‘Consumer is the King’ and taking a multiple-channel approach would heighten the magnitude of customer service. It can’t be ignored that India is growing at a rapid rate, but and the memory of smartphones and the internet connectivity is still at a lower side as compared to the countries like U.S.A, U.K or China. 2-3 years down the line, the scenario would definitely change and that may be the right time to go app-only.
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