Recently online fashion retailer Myntra announced to relaunch its website on 1 June with an expectation of 15-20% increase in its sales in the current financial year. This move of Myntra clearly highlights that the decision of App-Only model implemented in last May was not favorable for Myntra.

Last year when Myntra folded up its web operations, it claimed to draw about 90 percent of its traffic and 70 percent of sales from its mobile app. Myntra justified it’s move to consumers, “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 consumer ie their mobile phone.”

This time Myntra gave another explanation for ditching App-only approach, “We found that while a majority of the growth is driven by mobile, the volume of users on desktop hasn’t decreased. We’ve launched a number of new categories such as home furnishing and (fine) jewellery where customers want to see the products on a larger screen. Finally, according to our data, women customers, who are a key area of focus for us, in particular, want to have the option of shopping across channels.”

Myntra Ditches App-Only Approach – A Bad Experiment or Market Need

Why Myntra couldn’t afford to stay App-Only

From an outsider point of view, here are some of the major contributors why Myntra ditched App only model and decided to re-launch its website –

  • Though the number of smart phone users has increased significantly in last couple of years, 4-5 inch screen is not suitable enough to convince consumer to make a purchase. When other competitors are giving good browsing experience to consumers, definitely Myntra couldn’t stay behind in the race.
  • When parent company, Flipkart, is quite eager to become No.1 in e-commerce domain and launch IPO, it can’t afford to drop even a single consumer. So, to sustain the traffic of website lovers, Myntra had no other alternative than re-launching the website.
  • Since virtual reality is not so developed till date, remaining App-Only based on the assumption that consumer experience will get enhanced for online shopping in future is not a reasonable justification.
  • To enhance its product catalogue in other domain Myntra needs a portal where people can easily scrutinize the products and website is unquestionably better choice than App for it.

Myntra App Only Experiment – Learning for Startups

FS Labs has comprehended the important learning from Myntra App-Only Experiment for startups –

[A] Analyze the Product from Consumer Point of View

The selection of startup setup, App or website, single product or multiple, limited domain or expended, all shall be selected from consumer point of view. Time, place and use of product being provided by the startup play important role while deciding the setup.

For example – Transportation based startups are best fitted for App only model since consumer need to book the cab mostly when out from home or office. Easily available medium in the required time is the cell phone available with user. So, App or mobile website is the best selection for setup from consumer point of view.

For products like clothing where consumer generally wish to spend sufficient time, compare the different options and taking feedback of others while selecting the product, App only strategy is not suitable.

For products like food where consumer can place order from cellphone as well as desktop, it’s good to have both, though mobile version of website can also serve the purpose of App

Extrapolating the same fact from App or Web to other parameters of product, startups must focus on selecting the best fit setup as per the need of consumer. Losing consumers just because of one missing vertical is not a good approach from business point of view.

[B] Gradual Experiment Approach

Experiments are the essential requirement to learn, develop and grow. Since any idea needs to be validated on market acceptance through prototype, MVP, feedback surveys etc, the experiment shall be done in parallel to the existing setup and then implement it on the larger scale.

Though the startups need to do experiments on their existing setup based on consumer demand, market competition and future targets, it should be gradual rather than sudden change. At initial stage when the business model and consumer base in limited, it’s easy to do the sudden experiments and analyze the consumer behavior but when the market volume is huge, extra care is required for sudden jumps.

Benefit of gradual change is that the consumer behavior can easily be analyzed and the probability of negative impact on business can be minimized considerably.

[C] Emotions have important over Numbers               

It’s always important to understand, listen and take care of consumer demands and needs. Today, one of the biggest mistakes that most of the startups make is “just go with the existing and projected numbers of sales and growth and not listen to the consumers”.

Myntra also stated for ditching App-Only approach, “It is part of the Myntra culture to try bold things. We tried to do this last year because we thought we can offer consumers a much better experience on the mobile. While that is still true that the mobile experience is far superior to the web, we have recognized that some consumers still want the option to shop on the web we’re humble enough to listen to our customers.”

It’s always important to listen to the consumer to make a loyal market volume. Supporting customer acquisition approach like App only discounts might be good to prove yourself on your own decisions but for long term sustainability, involvement of consumers in future development is indispensable.

What Next in App-Only Development

The future technological developments like Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality which are mainly mobile driven, will definitely affect the e-commerce and m-commerce considerably. People wearing VR glasses would definitely be able to feel the product just like an offline store.

But till these technologies become available to mass, existing techniques and technologies can’t be ignored. People who are addicted to desktops and laptops also needs to be taken care for business development.

Stay tuned with FS for more updates. Till then happy reading.

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