From mobile-first to mobile-only!
Flipkart recently announced the plan to offer a mobile only strategy. That is correct, you will not be able to go to flipkart.com online, but only through their mobile app. Here is an article that covers this announcement – http://trak.in/tags/business/2015/07/07/flipkart-app-only-website-selling-stop/
One rationale for this strategy is that an overwhelming majority of their sales comes from mobile apps. While this might be true, purchase is just one of the steps in the purchase funnel. Consumers spends a lot of time search for different alternatives, browsing through information and comparing prices before they hit the buy button. It has been extensively shown that mobile phones or apps might not have the best form factor for processing information from a cognitive viewpoint. In fact, I have seen this consistently in my own research. It is very important to understand the path to purchase and decisions made without understanding the customer journey in it entirety might be harmful. In fact, the drop in Mynatra’s sales after moving to a mobile-only strategy is probably because consumers switch to other ecommerce providers that make them easily execute steps prior to purchase.
My gut feeling is that in the short term this will hurt Flipkart’s sales. Even more so because very few people in India own tablets or shop using one. However, from a strategic perspective how should/would Flipkart test such an approach with a limited rollout of this feature? This is a very interesting experiment design question, more so because it is difficult to disallow the treated group (the one using only the mobile app) from using the online website while it is available to the rest of the customers.
Or is it?