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Flipkart relaunches mobile web business

  • Flipkart Ltd, India’s largest e-commerce firm, relaunched its mobile
    web business by introducing web-based apps that will potentially make it easier
    and more convenient for people to shop on mobile phone browsers, the
    Mint reported.
    • Flipkart Ltd, India’s largest e-commerce firm, relaunched its mobile
      web business by introducing web-based apps that will potentially make it easier
      and more convenient for people to shop on mobile phone browsers, the
      Mint reported.

    •  
    • The company shut its mobile website in March, a move that was seen
      as a precursor to it becoming an app-only shopping platform. Flipkart’s Myntra
      unit went app-only in May. The two online retailers have taken the lead in
      trying to accelerate the customer shift towards shopping on smartphones by
      incentivizing and even forcing people to download their apps.
    •  
    • However, many customers still prefer shopping on conventional web
      browsers, even on mobile phones. Many Indians own cheap smartphones, which
      aren’t always conducive to operating bulky shopping apps, and new mobile
      Internet users typically use browsers rather than apps to shop and do other
      things on the Internet.
    •  
    • To offer a better shopping experience to these customers and others
      who prefer shopping on browsers, Flipkart will reopen its mobile browser
      presence this month. The company has tied up with the Chrome and Opera browsers
      to introduce web-based apps that will offer a similar shopping experience to
      so-called native apps, which need to be downloaded on phones.
    •  
    • It’s particularly important for Flipkart, which generates anywhere
      between 75%-90% of its traffic from the mobile platform, to have a mobile web
      presence after the lessons learnt by Myntra from its app-only move. Since
      Myntra went app-only on 15 May, the firm has seen sales growth drop.
    •  
    • While Flipkart’s rivals, Amazon India and Snapdeal, also get a majority
      of their traffic from mobile, the two firms haven’t been as aggressive as
      Flipkart in pushing their apps.
    •  
    • “Native apps work better than websites because they give a superior
      customer experience. Latency is lower, there’s an icon on the home screen, scrolling
      is faster, customers get notifications and so on,” said Peeyush Ranjan,
      engineering head at Flipkart. “On the mobile site, none of these things are
      possible. However, apps also have their weaknesses. You have to download them
      and you have to keep updating. Our mobile web app offers the benefits and
      superior experience of the app without the limitations.“
    •  
    • Flipkart’s new browser app will allow users to directly go to its
      mobile site from their home screens, enable notifications and other app-type features.
    •  
    • “We will get a bunch of new users through the mobile web who don’t
      have our app installed. But the full Flipkart experience is still available
      only on our native app. And the focus is not on traffic. The main reason for
      launching our web app is we don’t want to compromise on the user experience for
      people who come to us on the mobile web. We’ve pushed the limits of technology
      to a point where the mobile website can give you the same experience as the
      native app,” Ranjan said.

     

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