Are we ready to go the app way?

Tech world

It was not too long ago when Anjali Sen (name changed) got comfortable with the idea of not going out shopping and instead, making purchases through a few clicks on her computer. Now, she is in a fix with one of her frequented websites taking the app-only plunge.

“I am left with no option. I would have definitely preferred the website as I could easily open different tabs on a computer screen and view a bigger image of the product. It has now become difficult to shop (on the mobile screen) as I am used to bigger and better quality images and comparing prices and options,” she said.

Like Sen, users have a mixed opinion following fashion retail brand Myntra going mobile-only. While some critised the move saying mobiles provide limited screen and search options, many welcomed the decision stating they could now shop using their phones.

This, however leads to a question — are we ready to go the app-only way?

“We are still at a nascent stage here. While in an urban set up there should be a two-pronged strategy which makes both the options of a website and a mobile application available to the users; in rural/tier II cities going app-only works as not many users may have access to desktops or laptops,” Sandeep Ladda, partner and India Technology and e-commerce sector leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers told Metrolife on the sidelines of Apps India 2015 - an international conference on mobile applications.

Describing each change as a “challenge”, Ashay Padwal, co-founder and chief technology officer at Vserv, a smart data platform for mobile marketing and commerce, said, first companies introduced a change in the way people shopped by taking it online, and now it was being taken a step further by going on to the mobile space.

“The ecosystem at the moment is extremely dynamic. These companies are willing to take a risk and change the customer’s behaviour drastically. They believe that once the consumer gets comfortable, they will attain retention. They are betting more on the future than today,” he said, adding companies would adequately incentivise the users by offering discounts and sales.

According to Yahoo’s latest report, mobile application usage in India grew 131 per cent, outpacing global app usage.

Another report by research firm Nielson said that more Indians were shopping on mobile apps with not only a growing number of shoppers, but also that people are spending more time in shopping on apps.

Also, their ranks in smaller towns and cities were growing too.

Explaining further, Bharat Lingam, chief executive officer, (x)cube LABS, a digital solutions provider with core competency in mobile technology space, said, such companies who may decide to go app-only will have better conversations with the user.

“They can send you notifications on the mobile, but the user who is using the website will only get those once you visit the site. There would also be better engagement with the user and better retention chances,” he said.

Summing up, an account manager with a Delhi-based digital agency, buzztribe said, “Consumers are exceedingly accessing the web through mobile devices.

By getting off the (starting) blocks quicker than their competitors, these brands now occupy precious memory space in their target audience’s smartphones. The point of consideration is to see if the fickle Indian consumer continues to interact with the app/brand content or will discard/forget it once the discounts stop coming in.”


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