App-titude test

Online players are experimenting with app-only and app-first strategies to make the most of the rise of mobile internet. Is the trend sustainable?

When 99% of business orders are received through a mobile application, does it make sense for a company to be present in the website form as well? This debate has been raging ever since e-commerce fashion store Myntra, made public its decision to pull down its website and be accessible only through a mobile application. In fact, with Ola’s recent decision to conduct transactions only through its mobile application, a new trend is seen in the Indian e-commerce market — of maintaining a mobile-only presence.

“Even four years back, the demographics were totally different. When we started out, about 20% orders came through our application. Last year, this number touched 60%; last month, we witnessed about 99% orders through the application. That is when we decided to go with an app-only presence,” says Ola’s senior director, marketing communications, Anand Subramanian. The decision to be present only through an application is not restricted to e-commerce giants either — many start-ups have also opted for the same.

Anand Subramanian, OlaEstablished in 2011, Faaso’s, which specialises in wraps and rice dishes, gets more than 90% of its orders through its application and has over a million downloads on Android, Windows and iOS phones. The company has decided to go app-only by the end of August 2015. “For us, this is the way the business is now. Open our application at any time of any day, across any location and you will witness a different menu. We are making our menu relevant as per the time of the day,” says Revant Bhate, chief marketing officer, Faasos, according to whom identifying the correct locations is key. 

Myntra, which decided to go app-only in early July, says it has not witnessed a significant change in its business after pulling down its website. Before moving completely to the app, Myntra used to get 90% traffic and 70% of revenue from mobile devices. Post going app-only, it has reported a growth in the number of app installs (12 million in all) and increase in the number of visits and transactions from its existing customers. “Loyal


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