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Myntra takes leap-of-faith with mobile app, closes Web site

Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart’s online fashion retailer Myntra is shutting down its Web site and banking solely on its mobile application.

Research shows that 70 percent of orders for Myntra come directly from its app and 90 percent of its traffic is located in the app. Flipkart recently shut down mobiles sites for both itself and the fashion retailer and will shut down Myntra’s computer-accessed site as well, come May 1.

“Mobile adoption is growing rapidly, especially in India as reported by Morgan Stanley,” said Folke Lemaitre, founder/CEO of Engagor, San Francisco. “Myntra also already has the customer retention through the platform, so making the switch should not affect its customer base too much.

“It all depends on who your customers are, where they live and how they shop,” he said. “While it may make sense for some brands to shift their focus when most of their customers are engaging via a mobile app, cross- promotion is usually a key driver in acquiring new customers and leveraging visibility.”

The current mobile sites direct consumers to the mobile apps linking to iTunes’ App Store or Google Play, encouraging users to download.

To be or not to be
Numbers back Myntra’s decision to trust its mobile apps, but the question is whether or not this will be successful for the retailer in the long run. There are many mobile-exclusive retailers in existence, but this is first time a retailer has worked backwards.

Many mobile retail apps have gotten their start on the channel and stuck wholly with an app or eventually expanded to an online site as well. Most bricks-and-mortar retailers develop online Web sites and then build apps, but it is rare that a company would shut down the Web site after operating one for some time to focus on its app.

Is this a new trend for future brands? Flipkart will be paying attention to the numbers once Myntra’s Web site has closed for good and will emulate this model if proven successful.

This move could potentially be the new normal in the future for retailers if it cuts costs and still provides high sales and traffic numbers.

In terms of apps, brands and retailers must be cautious of the user experience and tailor to consumer wants and needs. Myntra’s interface is encompassing of the brand and offers a custom experience, which is where its success stems from.

World of apps
The mobile app world is a difficult one to navigate at this time as it is costly and each consumer is interested in a different experience.

Brands and retailers are taking a different approach to developing and maintaining their apps. However, the common thread is the continuous focus on creating a more personal and optimized experience.

For example, Canadian food retailer Metro made grocery savings more personal for shoppers with a mobile app and a Web site section that includes a flyer with deals and weekly recipe ideas tailored to individual tastes and lifestyles (see more).

Urban Outfitters Inc.’s bohemian apparel brand Free People effectively timed push notifications from its app to drive sales for current collections tailored for music festival season (see more).

“Always remember to look at the data and ensure that traffic really is stemming mostly from mobile usage,” Mr. Lemaitre said. “It is also a good reminder to remember that consumers may not necessarily want a high number of apps on their device.

“Move forward with an app-only platform only if it makes sense to your customers to access it regularly,” he said. “A good example of this is the Starbucks app.”

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York