Recently, the Indian eCommerce giant Flipkart announced that they would be shutting down their mobile web site forcing users to use mobile apps to make purchases. Why would they do such a thing?
Fellow blogger and eCommerce enthusiast Hendrik Laubscher put together an excellent piece on this, so I won’t repeat that here. I do want to address mobile web’s place in an eCommerce strategy. To be concise:
Mobile web is an important step in exploring what mobile users want when an online retailer approaches the mobile market. As I mentioned in an earlier post, mobile web gives a company some advantages like lower cost of development and similar capabilities to native applications — before making the investment in a native application. As mentioned in that post:
…it is usually a better choice to test mobile functionality using mobile web development techniques and save the investment for native development when the needs are specific to what native does better than mobile web.
Flipkart going app only isn’t a disparagement of mobile web. Rather, it is a needed change in their customer experience since the majority of their users purchase via mobile. They explored mobile functionality through mobile web technologies, built their mobile customer base and understand them, and are now making a sensible and strategic decision to raise the level of their game with mobile consumers based on data appropriate to their offering.
Simply put, it’s a well-educated, natural evolution of the customer experience.