MobileFirst or MobileOnly?

Myntra – one of India’s largest online retailers had announced weeks in advance that mid-May onwards, it would shut down its (very successful) website and offer its wares only via a mobile app! Needless to add, the Internet was abuzz with news & views write-ups commenting on the decision. Half a month has passed since that fateful date, and the opinions and data continues to pour in…

  • A YourStory writeup mentions words like polemics and “Nash Equilibrium” to put forth an argument for differentiation
  • Alok Kejriwal opines in the Economic Times that one of Myntra’s real motive may be to cut losses through this move
  • And, FirstPost warns of a 10% dip in sales, offering counter arguments from other, equally established, online players

Yes, mobile adoption and internet usage via smartphones is at a all-time high, and growing at breakneck speeds. Yes, we spend more and more time with our mobile devices, and use it for practically all our needs from Search to Shopping. But, after all is said and done, you have to admit that in today’s day and age, restricting the ways in which your customers can engage with you does not seem intuitive.

So, should your business be MobileFirst or MobileOnly?

We believe in freedom of choice. We also believe that the “customer experience” on a big, beautiful Samsung 21 inch Bravia display or a 30 inch iMac cannot possibly compete with your average 5-6 inch smartphone screen. Lastly, we believe in cost-benefit and knowing your customers’ needs.

So, if you are on a shoestring budget, struggling to make ends meet as a startup, or in a peculiar situation where ALL your customers prefer to interact with you from their mobile phones and not the desktop, by all means, go “MobileOnly”. If not, think again. After all, you can still go “MobileFirst” by ensuring that your key customer channels are available on, and optimized for, the mobile screen – either by way of native apps and/or mobile-responsive browser offerings.

Any “strategy” that makes it harder for your customers to do business with you, can’t be good in the long run, can it?


Update: Dec 2015 – Myntra drops app-only plans and pilots mobile site

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