Myntra recently shut down its website and turned app only. The e-commerce giant took this step to tap the burgeoning number of smartphone and mobile users. Flipkart will also be operating exclusively through its mobile app from September. This seems like the next step in the journey for online companies. OLA Cabs, MakeMyTrip and Snapdeal are also said to be considering the trend and may soon bring down the curtains on their websites.

Indian companies going app onlySo, why are more and more Indian companies planning to go app-only? Is India really becoming a hub of smartphone users?

According to Flipkart, “India is gradually transitioning from a mobile first to a mobile only country” and it is expected that over the years people would like to shop from the comfort of their phones.

Apparently, most of the traffic on Flipkart and Myntra comes from their mobile app. Myntra claims that around 85 percent of all users come to the site via the app whereas on Flipkart 70-75 percent traffic is from the mobile app. This is not the only reason why the companies are going the app way.

According to Myntra head of e-commerce Prasad Kompalli, the apps enable better user experience because they are quick and easy to use. “Mobile apps are the best platform for Myntra today, as they allow you to integrate with contacts, calendar, and camera, which can be used to improve the user’s experience in a number of ways,” he said to NDTV gadgets.

It also brings down the cost of website maintenance and according to reports customer retention is also higher with apps. This could be because one does not tend to remove as many apps. Moreover, according to avid online shopper Sushant Sharma, the reach of an app is higher at places where people don’t have access to laptops or desktops.

“In places like Leh, where broadband connectivity is big issue, the phone Internet and app market is like a a boom. Not only does it give one the ease to shop, it makes for a great user experience. I am almost addicted to Myntra shopping app,” he says.

It’s clear that users are shifting to mobile platforms for the ease of use and e-commerce websites are following suit for better profits. However, there are some users who are not happy purchasing only through the app. According to one user, the products don’t appear to be what they are on the app, especially in terms of color.

“The product I ordered through the app did not have the same tint of color as it appeared on my mobile,” the user says. This discrepancy is lower on desktops and laptops as the product is seen in its full glory. Many users are not comfortable using their credit card details on an app. Therefore, they would prefer buying on a website with a desktop presence such as Jabong over an app-only e-commerce company like Myntra.

Also, the deletion and re-installation of the apps is a common tendency. Founder CEO of Freecharge Kunal Shah has raised this issue in his Facebook post. “Based on research, most Indians have only 19-20 apps on their android smartphones. Out of this 15-odd apps are the ones that can’t be deleted. One hypothesis is users are low on memory and keep deleting apps and install them when needed. With such challenge, is “app only” is a good strategy? Maybe this explains high uninstall rates companies see,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Of course, there are always two sides to a coin but having a no desktop presence could shake the loyal base of a company’s customers. But as they say, there is no harm in experimenting and taking risks and e-commerce seems to be doing so. It remains to see how they perform in years to come.