The curious case of mobile strategy

So who is right. Myntra or Facebook/Whatsapp. As we speak, Myntra/Flipkart are rolling total mobile app strategy and FB and Whatsapp have launched web versions of their popular mobile apps. It is simplistic to look into strategy of large organizations and derive industry trends from that but it is not that straightforward always. Industry players who have achieved a significant marketshare are able to take a very different approach because of their traction, brand and availability of funds. Copying strategy from a large player can be one of the costliest mistake you can make.

 

Let us go through each of them and understand why they would have probably done it.

Myntra/Flipkart –

They are are already doing over 70% business via mobile as per media reports. But then why kill a channel. I guess the choice to kill the mobile sites is very straightforward. The customer dynamics on an app will be significantly better compared to mobile browser. And they would have analyzed that data and came to conclusion that the loss of revenue will be well compensated by the increase in average basket size as well as customer loyalty on app.

Mobile hardware might have improved but we will still have few limited apps on our mobiles ( unless we build search engines to wade through the apps we have on our mobiles ). Users tend to uninstall stuff they don’t use. Getting a permanent slot on users mobile is what companies are fighting for. That is extremely important for eCommerce companies as they are highly dependent on impulse purchases. If human beings were rational about shopping, the cupboard industry would be dead.

Facebook/Whatsapp

So first think to remember is that they are primarily messaging apps. The users engage with them when they receive a message from friends. And that is the basic re-engagement model. So the case for a mobile app is an easy explanation but what about web. One of the big reason IMHO is that messaging has become so intertwined in our lifestyles that a bigger keyboard is need of the hour. Besides that enough users send large enough files over the messengers which can not be handled by mobile networks.

Other reason is that chat as a feature serves a different purpose compared to Social Network and Facebook might be trying to build them as seperate destinations. Raise your hands if you do want to see messages from your friends from your facebook but do not want to receive notifications about someone’s cat’s birthday which you liked by mistake.

 

So moral of the story is that you will have to figure out your mobile strategy based on what is right for you. Blindly aping the large brands might not work for you. And always remember that these brands took these decisions when they were at a different scale not other way round.