MUMBAI: As India's ecommerce businesses gear up for the all-important festive retail season, the head of Snapdeal has described Myntra's shift to an app-only platform as "the dumbest and most consumer-unfriendly idea ever".
Speaking to the Economic Times, Biswarup Gupta said that the notion merited a conversation a few years down the line when PCs were contributing less than now. "Even then, it is a conversation still – it's not a yes or no situation," he added.
This conviction arose out of his assertion that Snapdeal's fashion business had been helped by online fashion retailer Myntra's decision earlier this year to close down its desktop website as well as its mobile one.
A survey of Snapdeal customers at that time had found that while only 20-30% used the desktop site, 80% wanted it to remain. "We're not going to go against consumers' wishes," said Gupta.
He pointed out that "25% of all discovery for orders that are eventually placed on mobile come from the PC – people start browsing on the PC and start buying on the mobile".
If you want to get 300 million ecommerce buyers on your platform, he added, "You have to offer all choices – all choices in terms of all screens and all payment methods".
The sector's trade association agrees: Nasir Jamal, secretary general of the eCommerce Association of India, recently said: "We think app is the way to go but it shouldn't be the only medium."
With Myntra's owner Flipkart following the same app-only path, Gupta was confident that Snapdeal would become India's largest ecommerce firm this financial year, in terms of gross merchandise value.
"Whatever number they [Flipkart] are saying they will be at, I can guarantee that we will be ahead of them," he declared.
Gupta also revealed that the company had spent nine months planning for Diwali following last year's problems with order fulfilment, including investing in a partnership with a logistics company.
He expected that demand this year would be higher than in 2014, "but we've set our bar even higher … This Diwali our plans are mega".
Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff