In India, where smartphone adoption is ahead of computer use, companies are constantly having decide where to invest their resources.
Take Flipkart, for example, which is the country’s largest e-commerce site, rivaling Amazon.com. Last week, a company vice present said in the next year or so, it would shut down the company’s desktop site to focus on its mobile application.
In follow-up emails with the company, a Flipkart spokeswoman left the door open to that possibility, but declined to comment on specific plans.
“We cannot comment either way right now,” said Flipkart’s Payal Banerjee in an email. “We are still experimenting with different formats — and hence no concrete plans or road maps as far as the mobile-only route is concerned … Our desktop continues to be available for now.”
However, in a sign that the company is interested in funneling more customers to the experience on its mobile app, Banerjee confirmed Flipkart recently shut down its mobile website.
The decision to kill off Flipkart’s mobile site will seem counter-intuitive to many U.S.-based companies, which are always looking for ways to make their desktop sites more usable on mobile devices. In fact, many companies have been rushing to do so in advance of Google’s decision to tweak its search ranking to prioritize sites that feature mobile-friendly designs.
Some residents in India were also baffled by the decision.
For example, an article in India’s Business Today provides instructions on how to access the desktop version of Flipkart’s site from a mobile phone now that the mobile site has been discontinued. The author said many people like using the site to cross-check prices on items in the store while shopping, but “not everyone has been interested in installing the application.”
Interestingly, Flipkart was founded in 2007 by two former Amazon engineers, Sachin and Binny Bansal, who originally helped the Seattle-based company build out its operations in India. The two co-founders are not related.