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Mobile apps for shopping multiply

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Calcutta, April 20: e-commerce businesses are developing mobile apps to tap shoppers on the go, targeting customers in the 18-34 age group.

Flipkart has seen over 3.5 million downloads of its apps in the past year. Today, one in every three of its new customers logs in from a mobile.

“Not just our native shopping apps, even our ebook apps have been created for different platforms such as Android and iOS so that our customers can access our apps no matter which smartphone or tablet they own,” says Mausam Bhatt, director (mobile marketing), Flipkart.com.

Features tailormade for the mobile such as barcode search and social sharing have further enhanced the experience of customers.

e-Bay India has introduced a suite of apps for iPad, iPhone, Windows, Nokia and Android phones.

Myntra is testing an app before a full-fledged launch within a few weeks, Shamik Sharma, chief product and technology officer of Myntra, said. At present, the online portal has an app only for the iPad.

Real estate portal 99 acres.com has already launched its Android and iOS mobile apps.

However, these are largely impulse purchases and not buys after some planning, according to online retail website ShopClues.com, which has researched buying patterns.

“We have recently launched our customer-facing mobile app for Android phones. This app is the third Android app from ShopClues. The first one is being used by pickup boys to collect orders from merchants and the other is used by merchants to manage their online store,” said Sanjay Sethi, CEO & co-founder, ShopClues.Com.

India’s nearly $3.1 billion e-commerce market (excluding online travel industry) is dwarfed in size by China’s nearly $200 billion market for online sales. However, it is expected to grow by over seven times to $22 billion in five years, according to a CLSA report published in November 2013. Traffic on mobile for e-commerce sites is 20 per cent compared with less than 5 per cent earlier.

“My hypothesis is that this should reach 40 per cent in a year’s time. This is the market trend and true for Jabong as well,” said Praveen Sinha, co-founder of Jabong.com.

“Online transaction will increase and both existing and new customers will shift from laptops to mobiles. In India, there are two hindrances to the online mode. First, there is low penetration of broadband in the country. Secondly, the device to access online shopping is expensive. Hence, a lot of people are using the Internet on mobile phones,” Sinha said.

According to Sharat Dhall, president of Yatra.com, last minute bookings are driving up business from mobiles in the travel sector. The online travel portal expects 30 per cent of bookings to come through mobiles and Android and iOS apps in 2014.

A report by Boston Consulting Group notes that, at present, around 45 per cent of online consumers in India use only their mobile devices to access the Internet. This is expected to increase to 60 per cent over the next three years.

 
 
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